Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Tao of Seneca

This post started as something completely different. It started with me trying to put together a list of gift suggestions you guys might like. This led to my decision to send a book as a gift to a friend (let’s hope she likes it), and then through circuitous ways to a book I think I mentioned before, and finally to the author of The 4-Hours Workweek, and finally to Seneca.

Isn’t this world wide web thing a blast?

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The Content Guidelines

I’ve been asked to post the contents guidelines from Amazon so that you get an idea and maybe will be able to tell me what’s wrong in BUSCAFUSCO: Fun & Games.
This is indeed an interesting read, I guess, because after all it has to do with my writing life. 

The actual document is pretty large, but what’s pertinent is – I think – the following, that goes under the Offensive & Controversial category:

Violence, Intolerance, and Hate

  • Products that contain violent or offensive material that has no historical significance. Amazon reserves the right to make a determination on the historical value of the item.
  • Products that promote, incite, or glorify hate or violence towards any person or group. This includes products that contain violent or offensive material that has no historical significance. Amazon reserves the right to make a determination on the historical value of the item.
  • Products that promote or glorify suicide
  • Products related to terrorist organizations
  • Products that promote or glorify people that have been found guilty of violent or sexual crimes.

Intolerance

  • Products that promote intolerance based on race, religion, and sexual orientation.
  • Products that contain racially derogatory language

Human Tragedies and Disasters

  • Products related to human tragedies and natural disasters

Child Abuse and Exploitation

  • Products that depict child abuse/exploitation
  • Products intended for use by children that contains adult content, profanity and/or sexual references
  • Products depicting children or characters resembling children in a sexually suggestive manner
  • Products marketed to or targeted at kids or teenagers that are age-inappropriate

And really, I can’t say there’s anything like that in my Buscafusco stories. Granted, this new story marks the first appearance of the Chinese Triads, but there is no racist content I can think of. I purposefully avoided derogatory terms, despite the fact that one of the characters is the sort that would use them. Because only a fool chooses to risk and offend his readers on a matter of authenticity.

Anyway, we are still here waiting.
The plot thickens.


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Blocked!

Well, this is a first. BUSCAFUSCO: Fun & Games has been blocked by the KDP Guardians, for reasons undisclosed. I asked around, and apparently this is the standard: they block your book, and they do not tell you why. Hell, they don’t even send you a mail. You have to check the KDP dashboard (something that, admittedly, you do every two hours when your book is overdue), and find out the book’s been blocked.

So now I’ve sent a mail asking Amazon for explanations. Based on what I’ve been told by friends that have been there already, I’ll probably get an automated response along the lines “your content violated our guidelines”, with a copy of the guidelines. As a friend said…

“They basically tell you to ask yourself a question and give yourself an answer.”

Now here I am, waiting, but in the meanwhile: if you are one of the hardy souls that got my ebook through Gumroad, and if you have been through it already, would you please let me know if you found something that justifies the block?
Thank you.

Also, if you want to check out the Book Amazon Doesn’t Want You To Read, please go to this link. You’ll get a 1 Euro discount on the cover price.


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Digging ditches

I’m writing a 30.000 words story that will not be published under my name. Work for hire, paid in three months time (If they’ll pay me at all). I’m 10.000 words short and today I just scrapped 3500 words because, let’s be honest, they sucked. I’ve a three days deadline. I can do it.

It’s being a fun ride. The story is not my usual genre, so there is a component of challenge, but also the reason why I am ditching so many pages: sometimes the ideas are right, and cool, but the tone is off. It’s like playing a different instrument from the one you usually play, like driving somebody else’s car.

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Learning more stuff

Here we go again: end of the year, new lists of MOOCs and online courses get published. So much to learn, so much knowledge availabe. And I realize that, as a product of the 1970s/1980s Italian school system, what I learned, deeply and inescapably, in school, is how to l earn. I like learning stuff.

And so I went through the list of December MOOCs you can find on the OpenCulture website, and after spending half an hour checking the links and weighing the offer, I enrolled in two new courses.

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The oompa loompas are on strike

The KDP version of the latest BUSCAFUSCO ebook is taking forever to filter through the Amazon validation system. Is something wrong?
Is the fact that in this adventure Buscafusco tackles the Chinese Triads and the Italian Copyright regulation authority part of the problem?
Is the reference to the dark web and gambling?
Are there nipples or other banned elements hidden somewhere in the book, of which I am unaware of?

The mystery remains. It’s good to see that after these many years, Amazon keeps screwing up my accurately plotted launches.
If you really need a fix of BUSCAFUSCO and you can’t wait for the oompa loompas to drag their backsides to work and do their job, you can of course go to Gumroad, following the links you find HERE.

Thank you for your patience.