Recently on my author loops there’s been a lot of talk about piracy, and not the swashbuckling, peg leg kind. I’m talking about the kind in which people illegally download books for free. It’s a topic that comes up often on authors loops. Authors get rather upset when they find their books on pirate sites, and although I think it’s sort of a waste of time to worry about something you can’t do much about, I certainly understand why they’re angry.
I’ve made it no secret as to how much I’ve made on my first and so far only New York published book. I’ll tell you all again in case you’ve missed it. Since I signed my contract for Wild Heart two years ago with a New York publisher, I’ve made a little over 2,000 dollars. I’m hoping to get another check in a week or two, but I’ll be lucky if it’s 1,000. After that, I’ll be lucky to make anything more, unless I sell the book overseas. So imagine working 6 months on a book, making less than 3,000 and then you see your book being given away for free. Of course authors get upset.
As for me, I certainly don’t love the idea, but I also know that there’s not a lot I can do about my books being pirated. I’d rather focus on the positive and write. I also don’t think, at this point, that enough books are being pirated to make a huge difference. In other words, I don’t think I’m losing that much money. Most of the sales for my N.Y. books come from printed copies. But that could change in the future as it did with music and movies.
But now that I’m writing primarily Ebooks, I’m a little more nervous about pirated books. I have no printed book sales to fall back on and I have no big name publisher to fight for my rights. What money I make is totally up to me. Recently, I sent out a bunch of pdf files to reviewers for my newest book, The Mind Readers. And yes, I am a bit worried that these might be pirated. Most of these reviewers I totally trust, but many are also new to me.
And maybe you are one of those people who think its fine to get books for free and honestly, that’s okay. But here’s the thing I’ll leave you with… If an author writes a book for a New York publisher and the first book gets great reviews, people love it, you love it, but the sales aren’t great because people are getting it for free and that publisher isn’t making any money, that publisher isn’t going to recontract that author. Which means no book 2 of that series you loved.
And it’s the same with self publishing. I’ve had many people ask me if I’ll be writing a book two for my self published books, and I always say the same thing: it depends on sales. Sorry, but I’m not going to waste my time writing a second book if the first didn’t sell well. So yes, you shouldn’t pirate books because authors lose money, but it’s more than that. It’s about sales figures and recontracting. Honestly, if you share a book with your sister or mom, I don’t care at all. Most author’s don’t. It’s the people who purposefully go to pirate sites and bitterly feel that they deserve free books, who are upsetting.
Okay, that’s enough on my soapbox 🙂 I’m off to do something productive…like writing!