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The Day After

It’s the day after and all I can say is wow. In the grand scheme of things it was just a small news item, really just a blip compared to Somali pirates and what not. But as it’s unlikely I’ll ever capture fame as a writer, this is probably as close as I’ll ever get to it. I actually had very little to do with it, yet my name has popped up quite a bit in the news stories about it. A very organized group led by Erastes started the #Amazonfail campaign on twitter pointing everyone back to my blog. As a result, I had over 400 comments to my blog, 35 LJers friended me, I was interviewed on the telephone by The New York Times and The Seattle Times. I got many mentions in various new sources over the web, I was linked to by Andrew Sullivan and Michelangelo Signorile. My name was shown on television on the Channel 4 news in the UK. My name and book was mentioned on OutQ news on Sirius/XM radio. I don’t deserve any of it. All I did was blog about what an Amazon representative told me was the reason my book was de-ranked, and it just so happened that the response was a blunder, but it was enough to start a furor.
Thank you to Motoko Rich from the New York Times, Amy Martinez from The Seattle Times, Erastes, Lee Rowan, Charlie Cochrane, and I mustn't forget Ashlyn D - I know it wasn't your fault dear, and finally my own little troll davenatts - I'll never understand why some people feel the need to smear themselves with honey and then parade around in a bear camp!


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
You were the first one with actual confirmation that it had been deliberate - even if the mechanism used does turn out to be a 'glitch' of some sort. But no one of us is "the" hero -- this was another spontaneous groundswell of protest against something manifestly unfair.

I'm really glad it's brought your book to a wider audience. Isn't the suicide rate for gay teens something like 3X that for het kids? YA fiction gives them hope... and I don't think I need to quote Harvey Milk.

Apr. 14th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
I am of course grateful for the increase in sales that resulted. But rather than monetary gain for gay writers, I hope the news stories serve to expose the real homophobia that does exist in the world such as Prop 8, even though in the Amazon case homophobia was probably not to blame.
Apr. 14th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
There's quite a silver lining here, I'm still not convinced it was random.

GLBT, sexual health, mind-body, erotica... that's too tight a cluster for me to believe there was nobody focusing the damage. .

Every one of those areas is one that the christianist extremists want to see suppressed. If strikes me as just about as 'random' as the anthrax sent out after 9-11 that only went to the offices of Democrats.

Some person had to tell the computer to single out books that had some sex-positive or gay-positive content or author.

If Amazon is willing to fix that, well and good. But there's still the problem of why they have a mechanism to suppress ranking of some of their products. An opt-out system would serve their customers and publishers better. They have one for advertising - why not for ther actual merchandise?

Apr. 14th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
Mark, I'm so happy for you, and of course Alex and Erastes. You've been vindicated, and it created the exact kind of news that will, in the end, do a lot of good.

I'm happy to have been a tiny part in this.

Now, I should probably order "The Filly". :)
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Vashtan, you where one of the many LJers I didn't know who friended me as a result. Be proud that you played a part! When I get free time, I intend to peruse the LJs of my new subscribers and friend many of them in return.
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
Gotta stick together! :) (and don't worry about my LJ, I've been jabbering about my novel loads. Which isn't finished. :) ) (Came here via the_sea_to aka Chris_Smith, who linked me Sunday morning and was all distraught that Amazon appeared to have fucked around with you. That's how I got involved. :)
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
Am so please Mark. Just... yes. Good result all around.
Apr. 15th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
Thanks for helping out, Chris. Vashtan just outed you. ;)
Apr. 15th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)
Hahaha. No worries, I have a link to my Chris Smith LJ off of my the_sea_to one, I'm not the best at espionage!!!

Am really pleased for you - MM is seriously on the map now!
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 14th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
I knew I left someone's name out that I was supposed to thank! Yes Alex, you contributed greatly to this campaign too! after all "False Colors" had the most to lose as it would have been #1 on the gay romance list this whole time!
It think the difference in responses we got from Amazon is because you were dealing with customer service reps and I was dealing with a vendor rep who was more knowledgable about Amazon's policies, except that the policy certainly didn't apply in my case, plus it's a shady policy anyhow!
Apr. 14th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
It wasn't so small - it was homophobia or corporate idiocy (or both) and both need to be exposed.

And as for trolls, well...behold the power of thinking you're totally being anonymous.
Apr. 15th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
I'll admit that being contacted by the New York Times for an interview certainly wasn't small to me, but 15 minutes from now it will all but be forgotten. Trolls - don't feed 'em, or they'll never go away!
Apr. 15th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
Thank you for what you did.
Apr. 15th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
You are welcome, Steve, for what little I did do. There was a whole army behind me making it happen. I'm glad you've got all your rankings back.
Apr. 15th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Hi Mark, just wanted to let you know that I've been following your LJ since the weekend. It was Vashtan who first alerted me and others in his network by posting a link to your initial LJ post on the amazon issue in The Manhole Forum (housed on the Phade). I just wanted to thank you for generously lending your name out on this and to reiterate charliecochrane's comment in your LJ post of yesterday that in all of this you have shown "great dignity, courage and good sense". Incidentally, you may wish to add some Canadian media outlets to your "name mention" scrap book:

The National Post (Canada's largest national newspaper and ironically the most conservative): http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/afterword/archive/2009/04/12/amazon-policy-on-lgbt-books-spurs-twitter-uprising.aspx

xtra.ca (Canada's leading LGBT online and print newspaper): http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Queer_Twitterers_flex_their_collective_muscle_in_Amazon_fiasco-6592.aspx
Apr. 15th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, cboy junkie. Hey, you know already how I feel about cowboys! And you are into military slash? Just so happens I'm publishing a military slash anthology next year! Great to have you here. Oh, and Canada rocks!

Apr. 15th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC)
Another cowboy lover!!! Oh yeah can't have too many of those. My m_s drug du jour is Special Forces compliments of Vashtan and Marquesate and you're publishing an m_s anthology - this is most excellent news!!! You must tell us all about it when the time is right. Yep, the Great White North does indeed rock!!! Thank you for flisting me.
Apr. 15th, 2009 09:43 am (UTC)
Isn't he a star? (Meaning Mark of course, although you're probably one, too!)

Sometimes I think the decent, reasonable, sensible and nice really will inherit the earth. If it's OK with everyone else, of course. :)
Apr. 15th, 2009 11:15 am (UTC)
You deserve all the attention because, through it all, you were low-key and gentlemanly. Rare qualities in today's snarky online world.

I hope you've garnered some healthy sales from all this! You're an international sensation because you started the crusade against the big corporate bad guys.

Go you.
Apr. 15th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Blake. I'm far less cynical about these things than a lot of my fellow writers. A small boost in sales, certainly not a windfall. I really think this was a bigger deal to writers and publishers of gay material, than to the world at large. I've only heard from people in the business. None of my non-publishing friends and family are even aware of it. It was fun while it lasted.

Apr. 15th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
I have to say, I sort of disagree with you. I also quoted your blog in an article called, "Amazonfail is a Twitter Success," [http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/entertainment/2009/april/Amazonfail-Is-a-Twitter-Success.html] arguing that this might get people attention exactly for the reasons mentioned in the NY Times article: it's changing media.

I also think this is a big step for gay rights. Even though the news was spread on Twitter and not on CNN, a lot of people cared: http://blog.findingdulcinea.com/2009/04/gay-rights-in-the-mainstream-media-gay-rights-in-the-twitter-stream.html

Thanks for your work!
Apr. 15th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
There had been so many news blogs, that I hadn't seen yours. Great reporting! You paraphrased what I was trying to say in my blog, but you said it much better and clarified my meaning!

Yes I agree twitter was a huge media tool that certainly grabbed Amazon's attention and brought about a swift resolution. I saw someone comment somewhere "too bad we can't use twitter to fix Prop 8 as easily"

My comments about this being a minor thing are in reference to the general population which has barely taken notice. That's my observation from friends not connected to the cause. Their comments have been along the lines of, "Oh yeah, I saw something about that scrolling on the bottom of the screen on CNN." When questioned what was said, they couldn't really recall.
Apr. 17th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it--I appreciate the feedback. And thanks again for your immensely helpful coverage.
Apr. 23rd, 2009 03:01 am (UTC)
Wow! Thanks for updating, and for posting about the aftermath! Very interesting story. Hope you do get back to writing non-Amazony things soon!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )