Book Bans, Draft2Digital Acquires Smashwords, and more news!

‘Dangerous and Cruel’: YA Authors Say Unprecedented Book Bans Hurt Kids Most (Rolling Stone)

YA fantasy novelist Kalynn Bayron, who is Black and queer and who writes Black and queer characters, says the fervor over book banning worries her about her ability to reach readers — whether they relate to the characters or not. “It’s important for young readers who share the marginalized identities of my characters. I want them to know that I see them, and their life experience counts, that it matters, and it means something,” she says. “But I think it’s equally important for young readers whose identities have historically been represented to see these stories, as well. It lets them have a window into someone else’s existence.” 

How This Woman Spearheaded Amazon’s Kindle Vella Platform Providing Indie Authors New Opportunities (Forbes)

As Milner witnessed how customers consumed content and began to understand their needs, the idea for Kindle Vella flourished. She envisioned how a new platform could change the landscape for indie authors. Kindle Vella allows authors to continue their content but not necessarily in the long format required on other platforms. For example, authors could produce a prologue in Kindle Vella for books that they’ve already published or write a story based on one of their secondary characters. 

Draft2Digital to Acquire Smashwords (Draft2Digital)

In terms of the service and resources you’ve come to expect from both companies, nothing really changes. At least, not right away. We will continue to offer the best author support there is, to all our combined authors, worldwide. And over time, authors and publishers will gain all of the advantages from both platforms, with a unified author dashboard and user experience. The good news is that with our combined powers, all of us at Draft2Digital and Smashwords see myriad opportunities to build even more and even better tools and services, to help you build and grow your author career in ways you might never have imagined.

How Extortion Scams and Review Bombing Trolls Turned Goodreads Into Many Authors’ Worst Nightmare (Time)

Scammers and cyberstalkers are increasingly using the Goodreads platform to extort authors with threats of “review bombing” their work–and they are frequently targeting authors from marginalized communities who have spoken out on topics ranging from controversies within the industry to larger social issues on social media. Black says she had posted about the upcoming book in a Goodreads community group, and had sent PDF copies to self-proclaimed reviewers. According to Black, the pressure to rack up reviews on Goodreads and Amazon led to her becoming the target of a cyber-extortion attack.

LGBTQ Books Are Being Banned. Their Authors Are Fighting Back (The Daily Beast)

As the New York Times reported, the relentless flood of proposed book bans is dizzying in both scale and overtly political animus. The Daily Beast reported this week how a 10th grade English class in North Carolina is no longer allowed to read the acclaimed book Dear Martin, about a teen’s experience of racial profiling, after one parent complained that it contained profanity. The Daily Beast has also reported how Johnson’s books, and others, often have spurious allegations of “pornography” leveled against them as a reason to ban them. Students themselves are rebelling over efforts to stop them from being able to read titles like Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer.

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