So the hot topic around the web the last few days has been e-piracy. That’s a term that breaks every author’s heart. I thought about how I wanted to approach this post for a while. I took it to the web and had some amazing responses from authors and reviewers. The one thing that stood out to me was the complete sadness in everyone’s response.
There’s been a big group, and I won’t name drop, that has publicly come out on FB and the web that is stealing eBooks and offering them up for free as a “Cultural right.” Well, I’m here to say that unfortunately books are not a “cultural right” unless you are in a library. And…even libraries buy the copies that are put on their shelf.
I’d like to believe that the people that go to these sites are not doing so with the intent to steal. Maybe they don’t realize that it’s wrong. Maybe they really can’t afford the $.99-9.99 price range for a copy. Here’s the irony of it all. Most authors are looking for readers and reviewers very early on when their book releases. Especially e-authors. Sometimes it only takes a, “Hey, I’d really enjoy reviewing your book. I post to Amazon and B&N and would really like to read your work.”
Does that mean that every author wants to hear from hundreds begging for free books? No. But it’s a much better way to ask for a free copy than to take it from someone that is breaking the law—therefore, making the reader break the law, too. Not knowing that it’s wrong doesn’t pardon the crime. Ask any judge.
I’m here today to let you know how it feels from our side. Every day, I check my Google alerts for my titles and my name. It’s not because I want to see how popular I am, well…not really. ☺ It’s to find out if my books are being handled properly on the web. I get an alert if a site is pirating my book. When this happens, I have to draft up a letter, track down an email address—when I can—and threaten with legal action to get the site to take down my book. Then, because I’m a good friend, I send out emails to as many as I can, letting them know about the site and to check it for their books. This takes time I don’t have. I’d rather be writing. Okay, that’s the actions I have to take. Now here are the mental repercussions: anger, sadness, despair, anger, helplessness, depression, anger, etc…
Does that sound like the emotions needed to write a steamy romance? It can mess up an author’s whole day, and sometimes even longer. Think of it like your house being broken into and whatever craft that is near and dear to your heart is taken. Maybe you sew or you scrapbook, and all the hours you spent working on those things has been taken from you for someone’s deemed “cultural right.” How would that make you feel? Would you be ready to jump back on the horse and start crafting right away?
I asked some authors and readers for their take on this horrible crime, and here is what they had to say:
“I used to worry when I first came out. I felt heartbroken when my first release was pirated. I wasted a lot of time searching for sites to make sure I wasn’t on them. Two years under my belt now, I only send DCMA notices if Google Alert flags me or an author dings and says to check. I realized some people are thieves and will download and not even read it. My new view is to keep writing for those who are dedicated readers who have bought me and will hopefully continue to.” ~~Mahalia Levey http://www.mahalialevey.com/
“I think it’s horrible. If authors are not making money they are not going to write due to lack/loss of income.” ~~Vanessa from TheJeepDiva Review Site http://www.thejeepdiva.com/
It’s interesting to see what worries different sides of the fence, but for those that truly love reading and really love their favorite authors, I hope they understand what an impact epiracy has on authors. Most of us are not getting “rich” off our stories. We’re still working a day job and writing into the wee hours of the morning. Please don’t steal these labors of our heart. They aren’t culture. They are entertainment, and yes, you have to pay for them. The only way to stop these sites is to stop using them. I hope you’ll help in our stand against pirating.
For authors, I found a great blog post on how to act against an epirate and here’s the link:
I’d love to discuss your take on this subject. If you are for or against, but let’s keep it civil please. If you’ve been a victim of piracy, please let us know and let me know how it affected your writing/reading/etc. Thanks for having me on and letting me discuss.
About the Author:
Rachel Firasek grew up in the south and despite the gentle pace, she harassed life at full steam. Her curiosity about mythology, human nature, and the chemical imbalance we call love led her to writing. Her stories began with macabre war poems and shifted to enchanted fairytales, before she settled on a blending of the two.
Today you’ll find her tucked on a small parcel of land, surrounded by bleating sheep and barking dogs, with her husband and children. She entertains them all with her wacky sense of humor or animated reenactments of bad 80’s dance moves.
She’s intrigued by anything unexplained and seeks the answers to this crazy thing we call life. You can find her where the heart twists the soul and lights the shadows… or at www.rachelfirasek.com