Amazon and the Pitfalls of Public Domain

I’ve recently published the first three parts in a series of new erotica works set in my Victorian Steampunk world. What makes these different is I set them inside the public domain work of Jules Verne. I embarked upon An Erotic Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Much like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I wanted to set a sexy adventure story in what was otherwise a stodgy bit of (beloved) source material. But if I’d know the problems I would run into I probably would never have started.

First of all, I’ve always hated Jules Verne. Such a tedious cock. He overwrote everything. So while I for example loved the 1954 film version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

as a girl, actually reading Verne was too painful. Maybe because the translation from French lost something, but more likely because Verne insisted on cramming a gazillion references to pop culture at the time. It’s like watching old episodes of the Simpsons; you forget what half the jokes are a reference to.

My first job writing An Erotic Journey was to edit the tediousness out of Verne. I made an abridged version that cut at least 50% of his original content and in no way affected the plot.

So Long Kindle Select

After that it was easy, I added all the fun things that Verne forgot and toploaded it with enough Victorian erotica to tire out an entire neighborhood of housewives.

But here’s the problem publishing it.

Verne’s work is public domain, totally legit to republish. And with more than 50% being new content I have no moral issues with using his work. It’s more of an homage, if you will. However under the KDP rules, works of public domain are not eligible to be enrolled in KDP Select (KDP Select is only available for content unique to Amazon, and since public domain works are available everywhere, no dice).

I don’t know about you, but since Amazon rejigged the payout system I’ve been seeing half my profit come from KENP page reads under KDP Select. So it was a bit of a dick-slap in the face to do all that work writing the stories then having them be devalued by 50% by Amazon right off the bat.

Silver Lining

The one recourse I now have is to try and use this setback as a learning experience and publish the Erotic Journey on other platforms. Since for example Google Play books requires you to upload work in an epub format I’ve been teaching myself how to use Sigil to make an e-book version. If it hadn’t been for the purposefully unfriendly rules of KDP Select it might never have been worth the effort to try it out.





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