Friday, May 10, 2013

Banned Books and Censorship...

For as long as I've been writing erotica, (beginning in 1989) this genre has been the ‘dirty little stepsister’ of the publishing world...driven into the back corner of bookstores, if it's there at all, and shunned by most established publishers.

In the mid-90s, the Internet changed the fortunes for erotica writers and readers in a dramatic way, offering many more opportunities to publish, sell and read the explicit and often kinky fiction readers of this genre are clamoring for. Long gone are the days of sneaking into the dirty book store, when you can easily, and in complete privacy, download to a computer or other device the kind of reading material you enjoy.

A perfect environment for a major surge in erotica was born, and the numbers of erotic books now available climbed dramatically in the last decade. I can be nothing but grateful for the new technology, and the many websites, big and small, that offer my books for sale.

I often bemoan the fact that there’s still a segment of the world that doesn’t understand the kind of kinky erotic content that appears in BDSM fiction. It’s challenging for many people to realize that there are those, like myself and my avid readers, who find an erotic thrill in the fantasy depictions of such activities as bondage, spanking, whipping…along with a whole host of kinky activity.* Kinky thoughts and fantasies have been around since time began. It has been my belief that finding safe and sane ways to express these dark elements of our humanity is healthy, not harmful. Erotic literature is one very simple, harmless way to experience and enjoy the depth of our erotic nature.

It’s a sad reality that there is, still, an ongoing censorship of erotic fiction in today’s marketplace. Just when it looked as if erotica was finally gaining some acceptance in the mainstream fiction world, it’s sad to see that some of the biggest players in the vast ebook market have jumped into the game of banning certain content and book titles from their listings. It doesn't matter that the criteria used to evaluate books is arbitrary, and often the very same content that has been banned in erotica can be found within other genres of fiction, including Murder Mysteries, Thrillers, SciFi, Vampire stories, etc. 

Do I wish that the marketplace were different? That erotica was on the same playing field as romance fiction? That I could change the minds of those who censor our content? Sure. But it's not the reality of our world, and I've given up trying to rail against it... doesn't do any good and just makes me feel worse.

Maybe there's even something good about being 'banned'... maybe it means I'm just edgy enough to say something that will rattle peoples cages, and I rather like that thought.

The good news is that even the ‘banned content’ is still available. It’s as legal to write, publish and sell as any work of fiction. You just may need to hunt a little to find it. Or not hunt at all!

Check out Pink Flamingo's sister site, where you’ll find novels like my Slave Ranch, Taken Before Dawn, Wayward Angel, Nightmare of Vengeance, The Humiliation of Hannah, and these two, (which are particularly odd since they are basically consensual love stories), Memoirs of a Sex Toy and Against Her Will: The Abduction of Kat Bloom. (plus many more edgy titles from a large number of Pink Flamingo authors)

I urge readers of erotica (particularly readers of BDSM and GLBT fiction) to make the extra effort to buy your erotic paperbacks and ebooks directly from the erotica publishers like Pink Flamingo and the smaller independent retailers of erotic fiction who support your reading choices. It may mean some inconvenience in the formats available. But this is one way you can be sure that your personal brand of erotica will continue to be written and available to purchase in the Internet marketplace.

Enough said about that subject... back to writing!


*Just so no one misinterprets what I’m saying here: I am NOT talking about child porn, bestiality or snuff, etc., which are not found in my erotica or that of any Pink Flamingo author.


  1. Hi Lizbeth, great post. This is weighing heavily on my mind as well. I'm hoping that the marketplace -- the "free" marketplace will rise up to meet this. I"m already looking into selling on my own site, lest certain larger outlets (ahem) become increasingly unfriendly toward BDSM erotica, etc. -- which seems to be happening more every day. I agree that railing about it makes me feel worse, but then I think someone has to keep speaking up about it, you know? Ironically, the less we rail, the more accepted it is to silence us? So "they" win. That makes me feel worse than anything. :(

  2. Thank you, Sheri, for your comment. It seems the more censorship is taking place, the more I'm pushed to say something. I appreciate your encouragement.