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Friday, May 9, 2014

The Inevitable Piracy Post: THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Three weeks ago, I logged onto Blogger, typed up an awesome announcement for upcoming Saturn books, and scheduled it to go live on May 14th. Today, I unscheduled the post.

Most of you know I've battled a long fight with piracy regarding American Girl on Saturn. You also know that the series was delayed due to this. For the most part, I've ignored the piracy, reported a few links where it gave me the option to report, and ranted on Twitter about pirates. I've politely asked many people who were promoting free download links to remove them. And like most authors, I've avoided Googling my books so I wouldn't see the insane amount of sites where my book had been uploaded for free.

But at what point do we stop turning and looking the other way? At what point do we stop and say, "Enough is enough," and do something? Last night, I searched a term on Google to see if my blog would pop up as a result. Instead, I found where a girl had taken AGOS, translated it to Spanish, and uploaded it to Wattpad. She even said in her bio that she wasn't a great writer and wanted to share stories she loved by professional authors.

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

If you want to share a book with your friends, buy them a copy. Let them borrow your copy. Give them the purchase links so they can download their own copy, legally.

I'm aware that many of my readers are young girls who 1) do not have the funds for tons of books and 2) probably don't realize the full extent of how much sharing files hurts an author. But ignorance of the law doesn't make it okay. Not knowing a speed limit doesn't give you the right to speed, correct?

I think after the insanity of Napster over a decade ago, most people realize now that this is illegal. Bootlegging movies is illegal. Downloading music without paying is illegal. THE SAME GOES FOR E-BOOKS.

For over six months, AGOS was priced at 99 cents. This is LESS THAN a dollar. Of that 99 cents, I only get 35 cents in royalties. The only reason I upped the price to $2.99 was to offset the money I was losing due to piracy. This book is well worth $2.99, so it was already a "steal" at 99 cents. There was no need to illegally download it.

So today, I did an experiment. I pulled up a few sites that listed how many times my book had been downloaded for free. Of the four sites I pulled figures from, the total was 1573 free downloads. (Keep in mind, there were about 10 other sites that didn't list the number of downloads, so those aren't accounted for in this figure.)

If this book had been bought at 2.99 legally those 1573 times, I would've made $3287.57 in royalties. That was a $3287.57 loss for me. It currently takes me $65 a week to fill up my truck. If you divide that figure by 65, it adds up to 51 weeks. That's a year, assuming I took a week of vacation. Those illegal downloads could've paid for my daily commute to my day job FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR.

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

There are so many days, as a writer, when I want to give up, to quit, to un-publish everything and deactivate my social media, and disappear forever. Today is one of those days. This is discouraging, disheartening, and doesn't even seem worth the time, emotion, money, and energy that goes into writing and publishing a book. 

Publishing isn't free for an author. Yes, you can cut costs by learning to do some of the tasks yourself, but even then, it's not free. When we publish books for readers' enjoyment, we've already suffered a loss. We publish in hopes of breaking even, at the least, but in all reality, we hope there's a profit. It may take a few hours to read a book, but as Leigh Ann Kopans recently tweeted, HUNDREDS of hours go into creating that book for you.

I'm fully aware that many people love this series so much, and I'd love to release the books for you guys at a quicker pace, but I can't because I still have a day job. However, if I were generating income from the stolen books, I'd be well on my way to living full time as an author and thus, writing more, thus making the readers happier. 

So then the question remains - what about this series? It's clearly popular. It *does* make money from those honest people who pay for my books. It paid for my transmission and soon-to-be new tires. But what about when I publish the next book? Or the other books in the series? I can't stomach the thought of losing $3200+ per book. I'd be losing basically my entire day job salary for an entire year. This literally makes me sick. (Seriously, I feel it in my throat right now. I may vomit all over my day job's desk.) So do I write these books? Do I withhold them? Do I un-publish everything and disappear? Who the fuck knows anymore!?

If we wanted to make a living out of getting screwed, we'd all be in Vegas on the street corners, not writing books. Maybe I should plan to move out west instead of the coast, eh? 

3 comments:

  1. Keep publishing! I'll keep buying my copies and giving paid gifts of them to my friends. I'll even propose a kick starter crowd funding or something to get you money up front. The books are awesome and I love them. I would hate it if those pirating soulsucking morons kill thousands of people's enjoyments.

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  2. I made 2 previous comments but don't see them so I'm not sure where they went. Some people just suck. They have to ruin things for everybody else. Just know as long as you keep writing I will continue to buy your books. I enjoy them and don't mind paying $3 for a good book. I will support your decision on whether you continue to write or not. That's a lot of money to be out of. But just so you know if you don't write anymore I might just have to use my imagination for the guys of Saturn. ;) lol I think your versions of the stories would be waaaaaay better though.

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  3. This makes me sad all across the board. I wish I had helpful ideas or better yet a solution. Obviously I love your books, I'm not even sure I could describe just how much. It's completely wrong and unfair of people to steal from you. I know you pour your soul into these books and I can't imagine having to see the total disregard people have for all your sacrifices (I was trying to avoid saying sacrifices but hell that's what it is). I want to be completely selfish and say publish away! But I see that you are always concerned with pleasing your readers, worrying that your writing the type of books they want to read, and trying to keep up with the demand. Maybe today was just a bad day, or maybe it was the straw that broke the camels back. Regardless, you need to put your needs and wants first. I'm not saying I wouldn't miss AJ or the Saturn boys because I definitely would, but I'd be able to accept it if it meant you were happier. Wether you continue publishing, take a break, or stop altogether these post show you'll always have support from us!

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