Bookstrand no more…

It’s ridiculous that I have to take time away from my full-time writing career to do this, but here it goes…

I just received the following email:

Dear Indie Author,
 
We have made a decision to no longer maintain most indie author accounts at BookStrand.com.  Therefore, we are deactivating all titles associated with your account and no new uploads will be accepted.  Your final distribution payment will be disbursed to you within 30 days and your account will be closed. During this time you will still be able to access your sales report from your account.
 
BookStrand will focus on its core business by servicing accounts of publishers with clear submission and publishing guidelines that best serve our targeted audience.  Our customer base was successfully built on this premise, and it’s time to go back to our roots.
 
While we understand you may be disappointed in losing a distribution outlet for your work, there are still several outlets that currently accept self-published titles. We wish you the best in your endeavors.
 
Sincerely,
Howie M.
BookStrand.com

No, I didn’t make a lot of money from my self-published titles on Bookstrand. In fact, hardly any at all. Seriously, like $100 a year total. It was barely worth taking the time to upload the books for that but I listed my titles there so my readers would have options. Why did Bookstrand deactivate my account? Because they were getting flack from PayPal about some of the self-published books on Bookstrand that contained things PayPal considered obsene, such as pseudo-incest (step-parents and step-children) and barely legal sex (18 year old teens having sex).

What books did I have there in my self-published account that is now inactive? I had my romantic comedies that were originally released by Linden Bay Romance in both eBook and print (OPPOSITES ATTRACT, NICE & NAUGHTY, JUST DESSERTS), one military book from Linden Bay Romance (CROSSING THE LINE), and my recently out-of-print eBook I got the rights back to when Sapphire Blue Publishing closed its doors (GILLIAN’S ISLAND). So I had a few books about computer geeks, and firemen, and a Marine, some of them barely containing any sex at all, and books that had been accepted, edited and published by actual publishers even if they were small press. Then I had my two self-published books EDUCATING ANSLEY and THE EX-FILES. Yes, these were erotic romance, but they also had a happy ever after ending, and safe, consensual sex between mature adults. I also had my Free Read CAT SNIPS, an anthology of short stories, one of which was also once published and I’d gotten the rights back. In one of those stories, there isn’t even actual sex, just a dream.

So like the tuna who gets caught in the commercial fishing nets, I got swept up and disposed of along with the other books they didn’t want listed because of the PayPal censorship and Bookstrands’ fear and laziness. Why take the time to look at my actual books when you can just delete “most” indie accounts? I believe they said MOST because there are a few self-pubbed authors there who make them a SHITLOAD of money (pardon my French)  so they are willing to take a risk with them.

It shouldn’t matter really, as I said I made crap there, but I’m pissed. This line really got me… “publishers with clear submission and publishing guidelines”. I’m a best seller at Samhain Publishing (who has an excellent reputation in the industry). Samhain routinely has books on the NY Times bestseller list so they are not churning out crap. I just signed a 3 book deal with Kensington Brava. I’ve been published in YA by Tor Books, Western Publishing (who owns Golden Books) and Sports Illustrated for Kids since the 1980s. Yet I’m being treated like I’m not  a professional, like someone who is putting out inappropriate content and inferior works because I chose to self-publish? Even if most of those books were previously published? Maybe I’m just having a diva moment. A “don’t you know who I am?” *foot stomp* type of moment. Then again maybe I’m just scared, because if Amazon KDP and Barnes and Noble Pubit follow Bookstrand’s lead, that will financially hurt me because self-publishing with those companies pays my mortgage.

I guess we’ll see…

22 responses to “Bookstrand no more…

  1. So what does this mean for Siren? I buy quite bit through them and it seems to be an affiliate, but seems unfair to deactivate options. I like one shop stopping. I buy from Samhain too but sometimes it is nice just to get them all at once

    • I can’t answer that since I’m not a Siren author and after this, because of this, I never will be. But you are correct, Siren and Bookstrand are affiliated. I don’t want to speculate but my gut tells me they aren’t going to take down their own Siren titles, nor self-pubbed books by Siren authors.

  2. This is just ridiculous and another example of peer pressure censorship! I’m about sick and tired of other people deciding what’s appropriate or acceptable. If they are so damn concerned why don’t they take the time to actually verify all their sales are to free american/over legal age/oughta be able to make up your own mind people?? No one, including paypal or publishers, should have this right. I totally agree with you and understand your anger & frustration. At this point I’d say you are better off without them. I only went to their site to buy your books & I will be deleting my acct with them today & sending them a commentary that I don’t appreciate their bowing to peer pressure & lack of respect for the self-published authors.

  3. I am raging.!!!!…here we go ……censorship of books from “paypal’…..what would they know about books and their content? Will they say what clothes or toys or furniture that I am “allowed” to buy next? I can let them know what I think….no more using paypal for anything. If there is no alternative, I will simply let the seller know why I am not buying from them….
    Last time book censorship was a big issue here in Europe , it was the Nazi’s….
    Am about to delete Bookstrand from my favourites AFTER I send them an email………

  4. Cat I cannot believe this. One would think in this day and age censorship wouldn’t happen so easily.

    I am so sorry you have to go through this. You have a very broad fan-base and we will stoutly support you! Anything for you!

  5. And after all this, the #2 bestseller on Bookstrand right now is a story about identical twins in a three way published by their own house imprint Siren.

  6. I knew this was coming but not so soon. It makes no sense to do this. This will damage them more than they realize. I love your work and will follow you where ever you go. 🙂

  7. Dear C, I will cancel my account with paypal immediately. My credit card works better anyway. Luv your books. When a door shuts a window opens. Keep the faith, your fans will not leave you. It’s like a good hairdresser, we’ll follow you any where. Just let us know where you go next.

  8. Hmm… I hear opportunity knocking for Bookrhythm.com. I guess they can try and pick up the slack since it was originally thought to be a good idea to be just one more outlet for an indie author to sell their books besides the big behemoths. LOL

  9. I had heard that paypal wasn’t letting people order “certain books”. If we pay for our own books, with our own money, who are they to tell us what we can read? Someone is trying to take away our rights.

  10. I really do believe it was just an excuse to get rid of indie authors who were outselling their Siren imprint. What’s left on their site is just as naughty as what they got rid of. Total double standard.

  11. I get most of my books from All Romance Ebooks or Samhain any way. As long as they have your wonderful stories, I am happy. I looked at Indie’s site once but did not setup an account there.

  12. Frankly I think the fools are cutting their own throats. Why on earth do they think we searched them out in the first place! A HOT Read of course.
    You are one of the top authors I follow and buy. I have your series in my Fictfact files and I follow you on Goodreads. Please keep writing and find someone who is open minded enough to know this is a needed, upcoming and legitimate genre. I am so tired of it being looked down on.
    So sorry that this had to happen to you. You are respected, followed and an excellent author. keep up the Hot work!
    Sandi

    • Thank you, Sandi, and thank you to everyone for commenting!

      Don’t worry, I’m still writing and still for sale at all the other outlets. Just scary times we’re in right now. Paypal just wrote a letter to a publisher telling them they classified BDSM books as ‘non-consensual forced sex’ making those books off limits too. Who knows what they’ll decide is taboo next– Multiple-partners? Sex without marriage? Same sex? Who the hell knows? Once the pendulum starts swinging it doesn’t stop until it reaches way over to the other side…

      • Unless the pocket book wakes them up. Money talks. We are not the silent little housewives of times gone by. Take away our hot books and there will be Hell to pay! Factor into that the Cougar generation and the newly retired hot mamas. Oh yah! 🙂

  13. “they classified BDSM books as ‘non-consensual forced sex’ ”
    A year ago I was doing research on BDSM and the most important rule of BDSM is consent – BDSM is always consensual. In lot of cases participations (especially if the are strangers) before the session write down contracts: what is allowed, what isn’t, etc. So, to make the long story short, if it isn’t consensual then it is NOT BDSM.

    Just my 2 cents.

  14. Pingback: Writers & Publishers Blogs: A link List #censorship #paypal #erotica | Banned Writers

  15. Pingback: Indie Authorship + PayPal = Scary Vulnerability « The Active Voice