Over the course of this past week I've watched several posts float around Twitter regarding the illegal uploading and subsequent file-sharing of copyrighted books, and even some blogger's book reviews. Who does that? I mean, really?
Let me just start this off by saying Twitter is a wonderful tool. I find information there faster than I do anywhere else. Woohoo! While scrolling through my Twitter feed yesterday I came across a link to the following blog: I Steal Books From Hard Working Authors Click on the link! Please!
The gal who set up this page is fabulous and should be applauded. That said, I think it's a crying shame she has to spend her precious time hunting down the callous thieves who think it's okay to upload ebooks illegally. Her free time should be spent doing other things: writing, relaxing, reading, spending time with her family. Instead, she's become a champion for the rest of us who are drowning in a sea of piracy.
I'm a relatively new author. I've published three books and a short story with two different publishers. I feel blessed my publishers took a chance on me, and will be forever grateful to them for making my lifelong dream a reality. Writing is my passion, it's the one "special" thing I do for myself. While money has never been a driving factor for me in this business (I'm a small fish in a big pond, and I realize it will take a while for me to see $$) that doesn't mean I don't depend on the checks I receive. When money is tight and I don't see my husband for more than 20 minutes a day because he has to work overtime to pay the bills, I find myself getting more than a little angry when my inbox is flooded with Google alerts linking me to file-sharing sites where my books are being illegally downloaded.
Let me be frank here: When you download one of my books illegally, you are stealing from me. More importantly, you are stealing from my children. My royalty checks pay for my children's cheer expenses, school clothing and supplies and sometimes food. Those things are essential, they're necessities they can't do without.
The mindset of "oh, it's okay if I download this book. One missed sale isn't going to hurt her" just plain sucks. It's true, one missed sale isn't going to break the bank. But a thousand missed sales will. That's a big ol' dent in my pocket right there.
What stinks even more is that my debut novel, Eve Of Samhain is on sale right now. You can find it at my publisher's website, Amazon and a slew of other third party retailers for .99. Ninety-nine cents!!!! I can understand not wanting to pay regular price for a book if money is tight. I've had to hold of buying many a book because cash flow was tight. However, when that book that I want goes on sale for .99 I jump all over it.
Scrounge up your change. Ask a friend to purchase the book for you if you want it that badly. Heck, go ask your library to purchase the book for their collection if they haven't already. I don't think there's an author out there who wouldn't love to have a reader request their book at their local library.
My time, like yours, is precious. I'm a busy mom. I don't have the luxury of staying home all day to write. I have to sneak my writing in here and there throughout the day. Some days I'm not able to write at all. When I do write, I put all of myself onto the page. I work hard. I agonize over every word. I write, and revise, and edit for months. And then, if I'm lucky enough to have my work picked up by a publisher, I start the process of editing all over again.
When people steal my books, when they upload/download illegally from file-sharing sites, to me, it's akin to spitting in my face. It tells me the person who is stealing my book has no respect for me, or the hours of hard work I expended creating the story they're pilfering.
It boils down to this: I'm a person. I have feelings. When you steal from me, I feel it, and it hurts.