Readers & Piracy

A note… this isn’t directed at those who aren’t trying to find pirated copies of books. For those who support authors by buying books, new or used, by checking them out through the libraries, etc… all of these are legal channels and they support an author and it shows so much respect for their work. Thank you for that respect. It means the world.  If it wasn’t for people like you, we couldn’t do this.

For authors looking on help with piracy?  Check out muso.  It’s the best thing  I’ve ever come across as far as piracy.  They’ll help with your takedowns.

If you pirate…why don’t you read on and see what your piracy costs you? Because there are costs…

Looking for free Shiloh Walker ebooks? A J.C. Daniels torrent?

One thing to keep in mind…I’m selfpublishing the J.C. Daniels books…they are DRM free, available across the globe, I spend money up front and I’m keeping the cost low.  If you kill the series through piracy…there will be no more.  I’m not getting paid up front.  I’m paying money up front.  So if you want this series to continue, but you’re stealing from me?  Well…I’ve already been forced to end three series over piracy & low sales.  Don’t make this the fourth.

other blog posts on piracy

With the exception of this one, this one, this one or those given (legally) away in contests, you’re not going to find any free ones.

Piracy comes with costs… to the publisher, to the author, and yes, to the reader.  It costs you books. Want to know how?  Read on.

When you look for ‘free Shiloh Walker ebooks’ and end up on a torrent site or a filesharing site, the books you find aren’t really free-they cost me.  The ones you find will be illegal, unauthorized copies.  They are unauthorized and they are illegal.  They are stolen. It’s copyright infringement.

Unsure on what constitutes copyright infringement?  Here’s the bottom line.  I own the books I write.  I created them.  I contract with publishers who then pay me to release to books for readers to read.  Readers buy the one copy and they are entitled to do whatever they want…with that one copy.  But when you uploaded onto a filesharing site or a torrent site-it’s no longer one copy.  You have made copies-they are unauthorized copies.  That is illegal.  If you don’t believe me…here’s what the FBI has to say about copyrighted works:

“Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.”

So maybe now you’re thinking… “I don’t upload to filesharing sites.  I just download.  Whoever uploaded them is the one in trouble.”  Wrong.  Did you hear about the woman who was fined $1.9 million because she downloaded roughly 20 songs?

The US Copyright Office says:

“Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed.”

By placing one of my books on a filesharing site, you’re breaking the law.  You do not have my authorization, and I can’t give it because it violates my contract.  I can’t give it, because if I give my work away for free, how do I meet my responsibilities?

Now maybe you’re thinking…”well, ya know… your responsibilities aren’t my problem.”

No…they aren’t.  They are mine and I’m just fine with that.  However, when you pirate my work, whether you realize it or not, you’re contributing to a problem I’ve been dealing with, and if you enjoy my work?  It does affect you.

How?

Writing is my job.  It is how I pay for my obligations, it’s how I provide for my family…and ironically, it’s what allows me to continue to write.  Writing isn’t free.  I spent thousands every year on books, research, contests, promotional needs, and health issues that I’ve developed because of writing.  If I don’t make money writing, I won’t continue to write.

Now I don’t see me hanging up my writer’s hat any time soon.  But… I have ended a series.  The deciding factor were money and piracy.  The Mythe series is pretty much dead.  I have no plans at this point to continue it.  If you want more detail, follow the link.  But the series is pretty much over and will remain unfinished.

Did you like the Hunters? The vamp/shifter series was certainly my most popular series.  It’s now dead in the water.  It was cancelled due to low sales and it was one of my most popular series.  

The Veil series?  Ended due to low sales, and ended before I could finish it.

The publisher decided not to buy any more because of low sales.  So… there ya go, pirates!

My writing is a business and I have to treat it as such.  Could I continue to write those for my ebook publishers?  Well, yes…but there are only so many hours in the day and I’m writing for several different publishes, writing several different series and something has to give.  The series that piracy helped to kill is the one that’s going to give.  

Pirates…thank yourselves and the next time you think, but it doesn’t hurt anybody, remember why you’re not going to find any more new Hunter books.

Those who do not pirate, you have my deepest thanks and I hope you understand, but again…there are only so many hours in a day and something has to give.

Now please, don’t had me any of the excuses pirates just love to hand out.  If you didn’t realize it was wrong, at this point, you do.  With all due respect, I ask you, please, stop.  You’re hurting authors, which ironically means you’re also shooting yourself in the foot. 

If you have any respect at all for writers, don’t pirate.  If you do pirate, whatever respect you claim to have is empty.

Those who ‘know’ it’s wrong but don’t care…or those who hand out the excuses?  Don’t want to hear them, thanks.  I’ve heard them.

#1 Excuse- But most of us who pirate turn around and buy the book anyway.

If this was true, I would have hit the big bestseller lists, I would have paid off all of my debts and I would have already have my kids’ college funds nicely padded.  Sorry.  It’s not true.  I’ve seen the numbers-I know how many books I sell and I’ve seen how many get pirated.  Pirates can claim that line all they want, but I’ve seen the numbers.  The numbers trump those claims.

#2 Excuse- But I don’t have the money to buy it and I love to read.

I can sympathize with not having the money and loving to read.  More than you know.  I grew up dirt-poor.  I got my books by riding 15 miles roundtrip every week to the local library on a secondhand bike somebody gave me.  I checked out 10 books, loaded them into my backpack and then went back home, read them and returned them.  I had a paper route that gave me a little bit of cash so that one or twice a month, I could go buy one or two new paperbacks.  I understand not having money.  But as my responsibilities aren’t your problem, your lack of money isn’t my problem.  There are libraries.  There are free, legal reads on the web.  Baen has a number of free ebooks on their site.  Samhain has some free reads.  On a regular basis, other publishers have free legal reads.  Plenty of authors have free promo reads on their sites, like the one I listed above.  So you can find free, legal reads, if you look.

#3 Excuse-But the books are in English and I don’t read English well.  The only way I can read them is if I download one of the pirated translations.

You know what?  I can understand that, too.  But you’re still breaking the law.  You’re breaking US law and if you’re not a US citizen, you’re breaking the copyright laws of your country-just about every country has laws in place to protect copyright.  As a non-English speaker, you could possibly help bring about a change that would make the books available in your language, in your country and in a way that would benefit other readers and the author.  Find a publisher that publishes in your language.  Email them. Get your friends to do the same. Explain you’re looking for more books by certain authors. Foreign publishers often contract with English publishers to obtain foreign rights translations-this would end up getting the book legally to your country and it’s also in a way that benefits the writer and the publisher, and believe it or not, when the writer and the publisher benefit, that’s a good thing for readers, because the publishers will want to expand and they’ll likely make more books available. Plus, those translations will be professional translations.

#4 Excuse-But everybody does it.

This is the weakest, lamest excuse.  Doing something because everybody else does it?  Weak.  Doing the right thing takes character.  It takes strength.  Doing something just because all your friends do it?  That’s weak…that’s easy.

#5 Excuse-But the authors don’t really care.

Some might not.  But they don’t get to speak for all of us.  You’re taking something you have no right to.  If we hadn’t created the works, they wouldn’t exist. That gives us legal rights to those works and when you trample on them, we care-every bit as much as you would care if somebody trampled all over your legal rights.

#6 Excuse-But the authors don’t need the money.

This is yet another crock-

  • Point #1-I do need the money.  Frankly, if I didn’t need the money, I wouldn’t bust my butt to put out books as often as I do-I write a pace that has put so much stress on my hands and wrists, as I mentioned, I’m facing yet another surgery.  I maintain this pace because at this point, my career demands it and I need my career to provide for my kids.  Since you aren’t me, you can’t make the decision if I need the money or not.
  • Point #2-It doesn’t matter if the author needs the money-they are legally entitled to it.  They created the work.  They are entitled to the compensation.  But you are not legally entitled to take whatever you want.

#7 Excuse-But piracy doesn’t really hurt the authors.

You’re wrong.  You know what determines whether or not an author gets a contract renewed with the publisher?  Sales.  So every sale counts…case in point…the Hunters series was cancelled because of low sales.  So tell me how piracy doesn’t hurt authors?  (And if you’re thinking the bestsellers are pretty much guaranteed new contracts…see excuse #6.)  For newer authors and or those of us who haven’t yet made it big, every single sale is crucial.  Especially now.  Publishers are tightening their belts and authors who don’t sell enough don’t get renewed contracts.

Ironically enough, a couple of authors I’ve seen mentioned by pirates… “When is her next book coming out…” I can tell you a couple of them didn’t get their contracts renewed.  And those who pirated instead of buying?  You contributed to that.  Those who pirated the Hunter books?  You contributed to the cancellation of that series.  Pat yourselves on the back for that.

Also-sales are lost to piracy.  Plain and simple. When sales are lost, money is lost.  One thing that publishers do when money is lost?  Jack up prices.  Now I don’t know if any publisher has raised prices just because of piracy, but prices do go up.  Since money is lost to piracy, it’s entirely possible that piracy is one of the deciding factors.  So other readers are paying for your pirating.

#8 Excuse-But writers write to get read. They should just be grateful people read them.

You know what?  When you legally buy/checkout/etc my books-whether you love them or hate them-I am grateful.  My career wouldn’t be where it is if it wasn’t for those readers.  But if you’re illegally downloading my work, you didn’t contribute to my career, and I’m not in the least bit grateful to you.  I’m grateful to those who buy me in stores, those who request me in libraries.  I’m not grateful to pirates.

If you’re on the ones buying to ‘share’ them on filesharing/torrent sites-sorry, not grateful to you, either.  Maybe you bought, but you’re contributing to the problem.  Writers don’t write just to get read.  If we did that, we wouldn’t go through the hard-work of haggling contracts, dealing with edits, paying for promo, maintaining websites, maintaining a web presence, buying bookmarks, paying for research material, or writing ourselves in nerve damage that results in surgery.

We write because it is our job.

I’m a writer and I love it when people love my work, but my end reward isn’t having people love my work-my end reward is knowing that I’m able to use this talent in a way that provides for my family.   That is my reward, and when you pirate, I don’t get it, so spare me…I shouldn’t be grateful for those who pirate my work.  I’m grateful to those who have the decency and the respect to pay for my work, or request it from libraries, etc, etc.

#9 Ebooks cost less to produce, so they shouldn’t cost so much, and if they were cheaper, I’d buy.

Ebooks cost less in some ways.  Yes.  But there are still costs.  The editors have to be paid.  The writers have to be paid.  The cover artists have to paid.  The websites must be maintained.   There are formatting costs. There are costs associated with getting books to legit e-tailers like the Sony store and Amazon’s Kindle store.

Plus, the publisher has to make a profit.

If writers, editors, cover artists, publishers, don’t make money…why should they continue to do it?  Writing might be an art, but getting your work published requires a writer to think about it like a business.  If that line of thinking bothers you, then by all means, go find websites where people put their work up for free.  They can just write for the sake of art.  But if I wrote for the sake of art alone, I wouldn’t be able to provide for my family.  Sorry, they are more important than writing for the sake of ‘art’.

#10 Writers are all rich.  Readers are broke.  We’re just trying to help them out.

I’d like to know what Utopia you live in, where are all writers are rich.  Are some?  Yes.  But you know what?  They busted the butts off to get that way and they earned it.

Now, I hate to burst your bubble, but not all writers are rich.  Matter of fact, I can count on one hand how many I know (as in having met them) who could be called rich.  Most of us?  We’re just working stiffs.  Yep…working stiffs.  Most of us don’t drive new, pricy sports cars or luxury SUVS.  My car is five years old and I bought it used.  My husband?  His car is close to 10 years old, and he bought it used.  We don’t live in some designer home with thousands of square feet, we don’t go shopping for designer clothes on Rodeo Drive and we don’t take luxury vacations that cost more than some cars.  Most writers have the same bills you have, most writers have to mess with mortgages and quite a few of us have to shell out thousands a year for health care, because we’re self-employed.

We’re not rich so if you’ve got some Robin-Hood complex going, you’re deluding yourself.  More likely, you’re just using it as an excuse to do what you want and screw those you hurt.

Piracy irritates me.  It depresses me. Contrary to what some people think, sad and depressed isn’t always all that conducive to creativity.  When I’m in that state of mind, I don’t write well.  While I’m usually able to compartmentalize, I don’t always do it-suppressing it just makes it worse so from time to time, I let it out, and when I’m doing that?  I’m not writing. Which means…fewer books.

Piracy irritates me.  I know the value of hard work and I respect it.  People are not entitled to take just whatever they want, because other people end up paying for it and I have too much respect for others to take what I have no right to.  Some pirates seem to want authors to ‘respect’ them, but respect is a two way street.  You can’t expect it from us unless you’re willing to give it, and you can’t respect us when you’re trampling all over a writer’s legal rights.

Piracy irritates me.  I spent hours dealing with pirates.  Hours.  Those are hours that could be spent writing.

And I’m not the only author who does this.  Many, many authors are vigilant about this and unless they can afford to have an assistant deal with it, the author is the one doing it.  So while the author is dealing with pirates, they aren’t writing.

When writers have to set time aside from writing to deal with pirates, they aren’t writing.  When a writer doesn’t get contracts renewed because of flat sales, she doesn’t have a new book coming out.  If you pirated instead of buying, you contributed to that.

In the long run, one thing that piracy costs you? More books.

 

courtesy of Mandy M Roth


Pirating means authors can’t continue to write series/books that don’t earn out or make a profit. Say NO to pirates and pirating ebooks!-Mandy M. Roth

image courtesy of Mandy M Roth

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