Last night, literally within minutes of removing Crushed from Smashwords, I received a few emails wanting to know what happened. I want to make it clear Smashwords did not remove Crushed. I did that on my own, after receiving their request.
Long story short, Crushed’s main character, Fletch, is seventeen for a large part of the book and engages in sexual situations. Some of you may remember the uproar earlier this year involving Paypal and Smashwords, and child pornography? Well, the new TOS stem from that, and the Smashwords TOS states:
•• if you publish erotica content, neither the book cover nor the book interior may contain graphic images of nudity (either photographic or illustrated) or persons involved in sex acts, and does not include children or underage minors engaged in sexual acts or situations, witnessing such situations, considering sexual acts, or thinking about sexual acts. Fine art books of a non-erotic nature that contain nudity may be accepted on a case by case basis at the sole discretion of Smashwords and/or its retail partners.
Now, Crushed is by no stretch erotica because the purpose of the book isn’t to titillate, so I felt it was clear. Fletch is a normal teen boy who has thoughts about girls and acts horny. However, after receiving the notice from Smashwords, I believe there is one, possibly two, scenes that could be of concern.
My plan right now, is to tone down these scenes and create a special Smashwords edition.Fortunately, there are still many ways to reach readers, and I can choose whether I want to make the changes or not, and still have distribution channels to turn to if I decide not to do it. If the publishing industry continues to consolidate itself into the hands of a few, things like this won’t be a choice – or a least a real choice. It will be either you do it, or you don’t publish.
I do not view this as censorship, but rather as creating an alternate version, much like what happens in the film or music industry. My goal is to have this new version available by Friday.