Today, dark erotica author Nikki Sloane has released a statement regarding her new release, Sordid. Followers of this blog will know that I gave Sordid one of the rare five star reviews for its sheer brilliance, highly erotic and dark nature. Frankly, it is one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading, something which has given me a wild and intense book hangover that I’m still not over.
I will not paraphrase Nikki’s statement, as I feel it is important for you to fully understand the struggle and impact this has had. Instead, it is here in its entirety:
I hate to write this post. I try very hard to remain positive and not complain when things go awry, but this is me fighting back tears.
As some of you may be aware, Amazon (KDP) flagged my dark erotic romance, Sordid, effectively making the book invisible on their site. When I petitioned Amazon about this, Sordid was released from the adult dungeon. Relief was short-lived. Days later, the book was banned and all preorders canceled. Amazon is the largest ebook retailer and it’s where the vast majority of my readers get their books. The decision left me gutted.
The alert I received stated I had violated their content policy. I was shocked. With dozens of ARCs already in the hands of early readers, the response for the book has been nothing short of amazing. So why does Amazon feel the book is unfit for sale? It’s tame in comparison to other titles in the genre.
While fielding concerns from my readers about their canceled preorders, my publicist and I pressed KDP through emails and phone calls, asking for clarification on what the content was so I could correct it. Ultimately, the supervisor we spoke with was adamant that KDP could not and would never elaborate, and if I had any scenes of explicit sex or violence, I had to remove them completely. Since it’s an erotic romance, I made whatever adjustments I could without impacting the overall story, and reuploaded. Six hours later Sordid was rejected.
Amazon wants to censor my book. They’ve made it clear that Sordid will not be made available for purchase as is.
There are no other changes I can make without compromising the entire story. Because of this, I’ve been left with no other alternative but to not publish my book on Amazon.
Did I sleep at all last night as I wrestled with this decision? Nope.
Did the realization that readers can’t purchase my book on their preferred retailer make me physically ill? Sure did.
Will my sales take a huge blow? Absolutely. But the idea of sacrificing my work to fit inside someone else’s judgment is so much worse. I know that I have smart readers who can decide for themselves what to read.
If you’d like to purchase my book, it will be available at all other major retailers: iBooks, Nook, Kobo, and Google, starting May 29th. If you want to purchase the title for your Kindle or in paperback, please know I am working on that, and hope to have a solution prior to release day.
Thank you so much to everyone for your support over the past two weeks. I’ve had people reach out to tell me they loved the book or wish me luck, and this kept me pushing forward when I wanted to quit.
I’d like to ask a favor. I was a naïve author who wanted to publish her first dark romance, and have learned so much in the process. There’s a lot I would do differently had I known what I do now. Please help SHARE this post so it may save another author a ton of heartache.
Some of you may or may not know that when I am not reading and reviewing books, I am a staunch supporter, campaigner and occasional writer in support of free speech and against censorship. I am a free speech absolutist. I try not to mix politics and reading, but really there are occasions, such as this, in which I find myself unable to take a back seat and fully separate them.
One person will make very little difference, I know, but from now on, I will only be making purchases through their website if I truly have no other choice, and I urge you to do the same.
What Amazon has done by banning Sordid is censorship, and I am disgusted. I probably shouldn’t be surprised, judging from their track record, and yet I am. What Amazon has decided is that we, adults, are unable to make decisions about what to read for ourselves. There is a clear warning on retail sites for the book about its dark content: people will not buy it and not realise its subject matter. Especially because its title is Sordid. Amazon has taken the choice away from us as to what we are mature enough and emotionally able to read. It is treating us like children, and this is highly insulting and infantalising.
I have one thing to say.
Piss off, Amazon.
You can support Nikki and purchase Sordid from the following places: