2013 was a hella year for erotica. And not always in such a good way. While it gave us some amazing new authors contributing to the genre, it brought a storm of corporate censorship along with it.
The floodgates to erotica and erotic romance really opened in 2011 with the publication of the previously-published-as Twilight fanfiction instant phenom Fifty Shades of Grey. Suddenly the whole world was reading erotica – and every author was clamoring to write it. The market, already bursting with writers who heard they could make more money writing erotica than any other genre, was quickly flooded.
And the race to the bottom (or the top?) continued through last year. While many of us had learned the lessons distributors were teaching – tamer covers, less obvious titles, descriptions that left more to the imagination – there were far too many new authors who didn’t know the unwritten new rules who were vying for visibility in a morass of new work.
As a business owner, I understood their quandry – there was suddenly a great deal of erotica that readers clearly wanted to read on one hand, but on the other, there were other people perusing their site who didn’t want to read it or see it or even know it existed.
What to do?
Each distributor made a decision. None of them had ever allowed underage sex of course, but there were other niches they had to make a call about, like incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent.
THE BIG BOYS
Amazon: Most authors’ largest source of income. They decided they’d already drawn their line in the sand. Incest, bestiality and nonconsent was still banned. Pseudo incest was still allowed, but no reference to family relations could be mentioned in the description. And erotica could no longer include explicit excerpts in the description field. Cover restrictions also tightened – no more nudity or even non-nude implied sexual acts or touching was allowed on erotica covers.
Kobo: They banned incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent and yet they are the only large distributor who still has a “taboo” category – which is now like a ghost town and the moment an author puts their work there, it’s usually removed.
Apple: They banned incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent. Covers with nudity had always been a no-no.
Barnes and Noble: No corporate censorship. Everything is allowed. Although rumors still run rampant that they “anchor” certain books if they break the top 100, to keep them from the bestseller lists.
Google Play: A little late to the party, they’ve just begun banning incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent.
SMALLER DISTRIBUTORS & AGGREGATORS
Smashwords: They have to follow the rules for all of their distributors, so they take the lowest common denominator and apply that across the board. No incest, pseudo incest, bestiality, nonconsent or covers with nudity.
Digital 2 Draft: Like Smashwords, they have disallowed those things that displease most of the distributors.
All Romance Ebooks: Since the Paypal fiasco, they have disallowed not only incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent, but anything that is “barely legal” (whatever that means?)
Bookstrand: The same as All Romance EBooks - no incest, pseudoincest, bestiality, nonconsent or anything “barely legal.”
So you can see, if you write anything that leans toward the more “taboo” it’s hard to find an audience for it anymore. And before you start in about how “sick” or “twisted” or “crazy” such fiction and people who read such fiction must be, I’d like to remind you that we are talking about FICTION here. It’s fantasy. There are people out there who like to write it and people who out there who like to read it – it’s common and, on a psychological level, doesn’t border on “crazy” any more than fantasies about threesomes or BDSM.
So what is a writer – or a reader – to do?
Oops, I forgot one distributor. EXCITICA.
EXCITICA is run by Selena Kitt (that’s me!) New York Times and USA Bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance fiction with over one million authored books sold. She has run her own publishing company at eXcessica for five years and has been one of the most vocal authors against the corporate censorship of erotica. She has developed eXcitica as a subsidiary of eXcessica to create a home for erotic works of all flavors.
EXCITICA like the rest of the distributors, still doesn’t allow underage sex, bestiality (although shifters are fine, even sex in shifter form!) or necrophilia (vampires excepted!) but we do allow many of the things the other distributors don’t, like incest, pseudoincest and nonconsent.
What does EXCITICA do for erotica and erotic romance authors?
First and foremost, we give you 60% of your profits! W00T! Cha-Ching! Secondly, with Selena Kitt’s brand and name behind it, EXCITICA will soon be known far and wide as the place to go for HOT reading!
Small Publishers: You are welcome! We have room for your entire catalog and the uploading interface is simple!
Taboo writers: EXCITICA is home for you! EXCITICA will be known among readers as the place to go for the books they can’t find anywhere else. Like yours!
Erotica writers: Even if you publish “just vanilla” erotica (and we all know that’s still HOT!) EXCITICA will be your home too! Readers who read taboo don’t JUST read taboo erotica and your books will be there to discover when they want something a little bit different!
Erotic romance writers: No one can live on taboo alone – and if you are an author paying attention to the market, you know that dark erotica readers don’t just read taboo and dark erotica – they read romance too. A lot of it! And they’re going to like yours! And if you write dark erotic romance? (And we all know how hot that genre is right now!) You’ve found your real home with EXCITICA!
What does EXCITICA do for readers?
One of the biggest problems with erotica at the big distributors is categorization. Some have none at all. Amazon, the largest distributor of ebooks, has just added a few token categories to erotica – two years after Fifty Shades of Grey was first published! It’s hard to find the erotica you want on the big distributors (especially since places like Amazon often go out of their way to actually hide it from you, using the ADULT filter on certain titles!) and it’s even harder if you’re looking for anything out of the ordinary or taboo.
That’s one of the things EXCITICA has strived to do – categorize things for readers (and writers) so that every fetish, every niche, has a place and can be found. The better a writer categorizes their work, the easier time a reader will have of finding it. From incest to pseudo incest, to cuckold to dubcon, to gangbang, pregnant, or creatures, EXCITICA has categorized it ALL! And if you write it or read it and you don’t see it? Contact us, we’ll add it!
Am I worried about EXCITICA being censored or shut down?
Only mildly. Of course, writing in the genre has its risks. I think we all know that, and it’s been proven over and over as the corporate jackboot of censorship has come down harder and harder on our necks.
But my goal in creating EXCITICA was to give all erotica, in all its different flavors, a real home. A SAFE home. A place where almost everything was welcome, and readers nor writers would feel ashamed about it. To do that, I had to be sure that we wouldn’t go through any more drama like we did during the Paypal fiasco.
But the good news is that, since Visa clarified its position about paying for the WRITTEN WORD when it comes to erotica (and Paypal reversed its decision not to pay for “certain” type of fiction) Paypal has nothing to fear, and neither do we. EXCITICA will accept Paypal – and Paypal has publicly stated they are fine paying for any and all erotica that doesn’t have nudity inside the ebook.
That means EXCITICA does have a few tiny rules:
- We do not publish picture books of erotica. Graphic novels and comics are welcome, but photographic stories inside ebooks are not.
- We do not publish bestiality (shapeshifters are fine) necrophilia (unless you count vampires) or underage sex.
- No sexually active characters under the age of 18. References to past relationships and sex before the age of 18 is fine, but no detailed sexual content with characters under the age of consent in the U.S, is allowed. We require that your work have an legal age disclaimer stating that all characters are above the age of 18.
What do I need to do to get my book on EXCITICA?
Sign up HERE for a SELLER ACCOUNT!
You should be approved right away and you can start uploading your books!
If you have any questions, check out our FAQ.
NOTE: We are in “beta” mode right now – we’re still working out a few bugs here and there, taking feedback from authors and readers alike. We won’t fully launch (with big time advertising, contests and all that exciting stuff!) until later this year. But we DO want to hear from you, so please contact us if you have any feedback for us!
And we would LOVE it if you’d check out all our social media profiles, “like” us and spread the word! And if you want to keep up with what we’re doing?
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget