Too Hot! Too Weird! Too Shubby for Amazon!
Well, yesterday the tutting grandmothers and maiden aunts that work out their sexual frustrations stoking the boilers on the Censorship Engines of Amazon.com saw fit to relegate our new title, Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath, to the unsearchable dustbin that is their ‘mature content’ tag. What did this mean? It meant that until an hour or so ago, you could still find Conqueror Womb, if you knew where to look (ie. the Kindle store, specifically), and it also meant you wouldn’t find it, if you searched for, say, Lovecraft or Shub-Niggurath in the general search terms for Amazon.com itself.
Is this kind of thing a big deal? I mean, don’t most readers come to MMP titles because of something MMP authors say or do or post? Who goes searching for the term “conqueror womb”, anyway? Precious few, I’m sure, and I’m not sure I’d want to know anyone who would. (I’m sure you’re lovely people, but … you understand.)
So, why’d the grannies hit us, and hit us so fast? Conqueror Womb was released on the 10th. Of February. That’s right, a mere three days ago. We were alerted to the fact of our change of status by one of the collections authors, the sharp-as-a-goddamn-tack Jacqueline Sweet. Alarmed that they had moved so quickly, and just before Valentine’s Day, which was, you know, the whole reason for releasing this book this week, Scott immediately got on their case with this letter…
According to their spokes-granny, the cover (by friend-of-the-show and genius Glaswegian illustrator Garry Mac) was deemed to be “mature content”. Ladies and gentlebeasts, the original cover…
Beauty. That’s EIGHT breasts, at least. And, like Scott said, monstrous. And not all that sexual, even. In fact, Garry Mac’s Shubby here is feeding her Dark Young. Amazon, what do you have against breastfeeding mothers? she asks in something nearby to complete seriousness. Well, whatever problems they have with that particular miracle of nature, the upshot is they asked us to change this. Remember, too, that we had to confront them on this issue: if we hadn’t noticed their action, they wouldn’t have mentioned it to us at all. If you’ve never seen one of their your cover is too smutty emails, they look like this.
Well, gosh, Cecilia, thanks for being so up front and honest and understanding about Amazon’s behind-the-scenes manipulation of our product!
So, yeah, we changed the cover. And if you think it was easy for us to move the text elements north to cover up our beautiful, regal Shub-Niggurath, then let me tell you honey, IT WASN’T. (Sorry, Garry! We’re sooo sorry!) Here’s the revised cover…
Not exactly a hatchet job, but we are saddened, still.
Now, here’s the thing: Amazon asks you to choose two categories for a title, and we, in an effort to be honest about the content of Conqueror Womb, chose Horror (obviously!) and Erotica (also obviously)… certainly CW is far more horror than erotica. Even we don’t think it appeals to prurient interests enough for anyone to reasonably get their rocks off, although you’re welcome to try. Scott felt, and I concurred, that we had been penalized for our transparency. And so the Martian Migraine response was a little testy, naturally…At this point, we pretty much threw up our hands. Wiser heads than ours nodded sagely and advised us that once a title had been flagged as mature, it was effectively done, kaput, as good as disappeared. Certainly, this has been my own experience with the first two Blackstone books (Red Monolith Frenzy and Green Fever Dream both got hit about eight months back, and sales of those has dropped noticeably — but hey, there’s the links, go, now, and buy a copy of each, just to rub it in their noses, please) and so we resigned ourselves to obscurity.
Then, this happened…
We fought Amazon.
We fought a rear-guard battle, granted, and we gave up some territory (those lovely mutant mammaries!), but we fought Amazon…
AND WE WON! We won. It can be done.
But, just to spite ’em, remember this, Migraineers: buy DIRECT from MMP and you’ll get the uncensored glory of the original cover AND exclusive website bonus content! Delivery may not be as swift as Amazon’s Whispernet (generally under 12 hours to your inbox) but you get our chummy personalities and sweet extra swag with the transaction, and our gratitude for supporting independent presses. It’s Valentine’s Day! Show your sweetie some weird love and pick up a copy of Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath for a little light pillow reading!
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