#WritingWenches and Pirates

Did the title catch your eye? Were you hoping for a post about sassy maidens and swashbuckling men with scarves wrapped around their sexy, long hair, gold hoops in their ears; billowing shirts and tight breeches stuffed into slouching boots?Pirates-of-the-Caribbean

Well… You’ll get sassy, although I’m certainly no maiden. Wait – don’t leave! This post really is about pirates. Just not that kind. Although the pirates I’m going to talk about are not sexy, at least not to me. Maybe that’s because I’m the one who’s had something stolen, versus the one reaping the benefits.

I’m referring to piracy, to those individuals who use copyrighted material without permission. Specifically books. E-books. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, it is far too easy for someone to acquire a PDF version of a book, create a quick website (there are plenty of free options and it isn’t hard if you’re computer literate), link it to a larger website that reaches a broad fan base, and offer up an author’s published, copyrighted book. For free.book piracy

Such as mine.

This recently happened to me. Three times. Three different books. The number of downloads for each was staggering, given the number of downloads from legitimate e-book retail sites, and given the number of zeros not currently represented on my royalty payments. I’m trying to convince myself to be flattered, but I admit, I’m having a hard time of it.

Here’s the deal: we all know piracy is bad. Even those sexy anti-heroes in our books are bad. And like the sexy anti-heroes, we are hard pressed to say no to something that is free, even if it is wrong to accept it (or take it). Where’s the harm, right? It’s an e-book. It didn’t cost nothin’ to create, right?

Um … yes, yes it did. That cover you like so much? It costs money. Purchasing raw images or paying cover models costs money. Designing the final version costs money. Editing out all the mistakes in the verbiage? That costs money – sometimes a decent chunk of money, if you use a good quality editor. Formatting the entire book so it downloads properly for you? That costs money too. Marketing, spreading the word, competing with the thousands of other books out there; that all costs money.

That’s all without taking into consideration the time, the emotion, the blood, sweat, and tears the author put into writing the book in the first place. And how about those royalties she/he isn’t getting paid? That costs a lot of money. The more people pirate books, the less books an author can write. We need that royalty to sustain our supply of coffee, wine, and chocolate. If we cannot afford those essentials, then we must work outside the writing industry, which means less time to write, and less entertainment for you.

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. Okay, maybe I am. But I’m not suggesting you turn yourself in to the authorities. Especially if you read one of my books and really, truly enjoyed it. All I’m asking is, the next time, you consider purchasing that book. That author whose work you now love will thank you.

Oh, and if you want to leave a review of the ones you already have downloaded, please do. That will go a long way toward making up for the lost royalty. Really.

And maybe next, I’ll write a book about sassy wenches and sexy pirates. Because who doesn’t love …

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One comment on “#WritingWenches and Pirates

  1. Take heart — not all of those are lost sales. Many of the pirate sites are bait. They promise a free book, but what they give you is a virus when you click the download. Or they promise a free book and when you click, you see a screen that wants a credit card number “for security.”

    Finally, a lot of those sites inflate the download numbers in an attempt to try to give themselves legitimacy and a sense of trust.

    One surefire way to know if they really have your book is to check the file size. If it’s 12K, there’s no way that is an entire book. I have a Mac, so, cloaked tightly in my virus-proof software, I tend to check these things out before I report them to legal.

    The sites are wrong, immoral, illegal, nasty, and just plain annoying. Some people do get free books this way, and that’s called stealing. But a good number of consumers get their hands slapped financially for even trying to use them, and that’s called karma.

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