Today I am going to piss a lot of authors off. So in advance, before you are angry with me, sorry that we don’t agree, but I am not sorry for what I think.
Okay, now that the apology is out of the way, let’s get down to the topic at hand. Piracy. Every day I see authors of all shapes and sizes, new and established, successful and looking for their niche, go on rampages about one or all of their books being pirated. Let’s be honest, it’s annoying—both the piracy and the complaining.
So today I am going to try to give some perspective to the issue.
- Every single entertainment art form is pirated. Movies, TV, Music, and Books. Movies with power house studios behind them and millions upon millions of dollars still end up on pirating sites. Bands like Metallica fought Napster for what seemed like years over their music being on the site.
- Every minute you spend fighting, petitioning, complaining, is a minute away from what you should be doing: WRITING YOUR NEXT BOOK. Yep. You see if you are a writer then there is a catch. You actually have to write. You don’t have time to scour the internet and send threatening letters that you actually don’t intend to follow up on (let’s face it, how many of us are really going to hire an attorney? On that note, how many of us really think that whatever number you believe in your mind you are losing in sales could even pay for one hour of an attorney's time?) to every single pirating site.
- Complaining about the site on social networks does one of two things. First, it alerts everyone to the fact they can get your book for free somewhere else. You might be thinking “No. These are my friends they would never do that,” then you are naive. Do you think any of these sites would have gotten so large if people didn’t use them? Second, it makes you negative. Your job as an author is to entertain. You want people to want to visit your page. If they go to your page and only see whining then why would they come back?
- Look at the bright side of things. You are like, “But Liz, there is no bright side to having my work stolen. I spend year writing this and pouring my heart into it and it is being stolen. Thieves! Stop, thieves!”. Oh ye of little faith, there is a bright side. You are gaining exposure. Your book, even though it is free without your consent, is in front of *gasp* readers. Isn’t that what we want? Isn’t that why we PAY for advertising so potential readers might pick up our book. Who’s to say someone might not pirate one book, read it, then buy all of your other books? I remember a while back I was reading Matt Nathanson’s blog (a singer I like). He wrote a post about how he was reading fan mail and he opened one letter and a $20 bill fell out of it. With it there was a note that said “I pirated a copy of your album, but it was so good and I listen to it so much I feel like I should pay for it.” Bam! You never know what can happen so quit worrying about things you can’t control.
Now, I have said what I wanted to say. I will end with this.
*note to readers* please don’t pirate books. Visit the library instead. They give books to you for free and at most libraries you can request any book you want to read and they will order it. So be cool, sodapop.