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A Ceasefire in the War Against Erotica

A few weeks back, I wrote about the war against erotica — about how big ebook retailers go through periods where they purge whole catalogues of erotica from their websites, throwing the erotic author community into turmoil. I argued that we as a community of erotic authors are partly responsible for our own demise — largely through the actions of a subset of us who engage in shady practices and/or make unwise choices. For my full argument, please read my previous post.

Yesterday, Smashwords announced what is essentially a ceasefire in the war on erotica.

Smashwords has introduced a new classification system for erotic works. Authors and publishers now have to explicitly state if their book contains age place, bestiality, dubious consent (dubcon), incest or pseudo-incest, nonconsensual sexual slavery, and rape for titillation.

I know for some authors, this will immediately feel like they are being discriminated against because these rules don’t apply to any other genre. However, I argue that these special classifications help you as an author/publisher, not hinder you.

If you occasionally write one of the above categories — say, age play — and you care about your account and your standing with Smashwords, then prior to the introduction of this new system, publishing an age play story could be a nerve-wracking experience. You know that not all stores take age play. (According to a chart provided by Smashwords, iBooks does not take age play.) Although you have done nothing wrong, what happens after uploading to Smashwords is largely out of your hands — Smashwords pushes your ebook to all of their third party retailers, including ones that don’t accept your story.

Let’s say that your age play story somehow got into iBooks. The system isn’t perfect, so these things happen. Some time later, iBooks catches on that they have age play in their store, so they go on a hunt for it and delete all of those titles — and if you catch the wrong person on the wrong day, that staffer might decide that you are trying to push the boundaries and purposely publish stuff against their guidelines… and they could ban your pen name entirely.

Under one of my other pen names, I occasionally publish stories that fall under one of these special classifications. Believe me, this has been my worry every time I upload a questionable title. If iBooks has a problem with what I write and makes a big enough stink about it, they could ban all of my stuff from their site — and iBooks is a big selling vendor for me.

But with this classification system, I can explicitly say which of the topics (if any) are contained in my story. If I publish something with age play in it and specifically mark it as such, then it will not go to iBooks, Scribd, Gardners, Overdrive, Odilo, or Bibliotheca. This reduces the chance of me being on the receiving end of backlash if my story ends up in the wrong place.

The retailer benefits, too. They can ensure that what they are carrying is specifically what they feel is acceptable. This reduces the risk of erotica purges (sometimes called a “pornpocalypse”), because they are receiving none of what they do not want.

This does, of course, depend on authors and publishers being truthful about what’s in their book. And that is a problem for some. Some authors and publishers deliberately miscategorize their books to get around filters and content bans. However, it sounds like Smashwords is taking a much more involved role in this — miscategorization can lead to your account being banned.

The act of deliberate miscategorization helps no one — not the author and not the reader. All it does is put a book up in a totally inappropriate place, which then leads to backlash against the industry, which harms all erotic authors, including the majority who follow the rules.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to go ahead and read the blog post from Smashwords that details all of the changes and some of the negotiating they’ve done to lead up to this.

There are a few important points that I’ve gleaned from their post:

Smashwords fights for the rights of erotic authors.

Smashwords could have easily rolled over and acquiesced to the demands of their third party retailers and just remove the ability for erotic authors to have their books published on B&N, Kobo, etc. Instead, Smashwords worked with them to create this classification system that satisfies the retailers and Smashwords. Indeed, erotica is being allowed back onto a retailer’s website that had previous banned it (Gardners) — because Smashwords worked with them and rebuilt that trust.

I often see endless debate among authors as to which is better — Smashwords or Draft2Digital. When I last looked into Draft2Digital a few years ago, they didn’t even accept erotica. Their argument was that there are too many headaches in navigating what third party retailers do and don’t want. I just took a look at their site again and I don’t see any mention of erotica not being allowed, so perhaps they’ve changed their mind. However, I never see or hear of D2D going the extra mile for author rights like the way Smashwords does.

This will impact your sales strategy if you write one of these taboo topics.

Let’s say you write incest, which was available on B&N until very recently. There are readers who used to get all their incest erotica needs met on B&N — now that incest is being removed from their catalogue, readers are going to have a hard time finding what they want. This means that the reader will either settle for non-incest erotica or search for a new retailer that sells what they really want. If they choose to stay on B&N and settle for some non-incest erotica, this will impact your sales as you are missing out on opportunities.

Your job as an author is to find a way to point all your readers to a retailer that allows erotica. My suggestion is to point all your readers to Smashwords as they have the most open guidelines, their guidelines are unlikely to change, and they offer a higher royalty than sales through one of their third party retailers.

So how do you get your readers over to Smashwords? Plaster the message all over your social media channels that all of your books are available at Smashwords. Avoid making derogatory statements about other retailers being prudes. Instead, tease and entice your readers — your stories are “too hot for Barnes & Noble” and are available “exclusively at Smashwords”. That’s likely to have an effect.

You could also write a very dirty erotica that fits in the guidelines of what the other retailers allow — so, make it mainstream but it just feels very sinful (for example, my book, Seduced By My Best Friend’s Dad is a fairly vanilla mainstream erotica story, but it feels dirtier than it is because the “best friend’s dad” is like pseudo-pseudo-incest, without actually violating anyone’s guidelines — and make it clear in your back matter that the rest of your stories are “even dirtier” and the reader should go to your website to find out where to get “exactly what you’re looking for”.

While the war against erotica is not over, we’ve reached a truce.

Unfortunately, the war against erotica will never be over. Reading the comments below the post on Smashwords finds at least one person so far who is outraged that Smashwords would even consider allowing erotica. There are others who feel that this classification system is a step closer to further troubles, that an outright ban by some retailers is going to be the next step.

Is this system perfect? Absolutely not. Does it at least bring some temporary stability? Yes, I believe so.

As an independent author, I need to balance my sense of art with my goals as an independent business-person. I want to tell the stories I want to tell — but I also need to make consistent income. I depend on my monthly royalties to help pay the bills.

When Barnes & Noble temporarily deleted half of their erotica catalogue, I somehow flew under the radar and my books were not touched. However, it was very concerning — Barnes & Noble is a big percentage of my sales. If I were to be kicked out of there, I would lose out on sales and my monthly income would be lower.

If a further ban would be enacted and the big retailers only allowed erotica with certain themes, I would be disappointed, but I would also take it as a challenge. How can I, as an author, write the hottest story imaginable within the small sandbox a retailer is giving me? It’s not the ideal, of course. However, as an independent author who depends on royalty income, accepting that challenge is how one survives.

Additionally, if a further ban would happen and all taboo themes would be removed, then that could be the opportunity for smaller retailers like Excitica to shine. If there’s a market for it, someone will make money off of it.

Nowadays, an independent author has to be nimble to keep up with changes in the industry. Sometimes it means taking a hit, but other times it means taking advantage of an opportunity.

For now, though, I’m pleased with the stability Smashwords has brought to my “workplace”.

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My Annual Birthday Erotica Mega-Blowout Sale!

It’s time for my annual birthday mega-sale where I give you a bunch of books for free and offer you a bunch more at a deep discount! And to help celebrate my birthday, a few of my erotica writing colleagues are offering some great deals on their stuff, too!

I’ve got some of my hottest titles up for grabs here, and my friends from my erotica writing group — Sandra and Dominic — have got some smoking hot titles, too!

Sandra Claire writes erotica short stories that are quick and dirty, and she writes them as gay, straight, and bi.  She’s offered up some of her hottest MM titles, but also thrown in some MF and MMF/MFF titles for those who are looking to explore their straight and bi side. 😉

Master Dominic is a newer member of our erotica writing group, and he’s decided to tackle some really “taboo” gay erotica scenarios.  His titles so far explore piss-play and incest, which may be a bit much for some of you, but also might just hit the spot for others.

So, enough rambling, here we go! Free titles first, 50% off titles after that.

(All links go to Smashwords, which is where the coupon codes work.  All coupon codes expire midnight on Sunday March 13, 2016.)


Bathhouse Nights by Cameron D. James — FREE!

In the bathhouse, anything is possible, especially at night when all the studs come out to play.

For cheerleader Daniel, his dream-come-true is a football jock named Justin, but no one in the bathhouse measures up, no matter how hard he tries to play pretend.

Justin is straight, of course. Aren’t they all? There’s no reason for Daniel to expect he’ll score with him…until the night he spots him in the hot tub.

Bathhouse Nights is a 9,300-word short story.

Link: Bathhouse Nights

Coupon Code: DC77W


Gaymer by Cameron D. James — FREE!

gaymer1lowqualitySince start of term, Carter has been secretly lusting after Zack, a quiet twink with smooth arms, geeky charm, and enticing proportions. When Zack invites himself over for retro video games, Carter waits and hopes, but the dreaded “game over” approaches. He has to do something — anything — to get a shot at tasting this delicious young man.

Out comes a strategy to save a gaming disaster. If Carter’s wrong, he might get a black eye, but if he’s right, then this session’s about to level up to something better than his wildest fantasy.

Gaymer is a 3,900-word short story.

Link: Gaymer

Coupon Code: YL92F


Submitting To My Black Master by Sandra Claire — FREE!

Submitting to My Black MasterIt’s Adam’s first day in prison and he’s terrified.  His uncle warned him what to expect, that someone might take advantage of a pretty-boy like him, but that going along with it could get him protection.  But no matter how much he’s prepared himself for this moment, he’s quaking in fear when he sees his cellmate—Tyrone—a tall, muscle-bound, dominating black man who has a thing for skinny white guys like him.  When the cells are locked and the lights go out, just as Adam thinks his cellmate might leave him alone, Tyrone clamps his hand over Adam’s mouth and whispers in his ear, “Don’t scream, white boy.” Yet, despite his fear, Adam can’t get over how turned on he is as he realizes he has no choice but to submit to his black master.

WARNING: This 4,700-word short story contains an explicit sex scene between a dominating black man and a skinny white guy that will get you hot and bothered, and is intended for mature adults only.

Link: Submitting To My Black Master

Coupon Code: AJ44Z


Strip Searched By The Cops by Sandra Claire — FREE!

Strip Searched by the CopsDonovan never would have imagined that for his eighteenth birthday, he’d be getting strip searched by the cops. Nevertheless, after he’s pulled over for joyriding, the dominant female officer and her hulk of a partner proceed to teach Donovan a lesson he’ll never forget. The only thing is, getting Donovan naked is just the start of what these older officers have in mind…and Donovan is soon taking orders he can’t resist.

WARNING: This 4,400-word short story contains an explicit menage sex scene between a hot young man, a hunky older man, and a seductive older woman that will get you hot and bothered, and is intended for mature adults only.

Link: Strip Searched By The Cops

Coupon Code: RL83X


Hot Tub Seduction by Sandra Claire — FREE!

Hot Tub SeductionPizza delivery boy Frank feels like the luckiest man on earth when two hot older women in a hot tub desperately want his sausage pizza.  Frank is a virgin with a high libido and a thing for older women, so just the sight of these two ladies in the hot tub is enough to get his fantasies going.  But then it becomes increasingly clear that the women intend to seduce him and use him as their pleasure toy.  Despite the imminent return of the women’s husbands, Frank can’t help himself as he gives in to his desires and decides this is the perfect time to finally lose his virginity.

WARNING: This 4,100-word short story contains an explicit sex scene between a virginal pizza delivery boy and two hot MILFs that will get you hot and bothered, and is intended for mature adults only.

Link: Hot Tub Seduction

Coupon Code: BN49A


Sorority Seduction by Sandra Claire — FREE!

U3-Sorority-SeductionIn retaliation for last weekend’s panty raid, Jessica’s sorority sisters drag her along on a jockstrap raid. Jessica wants nothing to do with that frat house or the men in it — for one of them is Josh, her cheating ex. Her sisters have other ideas; they want her to personally steal Josh’s jockstrap as a sort-of revenge for the hurt he caused her. But when she rummages around in his dresser in the dark, she discovers she’s not alone — Josh is in bed and under the covers. In a moment of weakness and lust, Jessica’s old feelings for Josh come roaring back, and no matter how hard she fights those feelings, she knows she can’t resist him much longer.

WARNING: This 4,300-word short story contains an explicit sex scene and is intended for mature adults only.

Link: Sorority Seduction

Coupon Code: PH56C


Spanking My Naughty Boy by Master Dominic — FREE!

DS1-Spanking-My-Naughty-BoyMark is still grieving from the death of his wife, Marie, but his nineteen-year-old son, Brendan, is taking it even harder. For months now, Brendan has been coming home drunk and high — and with an attitude that gets on Mark’s every last nerve. Tonight, Mark has had enough of Brendan’s self-destructive behavioru. In the heat of the moment, he pulls Brendan into his lap and gives him the spanking he deserves. But in the moments after the spanking, when Brendan’s rear is still glowing red, Mark hears a confession he never thought he’d hear. Brendan’s attitude and behaviour isn’t all about the death of his mother, it’s also about the lust he has for his father.

4,500-word short story

Link: Spanking My Naughty Boy

Coupon Code: FP28P


Seduced By My Best Friend’s Dad by Cameron D. James and Sandra Claire — 50% OFF!

FD1-Seduced-by-my-Best-Friends-DadJay has a crush on Richard, his best friend’s dad. Richard is older, very masculine, cares about Jay, and is extremely sexy. There are just the problems of Richard being straight, married, and the father of Jay’s life-long best friend.

When Richard takes his son and Jay on a camping trip to celebrate turning eighteen, becoming men, and taking their first steps into the adult world, Jay struggles to contain his lust. Hitting on Richard would ruin the camping trip and destroy his friendship.

But when his friend takes ill and Jay and Richard enjoy some bonding time alone, it becomes clear that Jay isn’t the only one in the thrall of forbidden desires. A relaxing camping trip soon turns into a series of sweaty, erotic encounters, as Jay and Richard stoke this fire burning between them.

Seduced by My Best Friend’s Dad is a 30,000-word novella.

Link: Seduced By My Best Friend’s Dad

Coupon Code: HU93R


Men In The Hot Room: The Complete Series by Cameron D. James — 50% OFF!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00059]A wall of heat rolls through the hot room and sweat beads on Simon’s hard nipples. He contorts his body in all the right ways, intent on seducing his instructor, Brad. And Brad, a man twice Simon’s age, is unable to resist, no matter what the consequences might be. This simple act of seduction soon leads to weeks of scorching hot sex as Men In The Hot Room raises the mercury.

Originally released as separate stories, the bestselling Men In The Hot Room series is now available in one delicious book. Follow the steamy encounters of Simon and Brad that begin in Go Deep, continue with a hot threesome in Go Deeper, and reach a light BDSM climax in Going All The Way.

This collection will have you gasping for breath and reaching for a cold glass of water…or some tissues.

BONUS FEATURE:

Bump and Grind, the start of the Go-Go Boys of Club 21, featuring the exploits of horny young men in New York City’s coolest gay club.

Link: Men In The Hot Room

Coupon Code: PF59D


Go-Go Boys of Club 21: The Complete Series by Cameron D. James — 50% OFF!

GGB21-Complete-Series-Ebook-CoverClub 21 is known across New York City for having the hottest go-go boys. They groove to the beat, fuel fantasies, and leave you begging for more.

Liam is one of those premiere go-go boys, but even though he’s living the life he’s dreamed about, he feels something is missing. And he might have found that something when he gets into a whirlwind romance with a former porn star.

Lance is the newest go-go boy. He took the job because he’s infatuated with Liam and hoping for a chance to get to know him better, but only gets a broken heart as he watches Liam chase some guy he barely knows. As Lance pushes to get closer to Liam, he only pushes him further away.

As the beat goes on and the tempo changes, will Lance be able to win the man of his dreams? Or will Liam forever go off in search of new excitement?

Originally released as five separate stories, this volume at last collect the Go-Go Boys of Club 21 into one hot volume.

Link: Go-Go Boys of Club 21

Coupon Code: SC48S


Forced Encounters by Sandra Claire — 50% OFF!

Forced-EncountersThis hot and sweaty bundle collects all six of Sandra Claire’s gay erotica stories. Each throbbing story features a randy young man who gets himself into a dangerous situation — a situation that quickly evolves into the most mind-blowing gay sex these young men have ever experienced.

Included in this volume are:

FORCED SUBMISSION: Matty finally understands why Scott has bullied and picked on him his whole life.

FORCED ENTRY: Desperate for money, Dylan makes the wrong choice when he breaks into a gay dom’s house.

FORCED TO TAKE IT: Christian risks it all to hit on the straight cowboy at the country bar.

FORCED IN PUBLIC: A flight to Australia lands Kyle in the Mile High Club with two older men.

TAKEN BY FORCE: Caught buying weed, Craig will do anything if the cop will let him off with just a warning.

FORCED BY MY COACH: Coach Brown has had enough of Kevin and his disrespectful attitude, and tonight he’s going to get exactly what he’s been craving.

WARNING: This 28,000-word short story collection contains multiple explicit sex scenes between dominant Alpha men and the submissive men who live to serve them and will get you hot and bothered, and is intended for mature adults only.

Link: Forced Encounters

Coupon Code: RC62H


Cougar Encounters by Sandra Claire — 50% OFF!

Cougar EncountersThis hot and seductive bundle collects all five of Sandra Claire’s cougar stories.  Each raunchy story follows the sexy romps of older women on the prowl for masculine and muscular younger men and shows that mature women are really what those young jocks crave.

Included in this volume are:

COUGAR ON THE PROWL: Single mom Susan is lusting after her son’s best friend and decides to embark on a risky plan to seduce the younger man.

COUGAR IN HEAT: Jesse expects his friend’s mom, Melissa, to be a buzzkill when she joins him and the guys on a ski trip, acting as a chaperone.  But then she shows up naked in the sauna.

COUGAR ON PATROL: Stuck in a dead-end job and eternally single, Rachel risks it all in pursuit of the young man who’s working late in the office.

COUGAR’S CATCH: Nancy’s car breaks down on a lonely highway. When the hot young tow truck driver shows up to the rescue, her already-high libido kicks into overdrive.

COUGAR ON THE HUNT: Julian’s heard all the rumors about naughty Samantha, the cougar who works out at the college gym.  Tonight, he discovers the rumors are true.

WARNING: This 21,000-word short story collection contains multiple explicit sex scenes between younger men and the mature women who crave them and will get you hot and bothered, and is intended for mature adults only.

Link: Cougar Encounters

Coupon Code: QE83L


Piss-Loving Boys 4-Pack by Master Dominic — 50% OFF!

Piss-Loving-Boys-4-PackSometimes guys like to get raunchy, wet, and messy — and given the chance, they’ll give into their dirtiest fantasies. This 4-pack of gay watersports stories will satiate your fantasies, as these boys get soaked in piss. This taboo bundle includes:

PISSED ON BY THE BULLY: Joel tries to entrap the closeted homophobic bully, Brian, but the tables turn when Joel lets loose with a golden stream.

HUMAN URINAL: Cocky and disrespectful, Andrew gets what’s coming to him when a dominating daddy ties him up in the men’s room urinal.

GOLDEN SHOWERS: Thinking he’s alone, Christopher gives into his wettest fantasies — until he’s caught by his straight roommate.

FRAT HOUSE PISS PARTY: Ian is new to the frat house and ready for initiation, until he finds out they know about his secret piss-drinking fetish.

16,700-word bundle

Link: Piss-Loving Boys 4-Pack

Coupon Code: HX76C


Dad Took My Virginity by Master Dominic — 50% OFF!

DS2-Dad-Took-My-VirginityDarren finally works up the courage to explore his gay side and enter the bathhouse. He’s determined to have his first gay sex experience today, no matter what. Walking around in just a towel, he gets nervous and self-conscious, until he finds the pitch-black maze, where he can wander in total darkness, bumping into random men. And it’s in that maze that he finally falls to his knees and does what he’s been aching to do for years. But during a brief moment of speaking, Darren is shocked and horrified to learn that the man he’s servicing is his father — his straight, married father. However, once that line’s been crossed, it’s so tempting to go even further.

5,200-word short story

Link: Dad Took My Virginity

Coupon Code: CV33U


Seducing My Son by Master Dominic — 50% OFF!

DS3-Seducing-My-Son-LargeDavid is a buff, forty-four year old dad in a sexless marriage. When his son, Adam, turns eighteen, David throws a drinking party for Adam’s friends at his house while his wife is out of town and decides to join the fun. In a house full of youthful testosterone, David reminisces over his own youth, only, he finds his thoughts wandering somewhere unexpected as he eyes Adam’s lanky, muscular body. He catches his son staring at him all too often, and soon his libido ventures into the forbidden, to lusts that a father should not indulge. With the buzz of alcohol, though, David can’t hold himself back. He decides to seduce Adam, no matter what the consequences.

5,200-word short story

Link: Seducing My Son

Coupon Code: KY44J


And that’s about all the free and discounted erotica that I could fit into one post!

I hope you enjoy the reads and I hope you enjoy my birthday as much as I will!

 

 

 

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Filed under Bathhouse Nights, Cameron D James, eBooks, forbidden desires, Gaymer, Go-Go Boys of Club 21, Men In The Hot Room, Men In The Hot Room: The Complete Series, Seduced by My Best Friend's Dad