I have published two books to date, releasing my third in the next month or so, and my fourth is in progress. For the past seven years, I have focused on writing (when I could), publishing, and marketing my books. I have researched my recently released novel for much longer than that. I have done this while working on my regular job, “being there” for my family, volunteering in my community, and yes, getting some time to read, eat and sleep whenever I could. I am not the only one doing this, particularly in the Indie world.
So, when I began to see evidence of my recently released novel being pirated, I asked myself, “Really? Already?” Many thoughts came to mind besides the surprise of piracy happening so quickly after release. “How dare they?!” I worked years to research and write, and within minutes my work is being stolen! Then, I began to read the pirates’ comments about my book. It was clear they knew they were doing something illegal but did not care to think about the author’s loss. Their thirst for reading was worth breaking the law. Wow, this actually sounds almost “cool:” Breaking the law in order to read.
I released my books in paperback format, but I also made them available as e-books, so that I could offer them at a low cost. Heck, I gave my novel away for free on Black Friday weekend, right after release! I wanted to create readership and get reviews, which I got. Good reviews, so far. The pirates’ comments about my first novel are consistent with my Amazon reviews, for the most part. So, why do I still feel violated?
In addition to being a self-published writer who’s been pirated, I am also a lawyer. This probably aggravates the situation, or at least, it should. I am trying to think about piracy from a market perspective, sort of like I did with the “spoiler situation” I wrote about earlier in my blog. How much does piracy hurt me, really?
If you read this article, it becomes clear that piracy hurts. It hurts, not only us writers, but also editors, proofreaders, publishers, bookstores, and many others in the business.
But then there is the “Grateful Dead Perspective,” proposing that the more people that listen to your music (read your book), the better it is for your brand. Is this so? Could piracy expand an author’s market-base and eventually improve their sales?
What if the pirate copies the content, sets up a phantom e-shop and sells your book for next to nothing? What if they make it free as part of a super-duper cheap membership? What if they write new books using your name or write another version of your book? Does it hurt?
What do you think?
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