Why is nothing ever simple?
It appears I have encountered a couple of bum…ps in the road to releasing my M/M novella ‘New York’s in Love’, on two retailers sites.
Let me give you a little background to the situation.
My character Simeon has a thing for Polaroids, therefore my cover design for the ‘Pretty Boy’ series follows through the prequel ‘New York’s in Love’, Pieter’s book ‘Schonling’, and Simeon’s book ‘Sweet Thing’, and each cover pictures a Polaroid.
I decided for the prequel “NYiL” that I would add Polaroid style paintings to mark each chapter. I thought it was a cute idea, and I absolutely loved painting my characters. However, when I uploaded the manuscript to Smashwords, I received an email saying there were ’issues’ with the book. When I inquired further I was informed that
“Some of our retailers are super sensitive to nudity (even illustrated nudity) Please remove these images. Thank you”
I, of course had read the Terms of Service for Smashwords, which stated that images are not to include any graphic images, or sex acts, and, believed I had adhered to the rules.
The paintings in question to mark chapters 5 and 10, are not graphic and there are no sex acts involved. As you can see, they are two life paintings that show nothing racier than painted depiction’s of a nude bottom.
I find it infantile that a ‘retailer’ would believe they needed to protect a reader who is over 18, and has purchased an M/M book, knowing full well, that it contains content of a sexual nature- from a painting that includes a naked bottom.
I was obviously not happy about this. Further inquiries lead to me being informed by a Smashwords rep that they actually think the images are ‘tasteful’, and that the retailers who are ‘super sensitive’ are Apple and Kobo. Do you think Apple and Kobo would make it easy for someone with a ‘general’ inquiry to contact them? Of course not. So I continue to try and get answers as to what is suitable and unsuitable viewing in a book sold to ADULTS.
My book is out in it’s unencumbered form on All Romance ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-newyork039sinloveprettyboy05-1927606-145.html
But in the end, if given an ultimatum to remove the images for Apple and Kobo, so that small minded people (who would never actually pick up my book,) feel more comfortable in having the choice of picking up a book with gay sexual content and art, would I?
Of course not!