Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm Frustrated and Angry!!!


Yesterday, Google Alerts identified a source for one of my books. On the Lam is listed on a site that steals an author’s work and offers it for free. Two hours later, another one of these torrent sites popped up with my book listed. And this morning, I got a third notification. Three different torrent sites are offering one of my books for free. Or maybe it’s the same people moving around so the authorities don’t catch them. When I clicked on the second torrent site, my virus program went crazy, so apparently they’re offering a bonus with the book download. A virus. This is NOT the safest place to go shopping for free reading material.

I offered one of my books for free for nearly a month and over 60,000 people downloaded it without paying me a penny. But I sold over 8,000 copies of my other six indie books in August. I’m absolutely thrilled with these numbers, but I’m sickened by people stealing the hard work of authors like this. I priced my books low on purpose, so most people can afford to buy them. And if you really want to read my books and can’t afford to buy them, send me an email. I’ll give you a free book.

Writers don’t just sit down at the computer while the words pour out through our fingers. It may look that way to people who don’t write, but it seldom happens that way. Sometimes it’s a struggle to come up with the right characters and then those characters take us in a different direction than we intended the story to go. Then we spend many hours editing and polishing the books. It’s not a quick and easy process. It’s creative, frustrating, satisfying, and sometimes exhausting, but never quick and easy. I go through my books at least twenty times before I’m satisfied they’re the best they can be. So why do the people who run these torrent sites think they have the right to steal my work? I wouldn’t dream of stealing from them.

Publishing is another time-consuming and sometimes expensive task. Either we go through an established publisher, through months of submitting, getting rejected, and submitting again. Or we publish the books ourselves. That means formatting the books, designing covers, professional editing. Most of us have to hire people to do all or part of these tasks. Then we pray we’ll actually earn back our investment. It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the books don’t sell. But that doesn’t mean someone else should take our books and give them away on their torrent sites.

I can’t stop these sites from stealing my books. I just wish they’d close up shop and go do something productive. Like write a book.















32 comments:

  1. I've found my books on freebie sites too and have no idea what to do about it. Write for my own entertainment? Very frustrating indeed.

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  2. AACK! How frustrating and maddening. What I hate about it also is, don't you wish you could confront these people in person? Writing a scathing letter wouldn't even be enough for me. I'd want to physically see them and tell them what I thought about them. Sorry this happened to you, Sue.
    Patti

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  3. Sue, you can spend your whole day writing and sending cease and desist letters if a site even has an easy way to do so. Most don't. But books don't get written that way. Just like Napster got regulated I'm hoping eventually that book thief sites will go the same way.

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  4. Beth, I think it's easier when you have a publisher behind you, but these are books I've published myself.

    Clover, thanks so much.

    Patti, I think it's easier for them to steal when they don't see the person they're stealing from. You'd think with their Internet skills, they could find another way to earn a living without hurting other people.

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  5. Oh man, I'm so sorry, Sue. That sucks!!! It's something all writers have to worry about. :(

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  6. Thanks, Misty. Yes, it is something we all have to worry about. As if we didn't have enough on our minds already!

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  7. So sorry to hear this. We work long hours developing books and stories and most of us make very little money in the end. Although we need to write, not many of us can afford to keep doing this if our work is given away.

    And these pirate sites will also put publishers out of business. Then where will all the new books and stories come from?

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  8. Most people wouldn't have any idea how much work goes into writing a book. Stealing books is like using someone else's credit card, or taking money from someone's bank account.

    Maybe if these sites offer a virus with each download, readers will stop downloading books from them.

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  9. That stinks! I wasn't even aware someone could do this again and again and not get caught. Where are author's rights? But after I simmer down, I must congratulate you, Sue, on selling those 8,000 books. That is a wonderful achievement. Sandy/Alison Chambers

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  10. Aw, Sue. This just sucks. It makes me so angry when a writer's hard work is stolen.

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  11. Sue, this is just terrible. It sure is scary to think it could happen to any of us (after I get mine up.) I hope they get caught and worse! BUT, congratulations on your books and the number of downloads! I'm about to be another one to buy your book.

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  12. I'm so sorry that happened to you. One of these days maybe they'll figure out how to stop those people. Until then, here's hoping karma gets them.

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  13. Oh my goodness, I never even thought about this happening. But it makes sense that this is a possibility espescially when you compare to Napster and such. I'm so sorry for your troubles, but I am grateful that you have shared your experience with the rest of us. Do you think this is because you offered the book free or do you think someone paid/downloaded and then posted it free? Horrible either way...keep your chin up!

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  14. You could put a link to this post in your books.;) Maybe some of the thieves would grow a conscience if they knew how hard we writers work to bring them a good story. J.A. Konrath contends this type of thievery is part of the territory and that we shouldn't let it bother us. But maybe in a year or two, when RWA starts recognizing indie authors, we'll have enough clout to do something about it.

    Congrats on those 8,000 books.
    Linsey Someone Else’s Daughter

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  15. Sue, I'm with you about people who don't respect others' property. I'm also sure I'll keep purchasing your work they represent wonderful value and I need to feel clean. Please don't stop writing on account of people who don't care. They don't care but we do. When I'm in charge of the world I'll make the changes we need. Hopefully those who are in charge at the moment may as well. ---- Erin

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  16. Sue, well-said. I share your frustration. I've gotten torrent notices about my indie book too. I don't think readers realize they're stealing. They see it as something for nothing. Sadly, I don't think we can do anything about these pirate sites. Close one down and another opens.

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  17. Let's all elect Erin President of the World!!!

    Thanks you all for your congrats on the sales and your comments on the pirate sites. If these people have one of my books, I'm sure they have a bunch of others, too. It's so unfair, but it's life in the publishing world.

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  18. Cara, I don't think they're only stealing indie books.

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  19. Well, crap! Oh Sue, this just stinks like a great big ol' pile of...well, CRAP! I'm so sorry, and you're absolutely right. People who do this are just horrible. Making a living off of other people's efforts -- they should find something useful to do, contribute in their own darn way. Here's hoping blogs like this get more press, so people become aware of the unfair treatment doled out by these pirate sites!

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  20. AJ, everyone with a book for sale, whether it be with a publisher or an indie book they put up themselves, should do a Google Alert, so they'll be notified of these things. Now, if we could only figure out a way to wipe out these sites for good.

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  21. Well said, Sue. For the record, I BOUGHT your book Mitchell Money and am thoroughly enjoying it. Unfortunately none of the pirate sites have a clue about how much time and effort goes into writing a book. The only bright spot in your story is that your computer noticed a virus heavy environment at the Torrent site. May all the folks who think it's okay to get someone else's hard work for free get a good, strong infection!
    Hugs, Sue,
    Lynne - who has been known to be vindictive.

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  22. That's awful Sue! I've heard you can request these sites remove your book from their list, but they can just get it back, or another. So sorry! I appreciate you putting the word out here for all to see. That's the only way to hopefully slow these sites down. By letting readers (those who visit these sites for the purpose of aiding the thieves) know how hurtful this pirating is to us- the hard working writers of their illegal pleasure.

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  23. Lynne, I'm so glad you like The Mitchell Money. I love the characters in that book, especially Gary, who is the most unlikely hero you'll ever meet. I have two sequels to that book on Amazon and BN - Ginger's Grief and Maggie's Man.

    Calisa, I wish all we had to do was ask them to remove our books from their list, but I don't think it's that easy. Only one of these sites had a place to comment, and I politely asked them to remove my book from their list. No response, but then I didn't expect one.

    If you want to know if one of your books is being offered by one of these torrent sites, go to Google Alerts and type in your name or your book's name. Or both. They'll notify you by email when those names pop up.

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  24. I can understand how very upsetting this must be, Sue. My guess is, all of us w/pubbed books are prey to this kind of thievery and most of us are probably victims already. No clue how to control it other than to make people aware that it exists.

    The sorry part is, someone who has the kind of mind that doesn't care about what's right in the first place won't respond to doing what's morally (and legally) right.

    Chances are, more people will do the right thing than the wrong. Good luck.

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  25. You're right. Most people would do the right thing and BUY the books instead of downloading them from these sites. Looking at the numbers on Amazon, I see all my books are still selling well, so they're not doing too much damage.

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  26. How awful, Sue! I have so little experience with being an author that I didn't even realize this happens frequently.

    I'm sorry to hear that someone has stolen from you. Our stories mean so much more to us than mere words on paper, and they mean more than just dollar amounts. While I can't exactly say I know how it feels to have this happen, I can imagine it's like someone is trying to take over part of your life, to manipulate it for their own devious purpose. Absolutely makes my stomach curl up in a tight fist.

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  27. Totally lousy, Sue. I really feel for you.

    One point: I don't think you need to talk about how much work you put into your writing in order to justify your feelings. You own it, they stole it, that's wrong. End of story. It wouldn't be "less wrong" if you wrote at a rate of 10K words/day of final draft or if you had $20 million in the bank.

    Do these people realize they're stealing? Yes, I really believe they do. I've had several conversations with people who steal music online. (Something I certainly hope no one commenting here has ever done.) There's always a justification/rationalization of some kind. The rationalization proves they know what they've done is wrong, but they're simply untroubled by the whole thing. Here are some of the typical justifications: (1) everyone's doing it, how can it be wrong? (2) I listen to so much music I couldn't possibly afford to buy it all, (3) There's no physical product--like a CD--involved, so the artist isn't really losing money, (4) I actually had this on CD but I lost the CD in a move so I'm just replacing something I already had, (5) I'm actually helping the artist because I download all kinds of stuff I wouldn't actually buy, then if I find something I _really_ like I might buy a box set or something because MP3 quality isn't that good anyway, so it's really just a free sample situation.

    In short, they're the same kinds of justifications people use whenever they want to excuse a wrong act.

    I do think we're moving in the direction of people viewing book theft as okay, as long as it doesn't include the theft of the ereader on which the book is viewed.

    Hell in a handbasket. Call me "judgmental old lady" if you will. :)

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  28. So sorry about this, Sue!!! And I'm like you, I would give my book away to someone who didn't have the money to buy it if they wrote to me...but stealing is different!

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  29. Thanks everyone for reading the blog. Everytime we put something on the Internet, we're in danger of having it stolen. That goes for books and audio. But I've also gained many wonderful readers for my books, and for that, I'm truly grateful.

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  30. I put these people in the same category as horse thieves in the Old West--I hold them in as much regard. Sorry if that sounds a bit extreme, but I love my books the way I love my horses. It's never wise to cross me on those two issues.

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