Worrying times for digital authors
At the same time, Kobo Writing Life suspended all 'indie' published books ostensibly because of the fear of abusive content. I've no problem with books being vetted for abusive material, but it seems that they have taken this much, much further. Small 'micro' publishers are also affected. My partner Neil publishes four authors, including myself and all our titles are suspended. It could be said that mine are 'self-published', but the other three are definitely not and this is very harmful. Also, all four of us are published by the Big 6 (whose books are not suspended) and several of the books concerned are E-editions of books published in paperback by Penguin, Robert Hale and Constable. Most of mine are literary biography - a genre not renowned for its erotic content! It could be said that Kobo are deliberately targeting Independent publishing of any kind, not just 'self' publishing, and this is a very worrying tactic for a company owned by WH Smith.
The internet is a dangerous place and Indie authors seem to be more vulnerable than most on its dark streets. We need to make sure we keep up to date with the technology. Cyber Censorship is an even more difficult issue. I believe passionately in freedom of expression, but I don't want extreme violence and porn of any kind to be freely available to people innocently browsing the pages of the Kobo catalogue. But what about all the other outlets? Are they going to follow suit? Will we have to declare explicit content when we publish? Will the rules be more stringent for independent authors than the Big 6? What is clear is that there's more need than ever for Indie Authors to belong to groups that will help them out and give them more clout when it comes to challenging people like Kobo and Amazon. I belong to the Alliance of Independent Authors, Awesome Indies and Authors Electric and it's quite comforting to be part of a tribe.