I wanted to post this tonight because it's still current. And there seems to be so much misinformation floating around I wanted to clarify some of this misinformation with the help of ARe. In the last e-mail today, here's what ARe said:
We're working on an FAQ that we hope will correct some of the mis-information that we're starting to hear is being disseminated. We hope to have that available tomorrow, but it might not be until Monday.
After I e-mailed ARe the first time asking why my book, Skater Boy, had been taken down, they were kind enough to get back today with an explanation. I asked ARe for permission to post the e-mail here on the blog and they said it was fine.
I would also like to add that ARe asked me to mention that authors who have books out with publishers should ask their publishers to contact ARe about a problem that concerns a book being considered for review. In other words, because publishers have access to the panel publishers should be the ones writing in to request a review. So if you do have a book that's been questioned, contact your publisher and ask them for assistance. My publisher at LYD was only too happy to comply.
I received your earlier email as well, I just didn't have a chance to complete my response yesterday.
Of course I'll look into this for you and explain as best I can.
I'm curious about where you are receiving the "Banned List". Several emails have come my way listing "incest, bestiality, or underage characters" - so I'm thinking someone, somewhere, has posted their interpretation of our list of restrictive content (and they've left quite a bit off). Secondly, very, very few titles have been discontinued with no hope of reconsideration. Very few have even been inactivated with an appeal offered. We're talking in the neighborhood of 0.002% of our titles.
We emailed your publisher a list of titles that were inactivated and offered to reconsider them after they reviewed and modified (should they wish to do so) the metadata associated with the listings.
Search engines are blind to the actual content of the book, as is a customer prior to purchase. So how a book is presented and packaged is extremely important. As a seasoned author, I'm not telling you anything you don't know. An important restriction that was left off of your list was books written for or marketed to the barely legal market. Some tags and/or key words in the summary of your title triggered review of this for your title - for example, the combination of "daddy fetish", "skater boy", "skater boy fetish", "skater boys", combined with other variations of tags using the word "Erotica". Erotic/Boys/Fetish/Daddy.
If this is a story involving Young Man/Older Man, or a May/December relationship, those tags could easily convey the age gap. Your publisher should send an email to our email@example.com address after they review and adjust the meta-data (summary, tags, and excerpt). We can work with them to get this back up. No bookseller can read titles by every author they sell - we have over 150,000 authors in our database. I have read several of your titles that were published by Ravenous - they were both Erotic Romance with a distinct emotional/relationship arc to the story. I suspect this one is, too. But the tags make it look like something different.
I hope that makes this clearer.
I'm happy with the explanation as far as my book goes. I don't think ARe was targeting the book on purpose and I know my publisher has no problem changing tags to read "Man/Older Man, or a May/December relationship." This is, indeed, what the theme of the book is. From what I'm gathering, some books are being questioned because of certain words we haven't been paying attention to. I've harped here many times about writing clear product descriptions so readers know exactly what they are getting. But I've never been concerned with tags before. I'll pay closer attention now, trust me, to make sure there's nothing left to doubt.
We're living in unusual times right now. A lot of things about the Interwebs have yet to be defined. Publishing seems to change daily and there's always something new happening. I'm thankful to ARe for getting back as soon as they did with an explanation and for the comments they made about my books with ravenous romance. My publisher at loveyoudivine.com is working on the tags and getting the book reviewed. I have no doubt the book will be put back up on ARe as soon as this happens.
I've always posted about ARe being my own main source for information when it comes to product descriptions to the extent that I point readers to them for my own published books, and I'll continue to do so.