Piracy and Effect (See what I did there?)
I'm not going to go on some long ranting diatribe about piracy, torrent sites, cockroaches, and so on. I'm not going to call names, point fingers, post links, or mutter about statistics. You won't find stop piracy badges on my blog (because they do nothing but exclaim to the world what everyone should already know), or rants on my Facebook page about finding such and such a title on such and such a piracy site the very same damn day it released. (Oh, yeah, that's happened.)

Hell, I won't even say that every book of mine that is pirated takes food off my table, clothes off my kids' backs, or presents gone from under the tree. It is getting close to Christmas, after all.

See, I won't say those things and play that card because as of now, I don't have to depend on my royalties to make ends meet, or help my family survive. I have a full-time job--currently I'm on maternity leave for the baby, but I paid for the right to have that available too through taxes and that extra chunk for unemployment insurance the government takes from my bi-weekly paycheck. But someday ... in the near future, I would like to be able to depend on my writing as my job, as the thing I can say "Yes, my royalties this month will pay my mortgage, buy the baby's milk and diapers, put food on the table, and ensure I still have my Malibu in the driveway to get me from point A to point B."

Someday, but that's not today.

Nonetheless, it doesn't make any of what I said above any less true or honest. Because in fact, while I don't have to depend on those monthly, quarterly (from one publisher), and twice yearly (from another publisher) checks, I still do in other ways. I hope that at the end of this month, I might have the extra funds to buy my oldest son the specific bicycle he asked for this Christmas from Santa, as he's never had one before and it was the one thing he really wanted. See, it's not in the budget otherwise. I hope that at least one of my twice yearly checks this year will be enough for me to buy a new laptop, because while the one I use is still relatively new (coming on two years old soon) and works semi-okay, I'm in need of a new one ever since the cooling fan broke and the damn thing keeps overheating. Thank God for exterior cooling fan systems and my hubby's patience and electronic skills.

After all, I need to be able to keep writing those stories the pirates enjoy stealing so damned much.

I wouldn't dream of taking funds from my kids or home to buy something like that when the one I have does work okay-ish and it's not an absolute immediate need of mine, see. That doesn't mean I don't need it, it just means I have a priority list, and having the extra sum of money come in that my family doesn't depend on to get them through to the next month means I can have it and don't have to worry about losing my work every other day.

(Psst, that wouldn't ever really happen, I now have a ridiculous need to constantly back up everything on my computer to memory sticks.)

So okay, while I may not forever say goodbye to some of my work, I wouldn't actually be able to work ... see how that one works? Yeah.

In the end, I'd like to say I kept my word in not going on some long, ranting wave of verbal vomit,but maybe I kind of did. Either way, there are some simple facts for the pirates out there.

If my works keep getting pirated, will I stop writing and publishing? Hell no. I've long since come to the realization that is just a facet of this business I have to deal with. Taking time to send out repeated notices for take-downs. Being frustrated when I see people requesting my stories on pirate sites, or bragging about buying and returning after reading just because Amazon's return policy allows them to do that. These unfortunate, annoying things are all just one side of this pubbing world I handle. And I do try, but I refuse to let it overwhelm me to the point where I spend more time on pirating than I do writing.

However ... here's another fact for those wonderful pirates out there.

I'm enrolled in Kindle Select, which means my stories are exclusive to Amazon only. That's my choice, and my right to do so. Is it frustrating for those who would prefer an epub or PDF version of my books? Sure, but hey, email me. Believe it or not, I'd probably send along one of those formats just for the promise of an honest review. Really, I would.

And then it'd likely manage to find its way on some other download, torrent, crap pirating site, but I digress. I would take that risk so someone else might enjoy my stories. And I do have so many to tell yet.

But see, being exclusive to Amazon in Kindle Select means something else as well. When they find my files uploaded on sites, I may get a nice little letter stating they've removed my book from the program, taking away my higher royalty rate and easier publishing experience. Sure, I can get the book back into the program once I get it removed from the torrent site, or whatever site it's up on, but sometimes it's not that easy. Sometimes these sites demand ridiculous letters with email addresses that are "company only" or some such bullshit. I don't have one of those, so my notices and take-downs are ignored, no matter who I report them to.

Please quit pirating my work. Just stop. It's a hassle. I have enough stress. And while I'm at it, I might as well add for those pirates, learn some respect. I bet that'd help a whole heck of a lot. Unless you buy it, it does not belong to you.

Really, it's that freaking simple.

6 Responses
  1. Sue Coletta Says:

    I am so sorry this has happened to you. I can't even imagine.

  2. Hi Bethany,
    I so empathize, my books are pirated so much I sometimes wonder why I bother to write, but I have stories that beg me to write them, and so I do. I've stopped trying to fight pirates because the amount of time sending and following up on take down notices is punishing.
    We can only hope that eventually people will see the light and stop.
    Great post.

  3. It's a Crappy side of the business all writers have to deal with somehow. Thanks for taking the time to read and stop by.

  4. The time it takes away to deal with the crap is a lot I agree. Sometimes I have to take a day to do only that and it really freaking annoys me to no end. That's a day I could have put in another 5k of words into my stories instead of 5k into take down notices. Pirates don't quite understand the more you have to fight the less time I have to write. I'm not quite over it yet but I have a feeling eventually I'm just going to look the other way and continue writing without worrying about the piracy.

  5. I don't want to disappoint you but this is a losing battle as I suspect you know; and frankly, at least for non-fiction educational material, I think it should be. Your switching to Kindle sounds like it might be a good idea.

    There is going to have to be major reform in the way we finance "intellectual Property;" it is getting to the point that it costs more to suppress the spread of information than to spread it. Also publishers and copyright lawyers take a large share of the proceeds and reform should try to cut that down since the original recipients of protections for these laws was supposed to be authors not bureaucrats. Now the bureaucrats get more protection than the authors.

    For non-fiction, as I indicated there should be better financing for material that should be in the public domain.

  6. You can't disappoint me with the news. I'm already well aware. My post was sort of tongue in cheek if it wasn't obvious enough. And I haven't moved my self publishing just to Kindle recently ... All of my self published has only ever been available on Kindle. I figure the piracy is a lot like the piracy of music. The ability to do it is far too easy and assessable for people not to. Pretty simple as sad as it is.

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