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.