How piracy also affects readers…

For some odd reason, I feel the need to repost this. Originally posted 9/4/08.

Also known as…. how pirating/filesharing sites cost readers in general.

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Today I had plans to get some work done on a Hunter novella I’m planning on submitting to EC-that was my morning task.

My afternoon task won’t change-I’m working on my third book in my current Berkley contract and putting together a proposal for three more books. Deadlined type of stuff, which takes priority and can’t wait.

Plans fell apart and instead of spending a few hours working on a new ebook for EC, I spent several hours–yes, hours, not a few minutes, but half of my morning, dealing with a few sites that have my pirated work loaded onto them. I watch the sites on a regular basis. On a regular basis, I have to take time away from writing to deal with these sites.

Which means I’m taking time away from writing more ebooks. As I said, the stuff for Berkley is already contracted, under deadline, it doesn’t wait. I’m not using family time to deal with piracy, either. Being a mom is priority #1.

So where do I have to sacrifice to deal with this? By not working on an ebook. Which means…it takes longer to get one written, which means…I don’t write as many. I don’t put out as many books.

This is beyond frustrating for me. I realize it’s not exactly fair to those who don’t fileshare/pirate.

But I have little choice. I have to protect my work-there’s no question of not doing that. Not for me. If I don’t stand up for my rights as a writer, nobody will. So I have to do this.

I have to meet my deadlines, because if I don’t, I won’t have as good a chance at getting more contracts. I do need the income I get from writing ebooks still…

Or rather, I need some supplementary income-however, it’s becoming glaringly clear that I don’t have to get that supplementary income from writing. Especially when it’s becoming less and less worth it on a financial level, considering the time I put into my books.

I’m a trained professional. I’m in a career where there is high demand. Sadly, something I’m considering more and more is to stop writing ebooks altogether and pick up a part time job in nursing. Working parttime, I can still meet my deadlines for Berkley, and since nurses tend to have a lot of flexible options when it comes to shift work, I can pick up a few shifts that won’t cut into weekends too much.

However, if I decide to go that route, that means I may end up not writing any more books for ebook publication. I’m done with staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning to try and get a book done, yet get up to go into work @ six. If I go back to work part time, my writing time is going to devoted to my books that I sell to NYC.

Most of the people reading this probably understand/respect the fact that I have a right to protect my work. I have the right to benefit from those works-it is my job. But I know some people think that writers do it just to have their work read and the gratification/benefits should come regardless of how people read the work. These people are wrong.

For a writer, the gratification comes from knowing that you’re able to put your talents to use in a way that lets you provide for your family.

My writing is my income. My income is what lets me provide for my family. Knowing that I’m doing that is my gratification. Doesn’t mean I don’t love writing books that people enjoy reading. But the ultimate gratification comes from when I can give my kids more than I had as a child. It comes from knowing that I’ll be able to provide for them, care for them, give them all the little extras I wish I’d had as a child.

That’s my gratification. If I’m not able to do that, then busting my tail keeping up a steady stream of ebooks as well as my NY releases isn’t rewarding. It’s demoralizing. It’s depressing. If I don’t find the benefits in writing for multiple houses and writing my tail off, well, then I’ll stop the ebooks, get a part time job and focus more on the NY releases.

Yes, I know those get pirated, but I also know their legal departments are more capable of handling these messes, quicker and more thorough. I also know I make better money writing for NY and as I get more established, that will only improve. My stability with NY is becoming more and more solid with every passing month. My stability with my ebook pubs decreases…more and more every each month.

Whether people read my books or not, if they like reading, then they are affected by filesharing and pirating. Many authors try to be vigilant and protect their work-which means…they take time away from writing. Which means…fewer books. I’m a reader, too. I know what I want is MORE books from my faves, not fewer.

So yes, filesharing and pirating hurts readers, too.

Man, talk about a depressing way to start the day.

Added 12/15/08~ Please…don’t bother wasting your time arguing how piracy doesn’t really hurt authors and how some people go onto buy the books after they illegally download them.  You’re not the one who put hours upon hours into a book only to have people take it without paying for it.  It would be kind of like you working a 60+ work week, expecting some time and a half on your pay check but when you open that sucker up, it’s more like a 40 work week at minimum wage, instead of the $20+/hour  you were expecting-and NONE of the time and a half.  You wouldn’t like it, and guess what, neither do I.  You’re thinking…but that’s illegal, my work can’t do that.  Pirating is also illegal-even the FBI says so.

“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 unless you can sit there and tell me honestly you wouldn’t care if people were depriving you of money you rightly earned, don’t tell me I shouldn’t care, I shouldn’t worry, or that I’m being ‘a pain’.  It’s my work-I’m entitled to receive compensation for the time I put into it.

Don’t hand me some line how I should be grateful that people just want to read me.  I can’t feed my kids, provide for my family on ‘gratitude’ and I don’t write just so people will read me.  That’s a bunch of poetic nonsense.  I write because it’s my job and it’s one I’m good at.

Whatever excuses pirates use to justify (when they bother) are just more crap.

I spend hours protecting my work, hours that should be devoted to writing MORE books, but since pirates don’t care and continue to pirate, I keep having to spend those hours protecting work.

So today, yet again, instead of working on an ebook, I did several hours dealing with piracy crap and the rest of the afternoon was focused on a book that won’t be out until 2011.  Because I have to protect my work, I spend less time writing and more time dealing with the hassles, which means…fewer books.

Something tells me that my legit readers won’t like that, so to all the pirates out there who think piracy hurts nobody…guess what…you’re wrong.  You’re robbing from the readers who actually care enough to buy, and ironically, even from yourself.

Even if you don’t read my books, you’ve got fave authors and many, many, many authors also spend a great deal of time fighting piracy.  From the epubbed right on up to those on the bestseller lists.

The next time you download and finish a book and wonder, man, when’s the next one coming out…think about the fact that if the author wasn’t spending so much time on other stuff, like dealing with pirates, the book you want could have already been written.