At last, I thought, I’m ready to publish Crow Bones.
At times I didn’t think I would. Already this anthology is causing controversy and a number of outlets have banned it from sale. Why? Because an automated system has decided it has content that would offend. This automated system has not actually read any of the content, so I’m assuming it just made an assumption based on the description where I used the word, ‘incest’. I have taken great care to make sure that any sensitive issues I have tackled in these stories are treated with respect and dignity.
This is the email:
Concerning your book
BOOK ID: 201746
Our sales channels have asked us not to send certain material to them. Draft2Digital’s automated content review has detected some of this declined material in your book, Crow Bones. As a result, we cannot send this book to the following sales channels:
The types of material at issue include:
Incest and Pseudo-Incest: The content portrays characters engaged in sexual
activity with relatives, blood-related or otherwise. This includes situations
where characters refer to each other using familial terms.
Sales channels not listed above continue to receive this material at this time.
If you believe that your book has none of the content listed above and wish to contest the issue, please reply to this email and we will investigate further.
Now, I looked into this. I went onto these sites and discovered that all of them are selling The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan. If you are not familiar with this work, then I can verify that the book is about incest and has many graphic scenes of sexual activity between a brother and sister. So, why is my book being denied publication when there are no sex scenes? I have taken out the word ‘incest’ in my description, contacted the site explaining that my book has ‘none of the content listed above.’ As this goes to print I have received an email stating that they will publish my book after all. Result!
Strange though, that they objected to incestuous material and didn’t mind the other topics in my anthology, such as cannibalism and alien infanticide.
Revenge, desire, elusive muses, cannibalism, alien infanticide and a very angry goat.
Inspired by artists such as Chagall, Munch, and Banksy, these curious, darkly humorous and sometimes surreal stories explore human nature in all its disparate colours. From finding love against the odds on Blackpool Beach to surviving abandonment on a dying planet, each tale takes you to another time and place where reality is blurred and dreams mingle with the paint from a spray can.
To celebrate the launch of my ‘banned’ collection of short stories, I am pricing both my anthologies – Crow Bones and Glimmer – at only 99c – or equivalent depending on the country you live in. Links below on Amazon.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M6CT8PZ
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M6CT8PZ
Glimmer and other stories