Thursday, February 24, 2011

Speak up, Speak out

*big pouty face*

I don't like being frustrated or upset over things, which is why I've essentially avoided a certain issue for the last year until I couldn't ignore it anymore. I mentioned this topic once before in a post, but this is going to take it up a notch, I'm afraid.

The issue is piracy -- ebook piracy, to be exact.

I am so grateful in so many ways to know that people want to read my books. You can't even imagine how glad I am of that. And it's really hard to get me upset enough to make any kind of strong public statement against anything, but I've definitely reached my limit with regards to this topic. I've had an absolute attack of email alerts about my book being illegally uploaded to sites like Minova and ShareTermPapers.com and so on and so forth with increasing levels of disturbing in the last several weeks, and my blood pressure is definitely on the rise. In the past, I've kind of overlooked the trickling reports of illegal file sharing with regards to my books, but now that it's grown to this magnitude, the issue really has my attention. And I'm not the only one being hurt by this. There were a lot of authors listed on the aforementioned sites, and certain author friends of mine are suffering from it, too.

If you borrow a paperback or ebook from the library, if you buy and lend it to a friend, it's one thing. Heck, if you let your best friend read your ebook, I won't balk at that, but uploading it to a sharing site for everyone to just help themselves to is not right. And it upsets me deeply for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, I work my behind off, I put my life, my heart and my soul into everything I write in hopes that I can produce a story that will give people some escape and inspiration. If you haven't ever written a book (let alone more than one), it's probably hard to imagine what goes into the process, but I'll just promise you that an author spends more time writing than sleeping, eating and basically anything else trying to build a livelihood doing what they feel called to do. That doesn't even include the re-writes and edits, and edits, and edits, and edits... and then the marketing and the often exhaustive work that comes post-publication. When I see ebook theft, it signifies either a disregard for or ignorance of this work, and it breaks my heart.

Secondly, I love my readers so much. Truly. Every time I get a message or email or tweet from a reader saying that these books have done something for them, it boosts my spirits completely, and I want to just kiss them to pieces. So, it feels like a betrayel to think of any reader choosing to cause me harm, whether they realize it or not, by illegally pirating my work. In some cases, I'm sure that people don't understand the gravity of what they're doing, and that's why I'm blogging about this. Which takes me to point three...

Earnings. Yep. The money issue, which I loath bringing up more than any other point. Let me just admit something: I've never inquired about my book sales. I don't want to know numbers, mainly because I can tell how I'm doing based upon many other factors, and they have all been so wonderful that I refused to focus on the monetary aspects and used reader response as a measure of success. But, even me, Little Miss Suzy Sunshine Hippy Love DeLucy, can't help but acknowledge that the sharp increase in pirated ebooks of The Light Series will seriously cut into my livelihood and make it difficult to continue writing. I'm a new author, and what I earn goes right back into my writing. I'm not yachting it up or anything. Trust me. And I can't spread the word and share these stories properly without earning back what I put in.

$4.99.

That's how much an ebook costs. Not so much, huh?

At this stage in my writing career, every single sale counts. It counts in earnings, it counts in ratings, it counts in accurate readings of how my books are faring in the market. Sigh. SO. I'm appealing to my beautiful, faithful readers and my author friends alike... please speak up when you see piracy of this nature. Report it, explain why it's wrong when ignorance is an issue. This author thanks you in advance.

Love,
Jen

8 comments:

Spring said...

how frustrating for you. I'm sorry you have to experience this.

Magic_Of_Reading said...

Well said Jen x

CarolOates said...

Great post Jen. It's not an easy subject to speak about from an author's point of view. For the most part we are expected to accept it as part of the game. Why? We wouldn't accept it if someone walked into a shop and took a copy of our book. From the author's perspective the same amount of work went in to creating both the paper copy and the electronic copy.

I have no issue with a book being passed along when someone finishes reading it. I would take issue with someone photocopying that book 100 or 1,000 times and handing it out to people. I take the same view with an electronic file.

I'm really sorry you are faced with this issue and I hope your post helps those involved understand how it makes you feel.

M said...

Aww, babe, I'm so sorry. People suck. If it helps any, I'm planning on ordering two more copies of your books for two birthdays coming up. ) *big e-hugs*

Lisa said...

Awesome post, Jen! I'm truly sorry you are having to deal with this. I know firsthand how sucky book pirates can make you feel. Every time I get a Google alert for EOS my stomach turns. It sucks the will to write right out of me.

Hope the thieves stop their insanity soon!

Jen said...

Thanks for your support, guys! And yeah, it does kind of suck some of the air out of your writing balloon, I'll admit, but I believe in the good outweighing the bad, so, karma will even things out, I'm sure.

tahlianewland.com said...

I hate this sort of stuff too, Jen, it's just so morally wrong and it's not like your books are expensive. Karma will even things out, but it might take a while. In the meantime, what can we do. How about a guilt inducing piece of writing to email to these sites?

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