"You Shoulda Met Me Before I Was Famous"

Or so Mother Bennett said when we were in the middle of that bishop thing.

Associated Content ran a piece on Propay vs. the Literary Underworld, quoting my previous blog post extensively. Unfortunately I guess Propay didn't comment, and there's already trolls! Apparently I'm just "bitter" about "being declined" and must've been rejected by Paypal too. Hee.

For the record, in case anyone cares: Propay made it very clear in all our communications that we were turned down because of our content, not because of anything having to do with our business structure or credit, and our site is protected by an SSL certificate. Now, whether Propay has the legal right to reject a customer based on legally-protected content under the First Amendment is for someone smarter than me to say - I'm betting probably they do. But being legal doesn't make it right.

That's why I stated it publicly, so my fellow entrepreneurs can choose with whom they do business. We can't always avoid doing business with companies whose practices make us scream - hello Wal-mart - because in this modern reality, you sometimes have to hold your nose and go with the lowest bidder. But I wanted people to know what's really lurking behind those "legal agreements" in the small print at the bottom of the page that no one reads when they're signing up for a financial service.

Oh, and for the record: We take Paypal. We've used Paypal since day one and have had no problems. I do not use Paypal's Virtual Terminal for credit card processing because it costs $30 a month plus 3.5 percent of our sales and 30 cents a transaction, and that's too high for the small sales volume of the Literary Underworld. I really wish it were cheaper, because it'd be the easiest way.

Signal boosts from authors Sara Harvey, who sent a letter to Propay (unknown if they responded); Angelia Sparrow, whose books are still 10 percent off all week (see what I did there?); Keith DeCandido, who isn't even with LitUnd but supports us; and Facebook support from D.A. Adams, Steven Shrewsbury, Van Allen Plexico and many more.

Along with some hilarious jokes.

As some have pointed out, we made several assumptions. We assume because it's based in Utah that it's run by Mormons; someone dug up that one of their corporate heads is a descendant of Joseph Smith - it may or may not have been a factor.

Others have pointed out that we do carry erotica, so perhaps it was "any sexual content at all" rather than "OMG teh gay" that made them reject us. I don't know, and frankly I don't particularly care. I personally think it was the GLBT content, since a Nicholas Sparks love story was not likely to ping their radar, but whether it was "gays=pornography" or "any sex at all=pornography," I find it equally stupid.

And, as Sara Harvey points out, it's someone else's morality interfering in my livelihood.

Personally, I don't know if it's a Mormon institution or if the Mormon faith (or any faith) had anything to do with our rejection. I do know that they rejected us for our content and no other stated reason, and that is what I find so offensive as a lifelong supporter of the First Amendment in my professional life as a journalist as well as my career as an author.

No, I've not heard anything from them, nor do I intend to contact them again. I do not want my money going to people who would censor me or others based on our legitimate free speech. As of this morning they refunded my fee, which is the only reason I would have to speak to them again.

And we will continue to carry quality fiction on the Literary Underworld, even if it has sex, even if it has gay characters, even if the covers might occasionally offend someone. For as long as we can stay in business, with or without credit cards, we will not censor ourselves just to get by the blue-noses. That's not why we became writers. We're writers by the credo that Stephen King told his children: Fiction is the truth inside the lie. We tell the truth.


  1. No, they have not replied to my email.

  2. Also, three part expository comment for the hard-of-thinking.


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