Posted in News and Appearances

Social Media, manners and conspiracy theory

Social media can be a pleasure or a pain. It can bring out the bitch in a person, or invoke the angel. It can make or break people’s careers. It is a living, breathing beast and judging from what is currently happening on Twitter regarding the recent RITA/RWA book awards, it invokes emotions and conversations the likes of which some people can’t control.

Here are a few of my own observations…

I’ve been looking at a very popular author’s timeline and their author page, and I am shaking my head that this particular author has seldom acknowledged any of the posts to their timeline, from bloggers posting and tagging them in a great reviews, a general ‘Thought of you, you’ll like this’ post from fans, gushing attributes towards said author’s writing (mine included in the past) and how much people love the characters….the list goes on and on. The perception is they don’t care about the people sending good wishes and fangirling. As long as they still buy the author’s books. Then all is good with the world.

I’m humbled when someone has the time to tag and post on my timeline and I always try and acknowledge it, even if it’s a simple LIKE. I know it’s tough keeping on top of stuff but to not interact at all in some way is rather sad. Am I being too harsh thinking this? Am I the one being the bitch in this instance?

And the oversharing that goes on….there are some rather intimate things I simply don’t want to know about you or your family members or your past sexploits, or the fact you have a boil in a sensitive spot. I scroll past these, because everyone has the right to post what they want on their own walls, but after a while, I tend to hit ‘unfollow’ or ‘unfriend’. It’s a pity but there you go. I’m invoking my right not to read that sort of stuff, which is, after all, what Mark Zuckerberg says he’s trying to encourage.  It’s a pity he doesn’t encourage more diversity and stop being a homophobic organisation, but we can’t have everything.

And then the scariest part of all, which is when I go into a browser to do some research, like looking for information about Greek islands to holiday in, those EXACT islands I checked out then begin appearing in my Facebook feed as adverts and continue to harass me on my own newsfeed. What’s that all about? Who’s kidding who in saying there isn’t collusion between the internet giants like Google, and Facebook?

I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist but this shit is real, people. Someone is watching us…

 

 

 

 

Posted in News and Appearances

#Bookland Adventures

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.

Sales Rankings

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.

https://www.change.org/p/susan-mac-nicol-equal-facebook-standards-applied-to-lgbtqi-community

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.

https://www.authorsusanmacnicol.com/author-services/

I’ll try and regular updates as I get more details so make sure you follow/subscribe to my blog to get them.

Promotional Opportunities

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.

Create Author Page

Join the Community

Upload Book to Site

Request a Review

Request an Author Spotlight – email us at editorial@divinemagazine.biz 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.

 

Posted in News and Appearances

Bob Dylan had it right when he said the times they are a changin…

Batten down the hatches. I’m going in.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently to the way we as authors promote. You might have noticed all the posts on my Facebook profile.

http://www.authormedia.com/why-traditionally-published-authors-should-not-pay-for-marketing/

I get this. I truly do. And there’s a huge element of truth in Reason #1 which has always been a huge bug bear for me. I need to know what’s working and what’s not when it’s happening, not when I get my quarterly statements. Publishers in general could do a lot to endear author confidence by having an online platform where authors can have up to date information on their sales, even if it’s not true ‘real time’. We’d at least have something. That’s why I like the idea of self-publishing. Indie authors do have better options, but they also must fork out the cash up front. It’s a decision one must make and in this climate of falling sales, readers being spoilt for choice, and the influx of new authors to the market every hour, I’m happy to let my publisher bear those costs.

I don’t agree that authors shouldn’t market themselves. We have a responsibility to build our own brand as much as the publisher does. Gone are the days where authors sit around imbibing cocktails and telling people smugly, ‘I wrote a book, you know,’ and watching their publisher do all the hard work. Authors are their own business. You might have a promotions company to manage most of your publicity and do the big stuff, but as a business, you personally must network, and build that brand. You’re not excluded from that, and to think you should be is naïve, no matter how much we’d simply like to drink cocktails and reap in those royalties.

I published this on my Facebook page recently and it garnered a lot of response. As it should. As authors we must move with the times and the vagaries of the market and have as many baskets as possible into which to place our marketing strategy. And yes, there may be cost involved with that.

http://www.authormedia.com/facebooks-2018-change-means-authors/

I’m going to play devil’s advocate here.

Facebook is only one of the outlets we use and it’s a biggie. It’s getting tougher by the minute to use it as a promoting tool.  Whether we like it or not, Facebook is a business when it comes to pages. If we want to promote and advertise, we need to pay for it, the same as we would elsewhere.  Facebook’s challenge is making it as easy and as cost beneficial as it can for its patrons. It’s about being able to read the results of a boosted post or campaign, have the information at our fingertips and see where we should be better spending our money. It’s about giving us the qualified information to make a choice. That’s what Facebook owes us. If they DON’T do this, then we have the right to complain.

While I hate to think they will one day monetise groups, depending on what the group was formed for, if it’s for promotion, pimping and author advertising to a selected target market- isn’t that the cost of doing business and shouldn’t we be paying for it? It might suck, but is it truly wrong?

It’s only a matter of time before other social networks decide to do the same.

If authors don’t want to pay for Facebook ads, boosted posts etc, then we need to look at where we can focus on moving our promotional efforts to places better suited. The areas we can control are our websites, our newsletters, our social networks to the point of building and maintaining a social relationship with readers, not a promotional one. Readers get to know us personally, they’ll remember us more when we tell them about something new coming out in conversation. Another area we have control over are author conferences, signing events and days out with readers to catch up.  Some of them are costly, yes, but we don’t baulk at paying for these like we do Facebook ads. Why? Because we can see the results face to face. We can see how many books we’ve sold, how many new fans we’ve made and how many we’ve happened to retain just by a hallo and a cup of coffee.

While I’m not an advocate for Patreon, or other arrangements like this (I’m not judging, it’s just not for me), I do know authors are using this to deliver bespoke material to select readers and eke an existence out of it. I have no idea how this brings new readers to an author’s book as it’s something I haven’t investigated. It works for some though and nowadays, anything we can do to encourage sales is relevant. It’s what works for you as an author that’s important.

The other way we can encourage book sales (although it can’t be measured) is with sites like

Queer Romance Ink

AllAuthor

Book + Main

Paranormal Romance Guild

The Romance Reviews

I belong to all of them, and while I can’t measure my success, I have access to time saving applications, preferential reviews, ease of social media use and a lot more. That’s valuable to me in terms of time and money. It gets my reach further out, via their web sites, and attracts people who might read my stories.

The trick here is to check the quality of what’s on offer and who is behind it. There are a lot of similar sites out there who promise a lot and deliver less. These ones I have a relationship with and I trust them.

On my website I have my own Bookateria which links directly to my publisher’s site to purchase, because I earn more royalties that way. I’m looking at creating a merchandise range this year as well. Who wouldn’t want Leslie’s sexy legs on high heels on a tee-shirt?  In short, I’m taking a long, hard look at everything I do to make sure it’s beneficial for me, and my readers.

Because times are changing and if we don’t move with it to become the creators of our own success, rather than rely on third parties like Facebook to do it for us, when that alarm bell rings for the final time, it’ll be too late. And as an industry, together, we can perhaps create a stronger genre where everyone benefits.

 

Posted in News and Appearances

2018- My Year Ahead

2017 was an amazing year in some respects, and awful in others, both from a personal standpoint and a world view. I’m not one to dwell on what’s been before, because I believe it’s self-defeating. Instead, I focus on the future and live day to day, because, honestly, that’s all any of us can do.

To my amazing publisher, Boroughs, the readers of my books, the bloggers that helped me throughout the year, the organisers of the events I attended, my fellow authors who consoled and supported me, my family who kept me sane, and everyone in my life who touched it, however briefly – thank you. I treasure each and every one of you and I hope your 2018 is as good as mine is going to be. If I can do anything to help in that regard, all you must do is ask and I’ll be there.

#Project1 and some news

Living on Air release. I anticipate this being out late February, but I’ll confirm dates when I can. Chris Talbot, how’s that cover shot doing? ♥ Cary and Rhys are waiting….

I’m hoping to produce seven new books in the next eighteen months. I have contracts for them all already, so I guess I’d better keep moving and get those fingers tapping on a keyboard.

There could be some good news too about other things in the works, but I’ve been asked by my publisher to keep mum on it until something pans out. Sorry to be so sketchy but I’d hate to say too much. It involves book fairs…

I’m planning a visit to the Facebook office in London to present the LGBTQ petition once I’ve finalised everything and anyone that wants to come with me is more than welcome. We can make a day out of it, ending with coffee, drinks and talk about books and life in general.  https://www.change.org/p/susan-mac-nicol-equal-facebook-standards-applied-to-lgbtqi-community/

 

#Project2

I’m co-writing with Author M Tasia from Boroughs Group Publishing. She’s the author of the wonderful Boys of Brighton series.  Our story is set in Toronto, Canada and promises intrigue, shmexy times, humour and a constant war of words between two very head strong and stubborn men. I’m not sure yet when the planned release date for this will be. Head over to her page, give it a like and you’ll have double the chance of spotting the updates ?

https://www.facebook.com/mtasiabooks/

#Project3

Nicholas and I will have concluded the ‘final- final’ edits (lol, we all know this old story, there’s always bloody edits to be done) to the screenplay for Sight Unseen and we’ll start looking for competitions and festivals to submit it to. We’re hoping this will be in February 2018 too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Project4-7

This is the big one. This will be the spin off series from Feat of Clay, book 4 in the Men of London series featuring Clay Mortimer, former SAS soldier, and Tate Williams, ex drug squad policeman. These four books in the new series will focus on something rather different from what I’ve written before (I’m not spilling the beans yet) and will focus on the investigative agency they both work in. You can expect murder, mayhem, blackmail, and some rather disturbing characters…not to mention some eye widening situations and unusual plot lines. This series will be a whole lot of fun and both men are about to be catapulted into a world they knew existed, but didn’t expect to meet so up close and personal.

 

#Project8

I’m planning on bringing Louis’s story to life at the end of 2018, in a Christmas seasonal special which will make a tenth (a shorter novella) Men of London book. You may remember Louis from Survival Game- the gambler who lost it all and managed to bring himself up from the gutter. We’ll learn more about him and his new love interest – no less than rock star Callum Webster whom we met in Hard Climate, Ryan’s man crush. There will have been some time elapsing between the books to allow Callum a little time to mature but I’m hoping it will work out between them.

All in all, it’s going to be a very busy time and I hope you journey with me, and enjoy the time we have together. All the best for the year ahead. The times, they are a-changing……

 

Posted in Fellow Authors, News and Appearances

LGBTQ Community Plea to Facebook

QUICK UPDATE ON THIS

The petition is live and kicking and we are already over 800 signatures in 24 hours. Please join us if you feel the same way ?

Thank you

https://www.change.org/p/susan-mac-nicol-equal-facebook-standards-applied-to-lgbtqi-community/

Long post ahead. And be warned, you may see some images you don’t want to see:)

There’s been a growing trend with social media giant Facebook in the past years to filter out content that it believes is harmful to both its brand, the community, and its users. We have no problem with this. It makes sound business and ethical sense and with the ongoing government demands for industry leaders like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to step up their game and protect people, country and lives, we applaud any initiative to do just that.

What we have a problem with is the double standards we believe it applies to some of its policies and decisions. Nowhere is this more prevalent or evident to those of us than in the LGBTQ community.

We’re specifically talking about the book publishing world here, where authors, publishers and bloggers use Facebook as a social and promotional tool. We’re talking a world where men love men, men kiss men and men have sex with men. We’re also talking the use of erotic and sexy pictures used to promote or tease readers with relationship stories and love and romance tales of men falling in love.  About covers meant to entice the readers with their sexy bare-chested men and their racy look. However, no respectable publisher will publish a cover that’s pornographic. And we all have respectable publishers.

Here are the things we do as authors and readers to meet Facebook requirements, so we don’t offend people who might find our content unpalatable:

  1. We set most posts to friends. They are the people who ‘theoretically’ want to be here and are interested in the content we post
  2. We set up private and secret groups where people who ‘theoretically’ want to be part of what we offer can participate.
  3. We run closed private events where ‘theoretically’ only people who wish to participate join in.
  4. You’ll notice I’m using the word ‘theoretically’ in italics and I’ll explain this in a bit.

It’s all consensual. The fact that the Facebook strategy, as evidenced in Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that he wants people to be responsible for what they see on their timelines, is a massive step in the right direction.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/building-global-community/10154544292806634

‘Third, even within a given culture, we have different opinions on what we want to see and what is objectionable. I may be okay with more politically charged speech but not want to see anything sexually suggestive, while you may be okay with nudity but not want to see offensive speech. Similarly, you may want to share a violent video in a protest without worrying that you’re going to bother friends who don’t want to see it. And just as it’s a bad experience to see objectionable content, it’s also a terrible experience to be told we can’t share something we feel is important. This suggests we need to evolve towards a system of personal control over our experience.’

Socialsamosa published this opinion-

https://www.socialsamosa.com/2017/02/facebook-community-standards/

This time around, Facebook has weighed their options, and come up with a decision to not be the judge, jury and executioner, rather letting the audience vote and choose as to what constitutes as objectionable content to them.

Let the people choose is a mantra we could all learn to live by. 

However, we cannot condone the fact that there are people within the groups, and whom are ‘theoretical friends’ who join or befriend people (catfishing) purely for causing trouble and trolling to make waves. It’s unfortunately a part of the social network lifestyle.

As authors, we have rigid standards we apply to a friend request. What we write about, i.e. LGBTQ stories, is targeted much like the LGBTQ individuals in the real world are. We do not wish to have people whom take exception to what we do and cause trouble simply because they can, because of their beliefs and their doctrines.

To this end, Facebook has both their anti-bullying and hate crime community standards. We believe our genre on Facebook could benefit from both policies being enforced. They aren’t. Instead, we have one person with a grudge or out of spite, reporting what we deem to be an innocent picture, where we believe we have met the Facebook Community guidelines based not only on what we have posted, but what other people in the heterosexual world are posting, yet we suffer and they appear to be allowed to get away with it.

Even posting in secret or private groups isn’t sacred. Either someone reports a picture based on the fact they are simply trolling to make trouble, or Facebook bots find a picture and take it down. We were under the impression private and secret groups were ‘safe spaces’. This is not said with any element of naivety. We understand that pornographic pictures can’t be posted in groups as well, that pictures still need to meet community standards. We completely agree with this. Again, our concern is this appears to be one set of rules for one and another for the LGBTQ community. This group posts naked women with bare butts, nipples, and women together in sensual and erotic poses, yet when we do the same with men, we are targeted and banned.

Until the rules are the same for everyone you’ll forgive us that we cannot take the Facebook Community Standards seriously, and until we are all judged on the same content, ditto.

All someone must do is report a post and the poster is immediately suspended, banned or their account is taken down. There is no presumption of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ no allowance for an argument as we all get the same canned stock response and are frustratingly not given any sensible answer as to why we are suddenly locked out.

As authors, we rely on our personal Facebook pages to interact with our readers. We have our pages to promote and sell our books, and our personal accounts to keep readers interacting with more personal posts and socialise with them. However, for goodness sake, Facebook cannot be that naïve to think every person on this application really has 1000 best friends or family. People use Facebook to network, to grow socially. Whether Facebook likes it or not, people using their application are not just keeping in touch with family and friends. However, they are happy to benefit from this revenue wise with sponsored posts, post boosts and advertisements from these very same people being banned.

There is a dearth of issues regarding the Facebook Community Standards, and you can see the posts below where their bots and their individual reviewers have failed to do their job.

Banning a Robin Redbreast card? http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/facebook-bans-robin-redbreast-christmas-card-for-sexual-content_uk_5a099debe4b0e37d2f38ea29

 

A pair of swans mating?  That’s verging on simply inane even by Facebook standards. And then there’s all the other fuss about the grey areas by other people. See links below.

https://www.lifewire.com/facebook-groups-4103720

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/x-rated-facebook-group-people-11381976

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/welcome-to-the-secret-celebrity-filled-world-of-closed-facebook-groups-1.2904053

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/05/facebooks-community-standards-how-and-where-we-draw-the-line/

https://www.cheatsheet.com/technology/heres-how-facebook-decides-what-you-can-and-cant-post.html/?a=viewall

https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2017/11/six-times-facebook-violated-community-standards-removing-content/

https://medium.com/@az_sum/dear-facebook-why-dont-you-follow-your-own-community-standards-f381a17a8fa0

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-06/facebook-banning-algorithims-block-lesbians-from-using-dyke/8676284

http://metro.co.uk/2017/03/07/facebook-fails-to-remove-child-abuse-images-because-they-dont-violate-community-standards-6492678/

http://ncac.org/blog/on-violence-and-nudity-facebooks-opaque-community-standards

http://culturedigitally.org/2015/03/facebooks-improved-community-standards-still-cant-resolve-the-central-paradox/  by tarleton@microsoft.com

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/5/15/1662403/-Facebook-has-a-real-problem-with-community-standards

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/z43g9a/facebook-needs-to-fix-its-censorship-double-standards

https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/16/facebook-nudity-filter/

Facebook Community Standards

This is the full extent of the newly created (2015) Community Standards regarding NUDITY. It’s pretty brief –

Nudity

People sometimes share content containing nudity for reasons such as awareness campaigns or artistic projects. We restrict the display of nudity because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content – particularly because of their cultural background or age. In order to treat people fairly and respond to reports quickly, it is essential that we have policies in place that our global teams can apply uniformly and easily when reviewing content. As a result, our policies can sometimes be more blunt than we would like and restrict content shared for legitimate purposes. We are always working to get better at evaluating this content and enforcing our standards. 

We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures. Restrictions on the display of both nudity and sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless the content is posted for educational, humorous or satirical purposes. Explicit images of sexual intercourse are prohibited. Descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed.’

I asked Facebook to remove this PUBLIC set photo and was told it did not violate their community standards. I understand this is apparently two people with their ears together but to anyone else looking, it is at first glance depicting a woman’s genitals, no matter what the actual content is. A thirteen year old would not look deeper than what this is supposed to represent.

 

This cover was banned and caused a lot of trouble for the author. Our question is WHY. Since when did men’s bare chests become persona non-gratia? We’ve all seen a lot worse. Once can only imagine it was some sort of personal vendetta against the author herself or cover model who is a well-known adult entertainment actor. An explanation would have been welcome.

And this one in a private group left me with a three day ban for contravening the standards on sexual acts. No doubt because of the boner – or was it? Perhaps it was simply the idea of two men together.

An author was banned for these ones

Whereas this one can remain

This one in a secret group earned me a week ban

And this one remains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one of the man earned a ban while the female one is still up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The below picture is still there, while slightly covered it leaves nothing really to the imagination and all a female picture needs is a little bit of covering.

Whereas these ones of men earned a 7 day banning in a private group

It’s not difficult to see there’s a trend against home erotic or male part nudity yet the lady pictures are allowed to remain. For every male picture we’ve had banned, I can find a similar, often worse one of a female. I’m not sure whether it’s the reviewer’s personal sensibilities that are being offended (which should not be the case, they need to be open minded and unbiased in this role) or the policies of Facebook not being sensible. Perhaps it’s a mixture of both.

We see plenty of nipples too in groups, see through like this one. Let’s be honest – just because they are covered in see through material doesn’t mean we don’t see the nipples, something Facebook has banned clearly in it’s policies.

Double standards abound. We reserve the right to defend the picture we post against our accusers, who may be simple haters of the genre we write in. It is BULLYING pure and simple and Facebook have a community standard for that too. Although as authors, I am not sure we are deemed to be private individuals in our right as opposed to being public? Does this make it right that people can target us as individuals but not assist us because we write books as a profession? This is a grey line indeed. We’d welcome discussion on this topic.

 Bullying and Harassment: How we respond to bullying and harassment.

We don’t tolerate bullying or harassment. We allow you to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intention of degrading or shaming them. This content includes, but is not limited to:

  • Pages that identify and shame private individuals,
  • images altered to degrade private individuals,
  • photos or videos of physical bullying posted to shame the victim,
  • sharing personal information to blackmail or harass people and
  • repeatedly targeting other people with unwanted friend requests or messages.

We define private individuals as people who have neither gained news attention nor the interest of the public, by way of their actions or public profession.

What we would like Facebook to do is acknowledge our voice as a genre, one that is part of a $1.08 billion (2013) industry, and find a compromise between common sense and fulfilling these community guidelines. We’d like to have people making decisions about our posts that are rational, sympathetic and LGBTQ friendly.

We’re happy to accept decisions made rationally and honestly, it’s all we asking for.

Thank You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in News and Appearances

Fighting Back – A Civilised Revolution

I think we can agree that we in the LGBTQ writer community are sick and tired of Facebook and its crazy algorithms that APPEAR, mind I say APPEAR, to be to the detriment of the genre with some leaning towards the dreaded h***phobia word.

It’s time to fight back. We don’t know whether it will do anything; we don’t know whether we’ll be outlawed and ostracised from Facebook. I, for one, have the cojones to say I don’t care. If Facebook doesn’t let me do my thing, I’ll find some other way. Perhaps the way authors and pimpers share and get the word out about their books could do with a shake-up. Maybe we’ll realise another way to do this or find another place to do it. We can all migrate there like little creative starlings in flight and put down roots…

What we can’t do is continue to be banned for daring to show a naked man’s torso, a slight bit of groin without the dangly (or upright bits) and certainly not two guys kissing or manhandling each other with their clothes on. Or GASP!!! A man with a morning boner.

Yes, I know Facebook’s rules. Yes, I understand their community standards. But until they apply equally to everyone on Facebook without them picking on the likes of us, I say they are skewed and until the same rules apply to all, I for one cannot take them seriously. Even our own Author Pages are not sacrosanct, the one place where we are supposed to be able to ply our trade in peace and profitability. And secret and private groups? Pah. Don’t make me laugh. They are no more sacred than anywhere else.

I’ve seen dead babies, animals horrifically injured, naked women’s t*ts, people posting photos of their dead husband, children who have been abused, shocking images of torture and war, twerking asses of said naked woman with only a thong, mostly naked females showing all sorts of nasty lower extremis bits…and nothing happens. I posted one such video recently from their gif section -and so far, no one from Facebook has said anything. Their bots haven’t picked it up because obviously, it’s acceptable.

I have a strategy and as I don’t want anyone else to have to take any heat for this, I’m going to tell you about it here via my website and find a safe place to collate the data I need to present to Facebook as a clear case of discrimination. Unfortunately, even secret, ‘I’d have to kill you if you told anyone about it,’ groups aren’t safe anymore. Facebook has invaded them and nothing is sacred.

There is no safe space.

We’ve all talked about it, bemoaned it, grumbled to each other about it – and now I want us to DO something about it. Because talk is cheap and action at least means we have made our voice heard, expressed our opinion, even if it gets nowhere, or gets me permanently kicked off FB.

This is a civilised revolution. And I need your help.

If you have a picture that was banned, please email it to me at shanetemplar7@gmail.com. I want to keep this stuff separate so good old sexy Shane is going to be the fall guy.

I also want pictures you’ve seen that YOU think violate the Facebook rules – anything YOU find sexually or morally offensive or unsuitable. Give me some details about the picture if you have it.

I’ll gather these together, write some sort of protest, maybe even start a petition. I’ll also be getting in touch with some of the LGBT organisations and seeing if they have any muscle to support it. Anyone who wants to come on the mission with me is welcome. It might get lonely in Facebook jail ?

Of course, if no one sends me any pictures, I’ll assume that everything in fact is not as bad as I think it is and I’ll forge ahead on my lonesome. Apathy is sometimes the easiest way to let the bullies win. I truly don’t judge anyone for the decision they make, but personally? I need to feel better about it within myself.

Oh and if you don’t hear from me again – you know where I’ll be. Send cake, coffee and chocolate, and my Kindle and I’ll be just fine. Oh and my laptop. May as well get some writing done while I’m incarcerated.