One of my mottos is… “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” I believe in pushing boundaries with my writing, trying things I haven’t yet tried, writing stories I haven’t seen available for sale.
Knowing Where The Boundaries Are
What ARE the boundaries?
The booksellers have boundaries. For example, many state there are to be no child abuse, incest, rape or bestiality (excluding shifters) scenes depicted as ‘sexy times’ (i.e. the goal isn’t to be sexual gratification). Be especially careful of these boundaries if you write erotic. The more explicit the scene, the greater the chances the book will be removed.
Many boundary-pushing writers cite Lolita as a book that is taboo yet sold at booksellers. Vladimir Nabokov was never graphic in his language. He uses imagery heavily. I think this is what makes this story allowable. The booksellers view the story as artistic, not pornographic.
Genres, subgenres and niches also have boundaries. Some boundaries are ‘hard’. The definition of romance is a romantic happy ever after or happy for now ending. Kill the hero and your story is no longer a romance. Some boundaries are ‘soft’. A hero, for example, usually only kills good guys on the page.
One of the reasons writers advise newer writers to read is because that’s a great way to learn where the boundaries are. If no one cusses in any of the Inspirational Historical Romances you read, for example, you know cussing might be taboo for that niche.
I normally write balls to the wall during the first draft and then self-censor (or not!) during the subsequent drafts.
Crossing a boundary at the publishing stage should be a conscious decision.
Because crossing boundaries can have consequences.
The Risks Of Crossing A Boundary
The boundaries are there for a reason. Someone, either the reader or the bookseller, likes having them in place. Cross a boundary and you’ll upset someone. Cross multiple boundaries in one story and you might upset everyone.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But we should know the possible downsides.
When I Indie published Releasing Rage, I knew I was taking a chance not only with readers but also with booksellers. Bad things happen to the heroine. Even though these bad things happen off page and are clearly depicted as an act of violence, not titillation, the booksellers could have removed the story. They have that right. It is clearly stated in their terms of service.
I took that risk. The booksellers didn’t remove the story. I’m certain it was reported. I’m certain someone at Amazon reviewed the story. They must have decided the scene was acceptable.
Other buddies have had to remove offending scenes or craft new covers or change book descriptions or remove tags. Their stories were temporarily removed until they were deemed compliant. In some cases, there was no tweaking the stories to satisfy the booksellers. Perhaps the stories centered around the offending action. The writers either decided to publish it on another platform (marketing it as ‘too hot for XXX bookseller’) or they shelved the stories.
If your story pushes bookseller boundaries, assume it will be reported and evaluated. The better your sales, the quicker your story will be reported.
You will also receive 1 star reviews and angry messages from readers. I received plenty of both for Releasing Rage. I saw them as confirmation I was doing something different in the cyborg space.
There are some glorious upsides to pushing boundaries. It is artistically freeing to write our stories exactly the way we want to write them. We have the excitement of being first. Hopefully, some readers will love it.
For a short time (a day or two or sometimes more), we’ll have the only story in that space, have zero competition. We’re doing something different and that is likely to be discussed with bloggers and reviewers, giving the book some much needed promo.
Many breakout books push boundaries in some way. Life is too short to play it safe. (grins)
Three Battered Hearts. One Perfect Love
Ace and Thrasher share a special bond. They’ve never acknowledged that connection and have never fully acted on it. The Humanoid Alliance kill cyborg males like them, deeming the warriors to be defective. Now that Ace and Thrasher have escaped, they don’t trust the cyborg council and their brethren to react any differently. Physical love is too risky for them to consider.
Until they meet her.
Carys is the Commander of a Rebel Battle Station. She has dedicated her lifespan to seeking vengeance against the Humanoid Alliance and the cyborgs who killed her daughter. On her battle station, she makes the rules, and if she wants to kiss, touch, and pleasure two mysterious warriors, she will. Nothing, not even enemy warships and a mass cyborg rebellion, can stop her.
In the midst of a war, enemies can become lovers and loyalties can change in a moment. Can a forbidden relationship between two cautious cyborgs and one unbending human Commander survive?
Hers To Command is Book 8 in the Cyborg Sizzle series.
Due to the number of returning characters in this story, you’ll enjoy Hers To Command more if you’ve read the other stories first.
This is a MMF BBW Cyborg SciFi Romance.