Your Book. Your Business. #4
Due to recent events, I’ve changed this week’s post to be about pirating.
An aspect of the writing business which I loath is pirating. The sites never really come down. You feel torn up, violated, abused, and half the time, no one is listening anyway. “It’s a victimless crime. Why do you care. Who am I hurting? It’s not like the writers work or anything. The writer should just be glad I want to read their awful work. Books should be free.”
I have heard all of this and more, but we can’t give up the fight. It’s not just for writers either. It’s all art. Writing, painting, music, and fashion designs… All of it is sparked on creativity. Oh man, I remember when Metallica took on napster. Everyone was soo upset. “You’re just greedy. Music should be free. Everyone should have the right…” yada yada.
Well, guess what? If Metallica hadn’t done it, then the little guy would have been put out of business long time ago. Concerts don’t just pay the talent. They pay the stage hands, the venue, etc. The money concerts bring in supports the hotels, restaurants, etc. There is a ton of businesses that receive extra money because of these events. It’s not just the musicians that are affected by this. The fact that Metallica took on this role saved hundreds if not thousands of jobs all over the world. You already have access to free music…it’s called the radio!
Art, there are galleries, online galleries, etc. where it is Free to go look. But don’t copy it, don’t print it out for your wall, don’t use it yourself. Also, don’t claim you did it. In music and art, you can “copy” to practice, but don’t put out that it’s yours. In Music, it’s called a cover, and in art, it’s called a study. There are more rules and it is your job to find out those rules if you want to use them. I have a study of Chagall. I went to the extreme of signing it, “Study of Chagall” then my name and year so there is no question of my intent.
The materials needed for both art and music is astronomical. Don’t believe me? Go price equipment. Not cheap as dirt, won’t be worth the space equipment, but that needed for good art and good music. Even middle of the line isn’t cheap. Hell, dirt cheap isn’t cheap. Then there’s the electricity, the practice venue, the studios, the other stuff people don’t think about, ie printing costs, mediums, replacing brushes, website costs, seller fees, etc.
Same goes for books. There’s this thing called a library, and since you don’t have to pay to get a card… yes, it’s free. And, in this day and age, the pirating of books is happening digitally. One, if you can afford an ereader, then shell out the 5-15 bucks for a book, or don’t read it, or go to the library. Two, there are hundreds of contests going on every day on FB, Twitter, Goodreads, and even publishing sites sometimes have them where they are giving out free books. If circumstances have changed, or the ereader was a gift, then spend a little of your time going after the legitimately free stuff. Or “buy” the free books offered on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I have been poor. Homeless, not enough food, poor. I’m here to tell you there is NO excuse.
Still think this is a victimless crime? Think again. I’ve gone on many blogs trying to show how even the loss of ten dollars can affect a family. I have no thyroid, and for a while, my monthly meds were ten bucks. They’ve gone up, but yeah. I have been so poor that I had to choose between spending ten bucks on meds and buying my kids milk and cereal that would have to work for breakfast and dinner for the weekends. So, don’t give me the I’m poor excuse. It isn’t one. I didn’t go stealing your stuff, burning down your house, making you ill, or any other issue because I was poor, so don’t go stealing my books and keeping me from being able to eat under the excuse that you’re poor. By the way, it’s one of the worst excuses in the world for bad behavior. Anyway, here’s my FB post yesterday. It is highly emotional. Probably should have censored it a bit, but I’d also had my wallet and some car parts stolen over the weekend, so my tact meter was broken about the issue of thievery.
As many of you know, pirating of art, from books to paintings, to anything else, pisses me off. Well, today was supposed to be a rerelease of book that has been out of print for around 9 months. The pirate sites have them up still, so Amazon is refusing to publish. I was supposed to re-release it today. Instead, I'm wasting time fighting pirates. If I had an actual sword, might be worth the LITERAL DOLLARS AND CENTS I'M LOSING RIGHT NOW. PLEASE IF YOU'VE NEVER BELIEVED ME BEFORE, PIRATES LITERALLY COST THE AUTHOR MONEY. I DON'T CARE WHAT SOME AUTHORS SAY. IF YOU WANT A FREE BOOK, GO TO THE LIBRARY OR SIGN UP FOR THE HUNDREDS OF FREE BOOKS GIVEN AWAY EVERY DAY. OR JUST 'BUY' THE FREE ONES ON AMAZON.
My pre-release and release being put off can also affect other authors as it puts us closer together. At a time where I'm looking to grow fast and furious in all avenues of my life, the loss of money through ANOTHER FUCKING THIEF after the loss of my wallet, etc. and that headache, it makes me want to set them all up in a firing squad. BUT THEY WOULDN'T DO IT IF PEOPLE WOULDN'T DOWNLOAD THEM. SERIOUSLY. I know people who pay 6-8 bucks for a damn cup of coffee, but won't pay five for a book they can reread. Just...
If you are HONEST TO GOD POOR, and in case you're wondering, if you get your hair and nails done, that's not poor, that's whining, for example, then talk to a favorite author. I need so much marketing help etc., and would probably trade work for a copy of my books! A lot of authors are willing. ON top of the contests and giveaways and libraries carrying them, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DOWNLOADING PIRATED BOOKS OTHER THAN YOU WANT TO BE A THIEF AND/OR SUPPORT A THIEF. IT IS NOT A VICTIMLESS CRIME. My family IS DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THIS.
You want it in the vernacular? I will get paid for these sales right before school starts. So this directly plays into whether or not I will be able to buy my kids clothes, pay the fines, the tech stuff, sports stuffs, and all the other crap of having a special ed kid going to first, another going into middle school for first time and needing freaking uniforms, and one going into high school for the first time and needing god knows what else besides the normal pens and clothes. IT MATTERS.
AND NO, THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE RANT. THIS ALSO WILL PUT OF THE PRINT RELEASE OF BOTH THE MIDWIFE'S MOON AND THE ULFRIC'S MATE AS IT IS A MATTER OF TIMING. SCREW ALL PIRATES AND THEIR SUPPORTERS. YOU CHEAT MY FAMILY, MY CHILDREN AND I HAVE NO LOVE FOR YOU.
As you can see, this directly affects my bottom line in a way that’s very personal. I did what you must all be prepared to do. I sent out the DMCA notices, my publisher is assuring Amazon that she has the rights to my book, and that I am the author, yada yada. But it’s costing time and money that would be better spent being creative or resting for the next bout of creativity, or playing with my kids. That's not to say it's okay to do it to someone who's rich. The authors and publishers are still paying others (editors, managers, etc all get paid from this work) from the money made on each sell. And don't forget, the big bad boogie man Amazon takes about a 70% cut on anything under 2.99US. So, that makes it even harder for everyone to get paid. But Amazon, Barnes and Noble, they all deserve their cut for providing space (yes, even online space) for readers to buy the work, and they, of course, take it. The money you pay doesn't go straight into the authors' pockets. Hell, it doesn't even go straight into the publishers' pockets. It first goes into the third parties pockets, to then be distributed. (Why I will never be on Amazon's side when they try their BS with big pubs and make it look as if they are doing it for poor little you. They're not. They want control over it and hope to bring people to their own publishing company. Don't be fooled. You getting anything cheaper is a by product, not the end game, and would change if places like Books a Million, Barns and Noble, ARe ever went out of business. Though they are domiciled in my home state, they are not the underdog. But that is a post for another day LOL)
But, it is a cost of doing business nowadays. You have to fight them. If we authors all flooded the FBI with these sites and complaints, they’d be shut down faster. You have to not ignore it. There are programs out there that will do it for you (which I suggest if you can at all afford it. I hate the business end of writing. I want to create. So I get that lol). However you choose to deal with it, whether hiring someone, buying a program, or doing it individually, you must deal with it. I’ve sent out multiple forms. I hate it with a passion. But it must be done.
Your creativity is your money maker. You cannot let anyone destroy it. Not by piracy, not by drama, not by criticism. You must hone it, learn to make it stronger, and protect it. You can do this.
After all, it’s your book, your business.
For the readers out there. Please, if you are not paying for a book on a site when Amazon is charging, it’s likely pirated. It’s not a lucky break or a deal. They are stealing. Don’t support them, don’t use them, etc.