As this is my first published book, it’s also my first experience with Internet book pirates. Within hours of my novel’s release, dozens of sites popped up offering the book for free. My initial reaction was stunned silence, followed by rage, and then stunned silence again. As a friend of mine so aptly put it, since when is $2.99 too much to ask to pay for a book?
No, I’m not a special snowflake. I understand the vast majority of my peers are battling this same issue. It comes with the territory, I am told. And despite my lawyer’s assurances that this is common practice, and that there are steps that can be taken to fight these pirates, I look at the entire process as a game of whack-a-mole. You know how productive that is, right?
Whatever the case, appealing to pirates is a lost cause. They’ve no conscience, why else would they so blatantly steal someone’s hard work and toss it out there for free? They care nothing about the weeks, months, and oftentimes years of blood, sweat, tears, and more blood that goes into creating every manuscript. There’s no appealing to these people because they simply couldn’t care less.
This is why I’m just going to speak to those whom I know care. Readers. We are a special breed. We believe no room is complete without books. We believe no life is complete without reading. We cherish and treasure the experience. Treat our books like family members. Take care of them as if they were precious jewels, and the ones we really love? Those get special shelves.
So this blog post is to book lovers like me. If you’re a book lover, then you, by extension have to be an author lover to a degree.
Now I freely admit, authors are a strange lot. We sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and scribble things down. We hear voices in our heads…constantly. And we like the voices. We like when our characters talk to us. Heck, we talk to ourselves. Stare off into space, and insist we are, in fact, writing.
We also spend hours slaving over keyboards, sometimes in tears, sometimes in pain, sometimes in joy, but whatever it is, the creation always contains a good measure (sometimes more, sometimes less) of our minds, bodies and souls.
And after slaving away for months or years on a creation, and then to actually see it published, is akin to giving birth to a jewel of great price, to us at least. And birth is a job, which is why they call it labor, but it’s a labor of love (and hate at times). Even so, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Speaking of labor, some of you paint houses for a living. Some program computers. Some drive cabs. Some work on Wall Street. Some crunch numbers. Well, writers write. This is our work. It’s how many of us make our living. Which is why those who decide to take our hard work and either sell it or give it away for free do us great harm. Financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
If you love books, and you love the people who write them, you will appreciate how much time and work goes into creating them.
I say all this to say that pirates can only stay in business if there are readers who have the same mindset as them. Not caring who they are hurting. Not considering the harm that each illegal download is doing.
I found my work on dozens of sites. One in particular, had over 100 downloads of my book. And that was just one site. Do the math. This is money that is not feeding my family. Helping to pay for doctor’s visits. Emergencies…etc. Just put yourself in our shoes. What if hundreds of people were ciphering money from your paycheck?
In short, if you’ve ever downloaded a book that you didn’t pay for, you are contributing to the problem. Remember your first love—books. Then remember the people who make it possible for you to read them.
And if you haven’t downloaded one of these books, bless you.
PS: If you are currently reading a pirated version of my book or any author’s book, please do the right thing and purchase a copy.
I want to make a call to those of you willing to help restore a little faith in humanity, please purchase her book. I have read it and have nothing but good things to say. In fact I am an unofficial member of her blog tour with my own review coming later this week. Here are the links if you want to give an author what is supposed to be a happy occasion back to her.