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carnaltopiaFrom an erotica author’s perspective, Amazon is both an amazing opportunity (to self-publish and potentially reach a wide audience) and a royal pain in the ass. Because it’s big and powerful and it can, Amazon’s morality police are constantly on the prowl, enforcing vague and ever-shifting policies on the flavors of erotica that customers are allowed to see on its website.

For example, no sex with animals. And no incest. No allusions to them, either. Put “daddy” in an erotica title and see what happens (it’s ugly). Write about what Amazon considers to be illicit sex and not only will it remove the book, it can (and often does) ban accounts, meaning the author cannot publish with Amazon again. Out of business.

What’s wrong with incest or bestiality erotica? Neither kink interests me, so I shouldn’t care. But step back a moment. If an author writes an erotica story about, say, a brother and a sister engaging in sex, it’s just a story, right? It’s not an endorsement of real incest (which, I suspect, is almost always extreme sexual abuse). It’s not suggesting that you have sex with a sibling.

Human beings are complicated. We have fantasies that are difficult to express — thoughts and desires we don’t bring up around the dinner table or with colleagues at work. We think about things that we would never (or could never) do in real life.

That’s why incest erotica (just to pick on one kink) is called fiction. It’s a fantasy. It’s a way some people like to get off, both writers and readers.

And you’re an adult. Why have Amazon (and most other book distributors) stand in your way? Filtering your choices? Censoring what’s available to you? Why should a corporation in thrall of who-knows-what (fundamentalists? the chamber of commerce? Catholic priests?) determine what you see when you shop for erotica?

Along comes a new ebook distributor, Carnaltopia. It offers two things: First, its authors and stories are vetted for quality. If you shop for erotica online, you know there’s an incredible amount of dreadful stuff out there. I’m talking bad at the most basic level — bad grammar and spelling, lousy sentence structure and just plain unprofessional writing that shows writers’ contempt for their audiences. Carnaltopia, in a refreshing (and long overdue) change of pace, only lists high quality erotica (and, yes, I made the cut).

Secondly, and to my first point, Carnaltopia is not restrictive in its (legal) subject matter. You’ll find topics that you won’t find at most other online retailers (and which, of course, you’re under no obligation to buy). It’s a start-up, and the site’s catalog of erotica will continue to grow.

Now you can shop for ebooks at an erotica distributor that treats you like an adult. A final point: The prices are the same as that other place.