UPDATE AT BOTTOM!
Raythe says …
So earlier this week, I got a notice from Draft2Digital, which distributes the Cursed series and other books to a variety of third-party sellers. One of the new vendors, Playster, has rejected Cursed 1.
I asked why. Apple accepted it and they actually practically READ every book they allow in their store, and have very stringent policies. Cursed 1 made the cut.
Draft2Digital said all they know is that Playster doesn’t allow “erotica” or “erotic romance.”
Cursed 1 is neither of those. Yes, there’s sexual stuff in it, but NOTHING like what you would expect for those categories. It’s just plain romance.
So I asked Draft2Digital to get more information for me, because it sounded like someone did the gay romance = porn thing on us again. Draft2Digital has not responded yet… probably because they’re fielding other demands about this exact same issue.
We’re not the only ones having our books rejected.
On Kboards, a fellow LBGT author had her f/f work rejected on Playster, yet her far steamier m/f work was accepted. More people came out of the woodwork to say they had the same experience with their gay versus straight fiction on Playster, and it looked very targeted.
Another person though, came on and said: But wait! There’s gay books on Playster so all you other people who got your books turned down must have done something WRONG!
We’ve heard all these arguments before, especially when our Google ads got rejected for having the word “gay” in them during an A/B test. We still say:
We know how these companies generally work. This is not RR’s first time at the rodeo. Playster has more than one person reviewing the material going up on their site. And because these are people – you know, the beings that aren’t all alike – they all have different interpretations of their TOS.
Some people would look at Playster’s guidelines and apply them as they are written, consistent across the board whether the book is gay or straight.
But others will automatically reject gay romance because they believe that all gay books are porn and, therefore, violate Playster’s TOS.
Another Kboards member suggested: Is is wrong to blame Playster if it’s just a few employees (or maybe more than a few) who inaccurately apply the TOS to gay books?
To that, we say:
A company is its employees. If you employ people who discriminate on the job, they are representatives of the company. Their actions are being done on the company’s behalf… especially if it’s not one or two “rogue” agents, but many employees carrying out this biased behavior so much that it becomes a lively discussion on Kboards.
Playster has all the responsibility. It must train its people not to apply their own prejudices to their work.
If they don’t, and they silently allow it to continue, guess what? The company is definitely guilty of discrimination, too.
It’s that simple.
We talk a lot about sexual and entertainment positivity. This is why those discussions have to keep happening. This is why I’m so glad that I founded Raythe Reign and can sell you m/m books and manga at any heat level, and no one is going to stop me. Control is key.
Playster is not the only offender, just the most recent. Google, Amazon, and especially B&N, which just got rid of tons of erotica are also guilty.
They will say that it’s because they don’t want to offend their idea of a “typical” vanilla customer. They all want to appease that “vanilla” customer who they assume will be offended at the existence of gay romance. They want the rest of us to just go away.
But we’re not going away. We’re not going to be okay with discrimination. We’re not going to let them get away with classifying any gay romance as erotica/porn/kink/unnatural, just because it’s gay. And we’re not going to let them tell us we’re wrong for liking it.
There’s been some movement in a BAD direction, in my opinion. But let me lay it out and then I’ll rant …
So on the Kboards’ post, a representative from Draft2Digital said the following (now remember this is the DISTRIBUTOR not the RETAILER):
Jumping in here to let you know we are working on this. I believe this is just a misunderstanding over what is meant by some of the BISAC categories we sent Playster. We have seen such issues before since the BISAC standard is not international and the industry is working on new standards like THEMA to address such issues in the future. We became aware of the issue on Thursday and we hope to have some news soon. Please keep in mind that this is a holiday weekend in both the US and Canada. Problems like these can take a few days to work out and correct.
Director Author Relations
Now while this might be the explanation that Playster gave to Draft2Digital, its nonsense. Cursed 1’s BISAC categories are gay romance, gay fiction, etc. No erotica. Erotica has SEPARATE categories. So the ONLY way you have problems with BISAC categories is if you equate GAY with PORN. Our whole point. So I was hopeful.
Until THIS came from Draft2Digital to me today:
Please let me know if you have any questions.