Thursday, June 14, 2012

Piracy Boosts Sales

Piracy Boosts Sales. Uh-huh, and the cow really did jump over the moon!

I've been checking out the pirate sites and my books are all over the place! More people have downloaded than people who've actually paid for my books. How wrong is that? Now I'm wondering why I'm even bothering going through the months of writing, editing and promoting only to have my hard work stolen. Honestly, I could be using the time to make a lot more money doing other things. I don't care what justifications they give for uploading/downloading copyrighted material. It's illegal and it's preventing me from making money to buy food for my kids. Small-time authors like me aren't rolling in gold, people! We're just scraping by - and I, specifically, am toeing the poverty line (I'm not kidding here - I'm not even paying for that GRL trip, I'm being sponsored to go). Seriously, I'm disgusted.

I'm copying a "justification" to prove a few points. It's written in regards to the music industry. This is from a site called Ron Paul Revolution:

This new post about illegal downloading is the prompting of a band I like that was complaining about illegal downloads on facebook. Apparently 2 million copies of one of their albums was downloaded illegally and they are releasing a new album on tuesday. This means their band is being heard by many many people that may not have heard them otherwise. Even more, they actually said that THEY specifically do not make any money from the CD sales. So for the band, they actually get more out of illegal downloading. : /

I find it ridiculous that so many bands and people believe that illegal downloading is hurting bands and the recording industry. Companies that fail to change eventually fail. There are other companies that are cropping up that sponsor bands in a new way, and soon, the RIAA and the recording industry will fail to these new companies.

It's only a matter of time, and perhaps we won't be downloading "illegally" but instead sharing freely in order to promote bands. Many bands are already against the recording industry and for music sharing. I think I posted about illegal downloading already...but oh well. This time I have links. Also, the band I was talking about is RED.


1) The reason the artists are not making money from direct CD sales is probably because they've signed a contract and gotten pre-paid. Once they've sold enough albums and made the record company that money back, the band will start to earn royalties from CD sales. It's the same with the major book publishers and it's called "earning out an advance". So no, currently that band isn't making money, but they will in the future - or they may not ever get there because people just download their stuff instead of paying for it. Mind you, there are no advances in the m/m book industry, so every download hurts the author's pocket directly.

2) "This means their band is being heard by many many people that may not have heard them otherwise." Okay, fine, I'll agree with this. But this is for bands who then go on to sell tickets to concerts. Authors don't have that. We just have our books.

3) "Companies that fail to change eventually fail" - at what? Giving away their products? How the hell are they supposed to run a business if they do that? It's possible to buy almost every song ever produced online now, but they're still getting downloaded illegally. It's the same with books - most are out in ebook formats now, but they're still being downloaded (I heard that people used to scan paperbacks and share it that way online before ebooks). 

4) It's only a matter of time, and perhaps we won't be downloading "illegally" but instead sharing freely in order to promote bands." Come on now, that sounds sooooo...weird (tempted to say "stupid" here, but I don't know all the facts). If you're thinking along these lines, then, okay, let's just give it all away. Hello! We're trying to make a career here and you're not helping, even if you believe you are - not in the book industry. Sure, some downloaders will leave positive book reviews (and trust me, it's the least they can do after stealing, even if they didn't like the book), but that's only a fraction of a fraction of those who download. Sure, they'll talk about the author and give him/her name recognition, but that just means that more people will head over to the pirate sites to download. There will be some who are honest and buy the books, but let's face it, with the world the way it is today, most won't. 

Okay, so maybe comparing file sharing in the music industry to file sharing in the ebook industry isn't the best idea, because the two are different (not that I'm sanctioning illegal music downloading - no way). I should probably find blog posts were people are justifying ebook downloading and answer it here. Hell, I might just do that.

If you're a person who downloads copyrighted material, please consider what you're doing. You're stealing from me and my kids. I don't care if you never end up reading the book, by downloading you're sanctioning the illegal act of file-sharing copyrighted material. You also may be compromising the morals of those around you, giving the message that it's okay to take something without paying for it.

I have never downloaded an ebook that I didn't pay for. I don't download copyrighted TV material or music either, unless I've paid for it. I do use pictures for my blog that I find on the internet. I give credit to each one, a link back to the site I found them on. Is that illegal? I don't know the specifics for pictures, but at the university we were taught that as long as we cite it, it is okay. I know a link back isn't a proper citation, but it's usually impossible to know who snapped the shot since it's been posted over and over and over on various sites. Mind you, I feel even more sorry for photographers than I do authors. At least an author's work will (almost) always be linked with their name.

After a great couple of days of writing, I'm feeling very disheartened and unmotivated right now...

Okay, end of rant, but not end of subject.

I want to send out a special thanks to the honest people 
who actually pay for my books. 
My kids thank you too!

Header image: World News Inc.


  1. Erica, I think you make some really great points here - especially when people try and compare the music industry to the publishing industry! Like you said, Adele (who we recently worked with) can have her latest album downloaded illegally millions of times (she didn't) because she'll then go on tour and sell a million tickets!

    The only similarities are that it's A) Illegal. and B) depriving the 'lessen known' authors / musicians of cracking the marketplace and making money!

    Have a look at - they'll find any illegal files of your book and delete them easily and quickly, but still giving you full control of what goes, and what stays!

    Good luck,


    1. Wow, thanks for the link! I'll definitely check it out. I didn't know there was a service like that.

  2. I'm going to be contentious. I understand you're trying to make a living. This is my second job, so breaking even is enough for me. What means the most to me is people reading my work, so illegal downloads wouldn't bother me except that I can't track them. I like to have an idea of how many people have read my work, even when the number depresses me.

    I think I'd be thrilled to find massive downloading of my file. It's why I originally posted my work for free. However, I didn't get any hits that way. Maybe you have to be illegal to be interesting? What has become of our world???

    1. Hehe, yeah, you have a point. I was actually excited when I saw that A Life Without You was on a pirate site only two days after it was released, but it never really went much further than a couple of sites (that I know of). However, Absolutely Eric is the second in a series (although it can be read as a standalone) and it's all over the web. They say that when there are 100,000 downloads it's not actually 100,000 lost in sales...but if it's anything after the first book in a series it *is* lost sales, because those who will have read the first one will most likely want to read the rest. I'm not saying I've been downloaded 100,000, it's far, faaaaar from it, but I'm just saying. First book in a series is fine, if it'll get people to buy the rest, but it's lost money if they download the rest instead.

      I have a friend who regularly downloads books (even downloaded mine) and I asked him if he'd buy books by authors he really liked. He said yes, he would...unless he saw it on a pirate site first. Granted, he doesn't have much money to spend, but I think that mentality is very common. He started his own review site some while back and has already received quite a few requests, so he's on the right track ;)