Over the weekend, I discovered that Dying Embers has been pirated. I spent a chunk of time on Saturday contacted sites to get it removed. I searched again on Sunday and found more sites where you can now download the PDF of my book for free. One place showed over 600 downloads - which is more copies than I've sold to date. If those had been paid for, I would now have $1200+ and be able to fund another book's art and editing without having to dip into our retirement funds or cut back on the grocery bill.
But let's forget that for a second. Let's say, for instance, that those people would not have purchased my book anyway. I mean, I had a free day back in March and way more people snagged a copy on that one day than bought the book in the first three months of its existence. People like free stuff. Hell, there've been times in my life when I wouldn't have read a new book if it hadn't been free. You know, times when I was scraping by, hoarding my pennies so I could afford to pay editors and artists and... Never mind.
The thing about giving a book away for free is that there's a certain level of hope that those free copies will generate buzz, and book reviews, and boosts in the rankings to help sell books. It's the reason we do it. We give, you give, it's all good.
But then you take what was a free book for one day, you upload it to a site where it's free all the time. And those readers don't even bother to give a little somethin-somethin in return. No buzz. No reviews. No boost. How is that equitable?
Now, some people get their undies in a bunch over piracy. Personally, it depresses me, but I look at it as part of doing business on the internet. You put stuff out there without lock & key, and someone somewhere will steal it. Others actually say it's good for business. They claim they see an uptick in sales after a book's been pirated. I don't have sufficient data to back up or deny that claim.
You know, folks, I ain't rich. I don't do this writing thing for my health. Sure, I want people to read my books and enjoy them. The more the better. But I deserve to get paid for the effort. Just like you wouldn't want someone coming up to you and making you work endless hours for nothing, writers don't want that either. If you're unable or unwilling to purchase books for whatever reason, at least leave a dime on the dresser by writing a review, chatting up the book to people with money, or whatever.
Don't worry. I'm not quitting. There are enough conscientious and honest readers out there who are willing to save their pennies and buy my stuff that those others are a blip. Still, that $1200 would've gone a long way to putting more books out there for the world to enjoy. No income = no new books. I can't keep funding this cycle any other way.
Sidenote: Oddly enough, Accidental Death isn't pirated as far as I can tell, but I haven't offered that one for free. As such, I probably won't offer another one of my books for free again. If you were one of those honest people who would've liked to read my books, but couldn't afford it, thank the pirates for that decision.
I mean, it's three freakin' bucks, people. If reading is important to you, find a way to buy a book rather than download it from some site where the author isn't getting paid. And FYI, as of 8/1/15, no site other than Amazon has any of my ebooks - not with my permission anyway.