I’m about to rant a bit so forgive me. Something came to light recently which made my temper flare and it takes a lot to do that. However, I will note something that is quite true:
What, you may ask, has caused mild mannered me to erupt like the Fountain of Doom and throw swearwords and profanities about like confetti? Pirates, that’s what. Not the ‘Arghh, me ‘earties’ kind, ‘cos I rather like them, but rather the low life, back stabbing, waste of a human skin, cowardly, pathetic individuals who think they have a right to take an author’s blood, sweat and tears and give it away for free.
Recently Ena Burnette posted something on her Facebook page about a blogger, entrusted with the pre-sales copies of various authors books, who then proceeded to load them on his/her site and give them away as free downloads. This is the gist of that conversation.
It took a while but finally the blogger became known to some, me included. I’m looking into things before naming and shaming anyone as I think it’s important to have all the facts first. Once I find out 100% I’ll have no compunction doing just that- telling everyone about this person.
Now this sort of thing has all sorts of ramifications for bloggers, readers, publishers and authors alike. None of them are very positive.
Authors rely on beta readers, pre-release readers and bloggers and reviewers to spread the word for their work, sometimes pre-release. They do this by generously providing free copies of their books in the formats needed, with the provision that they are kept under wraps and not offered out for sale or download anywhere other than where the author and publisher chooses to put them. There is no contract drawn up. There is no legal binding agreement. It’s done on trust and to build the relationships between all the parties.
Authors spend months and years creating a work that while we hope it delights and enthuses our fans, we also hope to earn money out of. I have a full time day job I need to keep because my book sales don’t make enough for me to give up work and become a full time writer. I’m one of thousands in this boat. So for me, taking my work and offering it for free when it isn’t even yours to give away, is a great sin. It’s a cardinal sin and one that I cannot condone.
What being a dishonest reader/blogger/reviewer means to the genre and the industry (my WCS- Worst Case Scenario)
- Remember the Circle Of Trust from the film with Robert de Niro and Ben Stiller – Meet The Fockers? Meet the f**kers who break it.
- Breaking that trust could mean this:
- Authors may be loath to give away copies of their books to anyone who hasn’t signed in blood and given them their first born to hold as ransom.
- Publishers may be loath to allow authors to release titles in free books because they lose too much control. Piracy is growing and becoming a universal truth. If someone can get something for free, they will. A lot of my time is spent tracking down piracy sites and getting Cease and Desist orders for them
- Those bona fide trusted readers who perform the invaluable service of reading and reviewing, ready for launch date- they will lose out because of this.
- The bona fide bloggers and review sites who rely on authors to give them free books to maintain the content on their site –as we all know Content is King– will suffer. They might have to enter into legal agreements just to read a book. Something that should be a pleasure has turned into pain.
- Suspicion will reign supreme and it could become a witch hunt, like we all know these things can become. We’ve seen enough of it lately.
- Innocent people’s reputations may suffer as they become inadvertently tarnished.
- Authors lose money !! Fact. We may love what we do and it might be a passion but it’s nice to be able to make a living out of it so we can write more books for you to enjoy.
- Publishers lose money. And they can only allow it to continue for so long, especially if it is a small press business.
- Bottom line – all the damn fun is sucked out of the pleasure writers have writing and bloggers have blogging and readers have reading.
I am therefore sending this dishonest blogger this virtual curse, in the hope it reaches them in some way, shape or form. Warning- DON’T mess with the wrong people. I’m not too worried about the Power of Three on this one. I’ll take it if it comes back and hits me in the backside. It will be worth it.
Maroul paseter, maroul presa, maroul futura, Vi porynya, catoute ley corupsa, Ven thomi, mil zaira dur morde, Ai Kaquima d’Roiz.”
May their car break down, their face erupt in warts and boils, may they lose their job, have seven years of bad luck and get haemorrhoids. Huge ones. And look like this…
And here endeth the rant. Publishers and authors really need a better way of dealing with piracy and dishonest people like this. Something more robust needs to happen to protect our intellectual property ; somewhere where we can share and be kept informed of incidents like this, as a writing community. I don’t believe enough is being done and if it is, then we don’t seem to know about it.
This is a great paragraph by an author called Melissa E. Petreshock whose book, Fire of Stars and Dragons was downloaded illegally over 25000 times. Yep. 25k. Imagine what you could have done with that money had you received it.
Know your limits. US Copyright laws, cease and desist letters, careful monitoring, and all the actions you take can only get you so far. *big fat sad face*Not all sites make it easy or even possible for the average author (or publisher) to find their source or any means to email a letter demanding they stop providing these illegal copies of your books. (Read that as “STEALING FROM YOU.”)You can (and should) tweet and Facebook, blog and Tumblr, and any other means of shouting from the internet rooftops, (I highly encourage this behavior.) letting readers know that the illegal downloading of eBooks is wrong. It hurts authors. It hurts publishers. It hurts the industry.
WE NEED TO MAKE MORE NOISE AND BE HEARD!!
This group is one I belong to and which you can join to leave links and details of the pirates.
Here are some recent article links on the subject.