One of the funny things you’ll find out when you go googling yourself is that there are numerous websites out there where people can download pirate copies of your books, or sign up for an equally pirate online library. Nothing spectacular about that. As soon as you publish a book on Amazon or wherever else and it becomes available as a digital copy, that’s what’s going to happen. It’s not particularly difficult to share e-books. I suppose most people could do it. Not my mom, mind, she hasn’t even figured out yet how to deal with the old VCR that’s been living with her for twenty years now. But I digress.
Anyway, that’s not what bothers me. I do Amazon freebies all the time, so I can’t rightly say that I’m worried someone might read one of my books for free. Maybe I have a huge fanbase somewhere and I’ll never know. They could leave reviews of course. You don’t have to buy a book to leave a review.
Really, leave one. Authors sorta like that.
What does bother me a bit is the fact that most of those websites are phishing scams, and chances are, if you go there, you’ll get a virus or some other nasty piece of malware along with my book. I mean, sure, my books are all kinds of awesome, but do you really want to risk your beloved PC for them? I know I wouldn’t. I need my PC too much.
Recently, I even came across forum threads dedicated to the question where you could get my books for free. Flattering, in a way. Or not so much. I have no way to judge whether any of them were genuine, but that’s not the point. Some of the answers given involved the argument that if you illegally download a book, you rob the author, thus make it harder for them to keep on writing. That was a very sweet thing to say. Really, much appreciated. Fact is though, that most authors don’t mind giving their work away for free. We’re kinda stupid that way. I’ve been scolded for that in the past – favorite line being ‘If you don’t value your work, why should anyone else?’. Oh, I do value my work. I value it so much, I want it to be read. I want to make people laugh and cry and stay up later than they should, and I want to hear their thoughts when they’ve finished the book.
And here we come to what really bothers me. If you download a pirate copy, you totally ignore me. Not in a money kind of sense. Yes, I have kids and pets and bills to pay, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
Authors, you know, are people, too. They may be a bit odd on occasion, but you can talk to them, especially if they are in it for the fun, like I am. We can be contacted, and we don’t bite. So if you’re really that broke as to not be able to afford, why not try and message us first before you risk the health and safety of your computer equipment? We might be willing to let you have a free copy in exchange for an honest (Yes, honest. Not glowing. Honest.) review.
Because, you know. Reviews.
Authors sorta like them.
Maybe it’s a general problem of modern society, or rather modern economy. You get most things rather cheap these days (think of supermarkets or flat rates for movies, books, music, Internet on mobile devices and the like), maybe that’s why people think they can even get those things for free without giving anything in return. Or it’s rather they are afraid of leaving reviews for not so well known books (no offense!) because they fear that others might not like their opinions. See, I don’t know, I’m just speculating.
I’ve actually tried on a few of these sites to leave a comment and tell them they can have my books, especially if they’ll leave a review, but I’m not picky…but the sites won’t let me comment…because, of course, they’re scams.
I’ve yet to be able to actually download my books off of any of them.