Pirating is a majorly occurring (and accepted) act nowadays. It has gotten to the point that half the time, you might not even be sure if you are watching a "legal" copy or pirated copy of a film. And I will admit: I never saw the problem with it before. (Aside from the fact that it is in fact illegal...)
Then I self-published my first book.
And found pirated copies of it.
I had never imagined people would pirate digital books. That might have been naive, but it is true. While movies never offended me (they have already made back all their money plus some in theatres, right?) the idea of people "stealing" books and giving them away for free just blew my mind.
And made me angry. Like, Hulk angry. Smashing and all.
Which is why I am finally giving in and rambling away in this blog post. I know I have already written a small post on this topic before, but it is obviously still on my mind. So here we go.
You might be of the same mindset I was in about pirated movies. They have already made (and most likely still are making) their money. Why can't we as the public enjoy the art now, for free? It is art, dang it! Down with commercialism! Trust me, my mindset hasn't been far from yours.
But when it comes to books, especially independently published books, I cannot agree.
Now, bear with me. This is my point of view, as an Indie Author.
- My book has not been given a budget of some x-million dollars before it was ever created. It was not funded at all. It was created in my home, a midst raising my children, cleaning, cooking, living a normal day to day life. It was created in the dark, with only my eyes seeing it for the majority of the time. And there was always that chance that after creation it would be tucked away and denied its existence, meaning all those hours I spent on it were for nothing.
- I was not given an advance. Now, being as I only know as much about the traditional market as I have researched or been told by other authors, I can't dive too much into this. But I do know that sometimes (most of the time?) an author can be given an advance once their book is picked up for publication. Yet even that is no where near what you might assume it is. And as an Indie: We get nothing.
- I make only a portion of my sales. Believe it or not, I am not raking in the moolah. I am still getting started, and might not see a significant income for years, if ever. I chose to set my ebook at a low price because yes, I believe everyone should have the chance to read it. It is art after all. But that means I get an even smaller income from each book sale. And on months when sales dip low, I make pretty much nothing.
- If I want any sort of publicity, ads, graphics, editing, etc...I have to either do it myself or pay someone else to do it. Which means more money out of my hand. And where is that money coming from? Book sales. If they are happening.
All those movies you have seen about authors, who are slightly insane, bent over their keyboards, barely scraping by on bills and rocking empty food cupboards and seldom shaving, honestly are not too far from the truth. We writers are a strange breed. We allow ourselves to wallow in disrepair, all for the sake of this world in our head that we cannot ignore.
We need your support.
Not your piracy.
I am all for sharing copies you have paid for. Books should be shared. Amongst friends. Not ripped off and posted on illegal sites for all to be had. Share your paperbacks. Your hard covers. Your lendable ecopies. Find the giveaways, the times authors set their book to free for a limited time.
It might seem like a small thing, downloading a pirated book for free from some random site. But that is one less book sale this author might be needing badly just to get paid at all that month. That is one less paid support telling the author "I believe in you." And honestly, that is one more slap in the face of someone who has chosen to do this insane art.
So take up the challenge and promise your authors today:
I will not pirate books.
We thank you, from the bottom of our creative hearts.