Good news/Bad news

I always wonder which to start with, but it would be churlish not to start with the good news in this case.  Late last night I got a gorgeous, intelligent, insightful and above all positive A grade review for False Colors from Dr. Sarah F of Dear Author:

“Rarely, oh so rarely, I’ll read a book that is so sublime, so transcendent, I actually come away from it a little melancholy, because it’s over and I can never read it for the first time ever again, because I know I’ll never be able to do justice to it in my review or analysis, and because I know I won’t meet its equal for many a year. But the process of devouring the book, of eking out its layered, textured meaning, of savoring its descriptions, and the emotions–oh, the emotions!–leaves me flying for days and the melancholy only makes it all the sweeter.

This is one of those books.  It ravished me. It scoured my insides. I feel like I’m stuck in it and I don’t ever want to get out.”


Rarely, oh so very rarely, does an author get a review that makes her think that someone has read the book they wanted to write – has seen between the lines to the perfect form that you tried so hard to capture, only to feel as if it eluded you every time.  This is the kind of review that authors dream of!  And I can die happy now I’ve achieved it. 

Also squee for Dr.Sarah’s descriptions of the characters, particularly John as “religious, resourceful, smart, and a natural leader.”  I’m so glad John’s leadership qualities came through.  Much of the book he’s in the position of being the nervous virgin, and I really hoped that wouldn’t make him seem somehow weaker than Alfie, because he so is not.  Backbone of steel, that boy 🙂

Thank you so much Sarah!  This is one to frame.  I will hang it by my monitor to remind myself that I can’t be that bad, after all 🙂


Bad news

Just as I was rejoicing over such a lovely review, I went to check False Colors’ sales ranking on Amazon.  It had been somewhere in the top #5 of gay romance for the past fortnight, and I’d got addicted to watching it go up and down.

Imagine my shock when it had disappeared altogether.  It turns out that False Colors and Transgressions by Erastes were only the first of a purge of sales ranks from innumerable titles in Amazon’s gay and lesbian list, and their het erotica list.  Most of MLR Press’s titles, many Loose Id titles and Samhain titles… Long term bestsellers like JL Langley’s The Tin Star and My Fair Captain have also lost their sales ranks and are suddenly completely absent from charts they have dominated for years.

Now I’d like to think this was a computer glitch, and it will all be restored in a couple of days, but this link from last year about Amazon disappearing its erotica novels in the Kindle store by removing their sales rank makes me wonder whether they’re doing the same thing again, only bigger and to print books.


And that pisses me off.  In the same world where Dear Author can write about False Colors:

This stunning book is not an erotic romance. It’s a romance between two men, sure, but that doesn’t make it an erotic romance.  It’s not focused on sex, even though it’s all about their sexuality — because the book does NOT shy away from dealing with the fear and shame and hatred of being a sodomite, an “invert” in the eighteenth century.  This book is romance, pure and simple. I don’t think I’m giving anything away to say that John and Alfie don’t even kiss until the end, although there is one incredibly hot sex scene between them. But the emotions are so rich, so bright and hard and painful, even the good ones, that this book can be considered nothing less than the best of romance, heart-wrenching and perfect.


is Amazon choosing to hide my book because it’s a romance about gay men, and that somehow makes it erotica?  Are they censoring it because having two men fall in love with each other somehow makes it automatically shameful and perverse and all about the sex?  I really hope I’m mistaken here.  I thought we’d actually seen some improvement since the 18th Century!

And personal feelings of ‘it’s not erotica!  If I’d wanted to write erotica, I’d have put in more sex’ aside, what’s wrong with erotica anyway?  Not one erotica writer deserves to have their work hidden from potential buyers by an organisation supposedly set up to sell books, with no warning and no explanation.

I so hope I’m getting my knickers in a twist about nothing, and that this is just Amazon instituting some interesting new service, and everything will be back to normal in no time.  But if it isn’t just a glitch, what the hell is going on?


I had been saving up to buy a Kindle, in order to read more of that m/m and f/f fiction of which Amazon currently appears to be ashamed.  This has made me change my mind and decide to buy a Sony and get my books straight from the publishers instead.  And I’ll read my review again to put a smile on my face before bedtime.  Thanks Dr. S!

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15 years ago

Yes. I’ve been hoping the amazon sales rank thing is a computer glitch too, but it’s hard not to suspect it’s something more sinister. They’ve been gone for 4 or 5 days, from both the UK and US sites: I haven’t checked other countries.

I’ve been in the habit of following my partner’s book “Dances with Werewolves” (it’s an erotic memoir, not a horror novel), and it’s been fun to compare its ups and downs with everything else that’s out there.

Sales ranks feed into all sorts of other lists and ranks, and so they drive one of the main mechanisms by which people can find out about good books in subjects that the big bookstores don’t stock and promote.

Lee Rowan
15 years ago

That line about saving for a Kindle?

Tell that to Amazon.


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