E-Book Piracy is a problem.

Browsing through tumblr, Becca shared this post from a YA author with an actual agent, A list publisher and lots of sales about how piracy affected her livelihood.

(If I just insert the link you get the entire article. Not my article, not really my place to put it on my website.)

But in short, because e-book sales of her second book in that series dropped due to a pdf being stolen from her publisher (holy shit), the publisher decided to cut in half the amount of print books they were publishing for the third book. (Ebook sales drop so the print books get punished. Makes sense. Not.) And for the third book, she and her brother put up a fake pdf of the ebook  to prove a point that the piracy of the second ebook impacted her sales negatively. It worked. People went out and bought the book because they couldn’t find a “legitimate” stolen copy. And they ran out of the print run twice for the third book.

She’s outright said on her twitter that no matter how much more popular the Raven trilogy was on social media, her Shiver Trilogy was more successful in the eyes of her publishers because it sold more copies.

Sobering. And probably the people who need to see and read this, probably won’t ever see it or care if they do. In hyperbolic fashion they’d “rather die than buy a book.” (Me, I go wtf? GIVE ME THAT PHYSICAL PAPERBACK NOW. But, I read books mostly when I’m ill anymore. Otherwise, I’m writing. Creating. Working!)

Piracy harms creators. Piracy influences financial decisions of publishers. You want more of a series. You want to support your favorite author, get more content of the type you love. Buy their books. Buy their e-books. Buy their print books. Buy their audio books. Publishers respect one thing and one thing only. Numbers. Sales. Money. Profit.

It’s a spreadsheet world. (Thanks,  Excel. /sarcasm)

Profit isn’t a dirty word. If Publishers see that the masses want more fantasy/urban fantasy/science fiction, word gets back to the agents. Agents start looking for more good fantasy/urban fantasy/science fiction and either encourage the writers they already have to change genres or bring on new authors that send them queries of that genre. Publishers and agents don’t take risks. Period. There has to be a demand before they will step out on a limb.

A lot of the responses to her post on tumblr were about going to the library and asking for the books you love if you can’t afford to buy the book. Libraries buy more copies of the book if it gets requested often enough. Libraries also now do these things call e-book borrowing/rentals. And that’s great if you have access to a library.

There is another way to get free books.

Authors also have review teams. Authors need social credibility. They want reviews on Amazon and Good Reads and in book blogs that they can point to and go “See that, I have a five star rating.” (This author needs a review team.) But of course, this requires effort on the reader’s part. They have to not only read the book but analyze and say something about it for what they feel is probably nothing. (Nope. You got an $8 to $25 dollar value “book” for free. The author just lost 2 bucks of sales. Be kind. Write a review in exchange.)

There are people out there that require up to 50 bucks from the author on top of a free copy in order to review a book. Is this remotely logical? Not really. But many authors are so desperate for social credibility that they’ll do it. Personally, if you wouldn’t normally read my book and want to review it. I’m not entirely sure I’d want you reviewing my book for cash. (Sure, you spend anywhere from three to six hours reading my book. Guess what, I put probably close to two hundred hours writing it and then another eighty getting it edited. And you want me to pay you? Hah.)

Authors also do free giveaways. Go to Instafreebie and other “Free book” websites. Sign up. Download. Read it. Talk about it. Review it! Rate. Like. Reblog. Heart. Share! Sure, no one is obligated to do anything. You know that good feeling you get when someone likes your stuff. Authors get that too. And for authors and creators that can translate into one thing, sales and motivation to create more cool things their audience loves.

Pay for the things you love. That way you get more of the things you love. Even if by “paying” you’re going to the library and borrowing a copy or joining an author’s ARC team so that in exchange for a review and a blog post or tweet, you get a free copy of the author’s book.

Fortunately, right now, I’m just a no name indie author with no last name and no one cares enough to pirate my writing. I don’t have an agent. I don’t have a publisher and the only people who get free pdf arcs are those who are book reviewers/bloggers. I honest to god don’t have anyone to impress and the reasons I keep writing to the tune of fifteen dollars in sales a year has nothing to do with the money and everything to  do with my love of my characters.

Those fifteen dollars in sales don’t even pay back the time I’ve invested in developing my books, writing and begging Becca to edit them in barter for helping her with her books.

But this month is NaNoWriMo and as much as I’d love to spend it writing my books or holiday quests for the MMO Becca and I are working on. (I keep teasing with that, I know I am a horrible tease), instead, I have to focus on working out a fashion portfolio. Because, I need a job or investors to start something that will bring me money, part of it so I can divert money into buying ads on Amazon and Facebook to promote my books. And to get a job, I need a portfolio and a resume and social credibility that I can do the work I say I can do. It’s a vicious cycle.

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