Pirate skull and bootyBeing an Indie Author is an odd thing.

So far, most of the work on my books has been done in-house. My wife and I designed the covers, I did all the formatting for the eBooks and print versions, and the editing/beta reading was kept to a few close, and trusted, individuals. When the books released, they flew off into the ether and the only way I knew anyone was reading was by sales and comments left on websites.

It’s a very solitary production.

I never see lines of fans, nor do I have thousands of ratings and/or comments. When I walk into a bookstore, none of the staff are excited. Heck, I hardly have over a thousand followers on Twitter.

So to have Google alerts send me an email directing me to a website where someone requested pirated copies of my books, and then see said link, is odd. Someone wants to obtain my books illegally? Why?

My initial reactions is to freak out-a mix of anger, sadness, and disbelief-and mourn all the lost sales.

Then I take a deep breath, and think about the times I’ve seen Neil Gaiman talk about piracy. He basically equates it to book lending.

As we avid readers know, book lending, either from friends, or from libraries, has been an integral part of author discovery for ages. I think, Perhaps this link will lead more fans to my other work.

Then a pissy inner voice screams “But the friggin book is only $2.99!”

Which is true. My books cost less than a specialty espresso drink at Starbucks. I remind the voice you can buy songs for $1.00, and those get pirated all the time. Price doesn’t seem to be a factor.

That same voice grumbles, “It’s easy for Neil Gaiman not to care, he gets a fat advance and always ends up on the NY Times Bestseller list.”

Yes, that’s true too. The only money I make is from copies sold.

I ask the voice, “What would you have us do?”

“Email the website. Threaten lawyers,” it responds.

“But we don’t have a team of corporate lawyers.”

“They don’t know that,” it sneers.

I stroke its back, taking time to massage the shoulders.

“Here,” I say, “have a cookie.”

“Mmmmm…Cookie…”

From where I stand, I have three options

  1. I could contact the website and request they remove the link.
  2. I could ignore the link and act like it never happened (not likely, as I’m writing a blog post about it).
  3. Or, I could accept that it’s out there and trust the reading community to make their own decisions.

My novels have never had DRM (Digital Rights Management). I did this because I’d heard of readers having a hard time reading a legally purchased novel on multiple devices. But I also did it so friends could share the books and maybe find me some new fans in the process. Based on that intent, which has existed since my first book was published, option three best represents who I am.

In fact, here’s the link to the pirated version of Harbinger.

I’ve downloaded the file myself. It’s complete, but it’s not the most recent format. Still, the story is all the same. According to the website, it’s been downloaded ninety-nine times.

Just to avoid lawsuits, I’d like to point out I can’t guarantee how long the link lasts, or the safety of it. It’s strictly a Use at Your Own Risk kind of situation.

All I would ask (well, hope, really) is if you decide to download Harbinger, and enjoy it, that you be kind and purchase Suture. As I said earlier, the only money I make is from copies sold, no one has paid me an advance.

So there you go.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go medicate that pissy voice of mine. He’s going to blow a gasket when he finds out I posted that link while he was eating his cookie.

All the best,

JR

  1. Salvora says:

    DRM is not an issue for most of the people as it is very easy to remove. I just remove them completely as soon as i buy a book.

    Also, the reason people don’t want to pay for books no matter how cheap is because they still don’t know whether it’s worth their money. So, what they do is , they look for a pirated copy of it online and download it. Then read it. Then if they find they like it. They buy it just to support to author.

    Well, I think i am speaking for the majority of people because I do it exactly like that. I found your books quite enjoyable Mr. Stone. Even though I read them in pirated format, I also bought them online and will definitely buy the next book not bothering to search for a pirated copy.

    • admin says:

      Thank you very much. Ideally that’s the way things should happen. You’re comment here is proof that pirating doesn’t always mean a negative impact on sales. I’m glad you enjoyed the books and will be joining me for book three :)

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