So much is going on in #Bookworld at the moment. Let’s do a quick recap of what’s happening out there. I’m not an expert and these opinions below are what I’ve gleaned from the posts knocking about on the web. It’s a bit of a long post but then, there’s a lot to talk about.
Amazon is stripping erotica authors of their rankings and making their books hard to find. Who knows why, it’s thought the latest SESTA/FOSTA act recently passed in US Congress. It’s a laudable aim and needs to be done. However, thought needed to be given to how this might affect online communities and social networks. I don’t know enough about this to comment so all I can do is draw it to your attention and let you make your own assumptions. There’s a good post here which gives another side of the conversation. https://stopsesta.org/ and https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/02/fosta-would-be-disaster-online-communities
It might still have to be signed by 45 but we all know the orange dirt bag idiot will do it. I may be wrong, but I doubt this US law affects other countries, just enforces censorship on the internet for US based companies and their affiliates as well as for any websites externally that sell into the US. So it impacts a huge chunk of the market ;( https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/02/28/sesta_passes_house/
Authors are understandably confused about how this will ultimately impact the whole publishing market.
Reddit have tailored back on their offerings, as has Craigslist. It’s only going to get worse as other companies fall in line with the legislation for fear of being held responsible for the actions of their users.
Someone on Kindleboards described it as a ‘purge’. Tymber Dalton wrote an informative piece about this down at tymberdalton.com. And in my opinion, she’s right, mostly. I disagree on one aspect. More about that later.
Facebook will be clamping down on the same thing, because where Amazon goes, I’ve found Facebook follows. (I personally think Bezos and Zuckerberg have a red hotline telephone where they discuss with eager glee how to fuck with authors and the publishing world.) It’s an old problem with Facebook, photos are being reported ad nauseum – innocent, bare chested men, book covers, innocuous pictures of men together – and no one know what the hell Facebook sees that we don’t. More about that later as well.
We’ve had catfishing rearing its ugly head again. I’m not even going to go there because so much has said, I can’t add anything.
Publishers are closing down, some dealing with the meltdown professionally, others preferring to sink their heads into the red South African sand.
There’s probably much more going on, but this is enough for me to contend with now. My brain is close to exploding as it is. So- what do we do about it? Well, I’m not sure what can be done about number 1 and 2. I guess everyone will have to see how it plays out and whether Amazon create a new category or platform for those affected authors to market their books. After all, that’s what Amazon does, right? Sells books we write so it can make a profit, more than we do in most cases. They are the megalith, the giant and we believe we need their platform to sell our books. This is true, but I still believe, even though they are a business and need to do what’s best for them, that a little communication and consultation would go a long way to becoming more professional about the decisions they make.
How do we get over this? There are ways. Tymber mentions one in her blog entry.
A. Sell via your own website and bring that little bit of control into your own hands. You can do what the hell you like, post what you want, and readers should be encouraged to join us as we try and build our brand without external influences that are so fickle and dictatorial. Use this platform as your voice. Of course, at this point I have no clue whether selling , say, your erotica titles, into the US for your readers based there, is also impacted by this legislation.
B. There are other sites like AllAuthor, Books+Bites and Queer Romance Ink. They work on our behalf, and while they may cost a bit of money, it’s worth it. We sell a product; we need to expect there’s a marketing cost for that, like any other company trying to get its product into the hands of would be buyers. No guarantees, simply a budget you wave goodbye to and hope like hell it gets your name out there. These links are all down on my website if you’re interested.
Facebook is a platform where one day we’ll lose all our mojo and when it goes, you need a back up plan. It’s time to start developing this now via your own website and finding other channels to get involved in.
What am I personally doing to try and help?
I’ve been promised a meeting with Facebook in London’s Head of Policy and PR. I know someone who knows him (two someones in fact) and have a great relationship with him. I want to present my petition to them, let them know our grievances and see if anything can be done.
I’ve instituted what I call a ‘class action’ (disclaimer- not a real one) against CoolDudes Publishing who’ve gone silent at all the concern regarding their authors and the books they hold. Being Me has a charity anthology published with them. I’ve written to the South African police, on behalf of all the authors and the complaint has been escalated to the National Consumer organisation in SA to handle. I’ve also told everyone down at Absolute Water Cooler not to have anything to do with them. Oh and I emailed Jeff Bezos directly (who came back to me -not him but he passed on my email to one of his senior operatives at Author Central) and he’s kindly given me next steps to have the book removed from Amazon.
For anyone, especially budding authors, who need help with social media trends, getting to grip with ways they can enhance their profiles etc, I already off coaching and Skype sessions to try and give advice. You can check it out on my website. I don’t say I have all the answers, but I’m pleased to announce I’ve helped my fair few find their feet.
I’ll try and regular updates as I get more details so make sure you follow/subscribe to my blog to get them.
As Editor in Chief at Divine Magazine, I’m offering any author who needs some exposure a free spotlight post if they wish. They can also upload their books to the site, create their own author page, request a review and join the online community which is far less restrictive than other social networks at the moment.
Request an Author Spotlight – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get the material off to you letting you know what we need.
I don’t know what impact all this will have but I know one thing – you’ve nothing to lose by doing it and everything to gain.