This wasn't specifically mentioned in the FAQ and I haven't been able to find an answer elsewhere. The FAQ only states that all "adult" matters should only be used with characters who are 18 and over. Some of the characters in an upcoming ebook of mine, who are quite younger than that, might be using strong language, which I don't consider to be an adult issue, just a form of expression. Needless to say, the F-word could be used.
I was wondering if I could write those characters the way that I envision them or if it will be necessary to change them, in order to comply with Smashword's guidelines.
Your only concern, with Smashwords, is whether you should put your book in the Adult category. Unless you're writing erotica and anything else that's deliberately intended to titillate adults, there's no need. In fact, putting your book in the Adult category is the fastest way to kill it, since anyone who has the adult filter on will never see it. As Shiva said, if you think some of the material is for more mature readers, just indicate, in your description, what's involved. If it isn't a very big issue, save it for the extended description, rather than using part of your basic hook for it.
Post by johndstories on Mar 29, 2012 15:31:55 GMT -8
Actually, the TOS says:
• if you publish erotica content, neither the book cover nor the book interior may contain graphic images of nudity (either photographic or illustrated) or persons involved in sex acts, and does not include children or underage minors engaged in sexual acts or situations, witnessing such situations, considering sexual acts, or thinking about sexual acts. Fine art books of a non-erotic nature that contain nudity may be accepted on a case by case basis at the sole discretion of Smashwords and/or its retail partners
Post by johndstories on Mar 29, 2012 16:21:49 GMT -8
As for 'Underage' well, I believe this is up to the author to decide, and either you can take the slim chance that it might be removed, prepare yourself for a war of words over what you feel is appropriate. Or you can choose to do as so many wish authors would and do nothing that anyone could ever call 'risque'.
I like to write adult stories; that is stories with a plot that contains some sex, swearing and occasionally violence. While some of my characters will have, or will have had, sex under the age of sixteen (this is the real world, right?) any sex act that is described in detail, or described to titillate has the participants over this age. The only exception to this was a paedophile raping two teenagers in "Secrets" and the act was described clinically, so that the reader was left in doubt what was happening, but that it was not written to titillate and/or arouse.
Why should the puritans, who believe in a God/moral code that this secularist (and mild-mannered atheist) refuses to agree with, get their own way?
Let's not forget that Smashwords is an American company, your ebooks are distributed by an American company, your ebooks are stored on American servers, and your royalties are paid by an American company.
The nexus is America, therefor authors must abide by American laws.
The Internet law question of jurisdiction comes into play every time a person from another country purchases an item in a different country.
Also, there is the question of how pornography is defined in various countries. In Canada: Child pornography is a criminal offence under section 163.1 of the Canadian Criminal Code:
163.1 (1) In this section, "child pornography" means (a) a photographic, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means, (I) that shows a person who is or is depicted as being under the age of eighteen years and is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity, or (ii) the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of eighteen years; or (b) any written material or visual representation that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years that would be an offence under this Act.
Now where this becomes a tad confusing is Canadian law defining Age of Consent as "The age of consent, also known as the "age of protection", refers to the age at which a young person can legally consent to sexual activity. All sexual activity without consent, regardless of age, is a criminal offence."
But, The age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years in Canada.
However, the age of consent is 18 years where the sexual activity "exploits" the young person -- when it involves prostitution, pornography or occurs in a relationship of authority, trust or dependency (e.g., with a teacher, coach or babysitter). Sexual activity can also be considered exploitative based on the nature and circumstances of the relationship, e.g., the young person's age, the age difference between the young person and their partner, how the relationship developed (quickly, secretly, or over the Internet) and how the partner may have controlled or influenced the young person.
Erotic authors using 'underage' characters must consider not only their financial health after being sued by a parent who discovers the offending ebook being read by an 'underage' person, but their work possibly being removed from stores for violating the retailers TOS.
The problem as I see it, writing stories involving underage characters, is that the purchaser may be a mother or father who becomes disgusted with the book when he/she reads about situations involving underage characters.
Now imagine that parent or friend of that parent, possibly a Senator, or TV personality, or public official or celebrity, rants to the world about your offending book. Believe me, most authors don't have enough money to mount a successful legal defence.
Yes, your work would have gotten a tremendous amount of free publicity. But your works may be removed from retailers.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for authors having the right to write what they want. Writing works involving 'underage characters' needs knowledge of law, and the skills to present your 'underage characters' in situations both legally correct and honoring your idea.
I think what is the most important about any of this is to define there is a difference between pornography and sexual content, and that there is a difference between 'adult matters' and 'literary license'. I think it needs to be said that authors should follow their better instincts, if they feel concerns they should tag those issues in their descriptions or tags. And if they are worried about getting sued they should just stop writing, because obviously there are all manner of legal missteps that are waiting to happen.
I agree 100%.
Post by David Ellis on Apr 3, 2013 17:46:28 GMT -8
I don't know the legalities and such here. I don't write in that style. I believe people can write what they want, legally. I only wanted to say that with either sex or language, I, as a reader, would really appreciate a disclaimer/warning before purchasing the book. I have been unhappily surprised on more than one occasion.