I wrote a little e-book guide recently that used the word 'mongoloid'. The use of the word had absolutely nothing to do with people who suffer from Down Syndrome. The guide was a brief history of a fictional race of humanoids from an alternate earth referred to as 'mongoloids'. If someone took the time to read the piece, it would be evident. I understand that the word itself used to have a negative connotation, so I used it in a provocative way. My feeling was that I might attract people who, after having their attention roused by the title, would then read the piece and have their minds changed. The piece is about slavery, freedom, prejudice, and bigotry. Not to mention freedom of speech and artistic expression.
Right or wrong, that's what I did, and that's why I did it.
Now, the piece certainly did arouse attention, but not in a constructive way, and I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I got over 200 negative, histrionic, ranting, self-righteous, and threatening reviews in a day and a half. Ninety-nine percent of these people did not even read the piece in question. They just started a campaign against the book. Several facebook boycott campaigns were started, as well as a change.org petition. The three positive reviews I got were from people who read the piece and understood what it was. It was a little piece of satirical commentary. That's three people, out of 250.
Because Amazon was threatened with boycotts, received constant complaints, and were generally bothered by the dust-up, they removed the book from the site, saying that it violated their content guidelines. Content guidelines that actually don't really exist. They are so vague, these guidelines, that they could encompass anything. But that's fine, if they don't want the hassle, it's their site.
But they didn't even take the time to talk to me about it. They never told me exactly what rule I broke in the 'content guidelines'. They didn't contact me and ask me to remove the offending work myself. They didn't read the work to find out if it was in fact, offensive to people with Down Syndrome, which it was not. They gave me no voice in the matter, no choice in the matter, and obviously no matter in the matter.
So they blocked my account, effectively holding the other work I have on the site hostage. I would like to remove my other work and delete the account itself, but they will not let me do that. I have contacted them repeatedly to try and resolve this issue, but they will not actually have a conversation of any kind with me.
All I'm saying is, that if you are a small author, of no note, don't step out of line like I did. if you do, you will be censored, punished, and you and your art will be marginalized and allowed to be convicted in the court of the uninformed and knee-jerk bandwagoners.
I would also suspect, that if Amazon follows true to my experience with them, they will delete this post and block me from making any more. So smoke it while you got it!
So a question, KDP. From the author. Why do business this way?
Message was edited by: arcopitcairn
I guess what I really want is for Amazon to free me. I want my information and my work off their site. The only reason I posted here is in some small hope someone who can free me will do just that. I tried contacting them by phone, by chat, and by e-mail with no traction at all. This would be my last ditch effort.
If anyone with any Amazon juice reads this, please just unblock my KDP account or delete it so that I won't have to have the thorn of doing business with your organization in my side any longer.
People nowadays are actually looking for a chance to be offended and outraged. I would bet you are the victim of a readers' forum mob lynching. Once you have become a target of the readers' forums, they will gather enough of a mob to make sure you are gone. From what I have seen, people who write political books are safe from Amazon's wrath, but are targeted by the Left as far as reviews are concerned. Amazon also allows reviewers to call Republicans and Tea Party members war criminals, etc, even ex-presidents, but the books are not banned as far as I can tell.
With great risk goes great reward...but also great risk. You mention you used the word in a provocative way and it did just that, it provoked a knee jerk reaction that led to your current situation.
Now you can't say that this is a great surprise. Some words have power in them and should be used carefully. I've gotta say that it must have been an interesting time at your book site. I imagine some of those messages were quite pointed. Some authors caught up in this type of hysteria had to use another pen name afterwards to avoid the hate mail.
If the complainers were just mad at your use of the word, "mongoloid," despite the context then they are complete morons.
I realize that the word was used in the past as a slur and or to refer to people with downs syndrome. But what the word is more commonly used for, is actually a classification of one of the human geno types... mongoloid, causoid.... There are about 4 or so classifications based on skull characteristics of modern man.
1. denoting, relating to, or belonging to one of the supposed racial groups of mankind, including most of the peoples of Asia, the Inuit, and the North American Indians
2. a member of this group
P.S. It looks like you were a victime of the self rightious PC police, who complain about things that don't really harm or offend anyone so that they can tell everyone how very virtuous they are.
I’m an advocate of free speech. Yet, I realize we are responsible for what we write and say. Sometimes what we say or write offends, and we shouldn’t be surprised when that comes back to bite us in our butt.
I found your little book on Smashwords, and I have to ask….did the reaction really surprise you? Really?