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ARCHIVES > Ebook piracy and why authors should embrace it

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Michael Cargill (MichaelCargill) | 126 comments Yo peeps

I wrote an article explaining why I uploaded my own books to some torrent sites, and also why authors should stop worrying about piracy.

http://makingconnectionsgroup.blogspo...


J.S. Egan (jsegan) I agree with this... I think! But as for doing it with my own books, I just wouldn't know where to start, and to be honest, I don't think I WANT to know either!

(Not the technical aspect of making a torrent, by where to go to actually upload it anywhere.)


Stephen Herfst (stephen_herfst) | 41 comments I think for any author looking to establish a fan base, you need to employ all means possible. That's why I'm on a good number of ARR programs, although I haven't quite moved to the stage of pirating my own book ;)


ShazzyLouLou | 5 comments I read a facebook post the other day from a relatively new author. He was mega excited that someone had gone to the trouble of uploading his first novel on a pirate site, added to that, people were actually downloading it. I guess as long as you can still make some money out of it, all press is good press and if people are downloading it, then they must want to read your stuff right? I'd be over the moon if people were downloading my books!


Michael Cargill (MichaelCargill) | 126 comments Funnily enough, I found that someone else had actually uploaded one of my books!

It was quite weird seeing it there.


message 6: by Sheri, Book Ninja (new)

Sheri | 4044 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Funnily enough, I found that someone else had actually uploaded one of my books!

It was quite weird seeing it there."


Woohoo!


Mallory Heart Reviews (Ever-Haunted_Ever-Reader) | 212 comments It's an intriguing idea-offering one's own books on torrent sites-at least that way, it's not piracy, any more than if an author gave away, say, 1000 copies for review purposes.


M.C.V. Egan (mcvegan) | 50 comments Great Post left you a comment at MAKING CONNECTIONS


Michael Cargill (MichaelCargill) | 126 comments Mallory, that's very true! It's almost a contradiction for an author to say that they self-pirated their own books...

MCV - thank you, glad you liked it.


David Cassidy (DavidCCassidy) | 14 comments Interesting post, to say the least. There are two sides to this, of course, and I appreciate both points of view. The reality is, piracy will happen regardless. There's no getting around it. It doesn't mean I embrace it or condone it. Nothing is further from the truth. I can understand getting the word out. Of course, by doing it this way, "you pays your money, you takes your chances" with things like torrent uploads. On the other hand, I fully appreciate other authors being dead against it. It's a hard pill to swallow. As a writer and photographer, I don't want to see my work (print OR image) ripped off. Who does? But it happens, and that's the state of today's digital world. In the end, both sides have "correct" view points, if there is such a thing.


Regina Shelley (ReginaS) | 13 comments This is awesome. I don't pirate my stuff...really, there's no point. Right now, I am building a fan base giving it away.

The whole thing is a big experiment for me, really. I'll keep you all posted on how that goes.

I believe you can't sell what you can't give away (or in your case, can't get someone to steal.)

The fact that you are just straight up embracing the fact that piracy happens is fascinating to me. And you're right, why not? It's the reality we are faced with. Why not use every single tool at our disposal?


L.S. Fayne (lsfayne) The post of Michael Cargill is as sick as a virus. Sounds like a desperate ploy for someone who doesn’t believe his work is worth the efforts to legitimately promote his work. Count me out. I would rather someone buy my books because they want it, than to have someone steal it because they can.


Michael Cargill (MichaelCargill) | 126 comments LS, I can assure you that there is nothing virus-like about what I wrote, and I value my own work just as highly as you do.

I'm not quite sure what you mean with the 'legitimate' remark either - if I find success with putting my work on torrent sites, how is it an illegitimate tactic?

I provided links to two studies at the bottom of the article, one of which is about how those who pirate films haven't effected the profits of the Box Office.

Another link is to the Neil Garman video, where he says that he doesn't have a problem with piracy.


Judith Post | 423 comments Great post. Left a comment, but my grandsons download free movies all the time, and then they pay to see more movies than I do. To me, it's a compliment if someone wants to see your stuff. We're always trying to promote ourselves if we're beginning writers, so to me, this is another way to get someone to look at your stuff.


message 15: by Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (last edited Sep 05, 2012 10:36AM) (new)

Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments If an author wants to do that, then it is on them. But no oe else has the right to post others work without permission.


Michael Cargill (MichaelCargill) | 126 comments I quite agree with that, Terri, but the evidence suggests that there are no financial penalties if that happens.


Judith Post | 423 comments Terri, you're such a huge supporter of writers. I love your comment. You champion creativity. But I think what this post is really about is how desperate most new writers feel, trying to find someone, anyone, who'll look at their work. Goodreads is wonderful to new writers, you make us feel cherished. But when we look at our numbers on amazon or B&N, we panic. It's really hard to get noticed in the sea--no, ocean--of other writers out there. So if someone actually WANTS to read our books, we're thrilled. Sad, but true. I don't know if that changes once you're established. Haven't gotten there yet.


Doris O'Connor (DorisOConnor) | 1 comments I haven't really participated before but I had to reply to this. My debut novel was pirated within days of its release, after it hit the top 100 on amazon. Should I have been pleased about some a hole stealing my work then? I felt sick, physically sick, in fact, and no assurance of, 'oh, you've made it, now that you're pirated,' made me feel any better about it.

I write because it' my passion, but I also write to support my family. This is my career, and I take a dim view to others stealing my work, and it is theft, no matter how you look at it.

You are deluding yourself if you think that those who will read pirated books will then go and buy them. Some may, but the vast majority of them will not.

Do I go out and hunt pirates down? No, of course not, my time is better spent writing, but If I come across them, like one site that blatantly SOLD my books for THEIR profits, you bet I will get angry. They were cheating readers out of legitimate copies and my publisher and I out of our rightful income!

Piracy is a crime: pure and simple!


Judith Post | 423 comments Okay, sorry. I was just thinking of the sites my boys go to, pretty lame ones. Haven't visited any serious pirate sites that SOLD stuff. That's just plain wrong. I was simply thinking of word of mouth, but if your book hit the top 100 within days of going on amazon, you didn't need that. Sorry you were pirated, but congratulations on hitting the top 100! Wow!


message 20: by Regina (last edited Jul 31, 2012 08:22AM) (new)

Regina Shelley (ReginaS) | 13 comments I don't like the idea of piracy, either. It's stealing. However, that's our reality, and we can't really change it. The only thing we can do is maybe figure out a way to exploit it.

Food for thought.

I mean, I throw my stuff out there for free anyways. It's not that I don't think it's worth anything, or that I'm desperate. It was just something I wanted to do for fun, and now here I am with a huge body of writing and artwork and a fan base, and so I'm looking to publish. I realize I'm approaching this in kind of a backwards fashion, but it is what it is.

It's not the only story in me. ;-) I'm protective of it, but not to the point of panic.


Justin (JustinBienvenue) | 548 comments Okay I read most of it but didn't read it all cause I got the idea of the point you were trying to make. I mean I get why you intentionally put your books outs their cause you used to do it yourself and if you know they are going to download your work illegally why not embrace it right? I get that.
My take on it is this, you mentioned Stephen King. I dont think downloading a Stephen King book for free is stealing really I mean the mans made millions of his books like it really matters if someone downloads his book you know? lol. Thats like downloading the Illiad or a book thats been around for hundreds of years it can't be considered stealing if its practically free for our taking!
I would say authors today like indie authors which i am sure is the point you were trying to make. Yes most of us would be and will be upset if we are trying to make it in this business and trying to make profit only to find out people are getting a hold of our books without our knowing(If they did this to me but left a nice review I would question it but say hey I got something out of it!). I don't think I personally have to worry because people to my knowledge haven't been buying my book anyway so if they are downloading it for free ehh I won't be mad there's a strong chance of it happening right? What you don't know wont hurt you I suppose. For the most part I agree, why not make the illegal downloaders happy too? maybe if they like the work enough itll entise them to actually buy works of the author!


message 22: by Cherie (last edited Sep 04, 2012 09:42AM) (new)

Cherie (CherieReads) | 11 comments I just want to put in my two cents here. I am not an author - just a reader and book lover. I got a Nook Color about 2 years ago and have been reading ebooks almost exclusively since then.

I have downloaded pirated books and will, in all honesty, probably do so again. Do I then upload hundreds of books for other people to download? No. Do I sometimes offer an ebook to a friend to read? Yes. Do I consider this stealing? No. Here's why:

When I or a friend purchase a hardback or paperback copy of a book we have the right to lend that book out to whoever we want as many times as we want. I cannot do the same thing with an ebook even though in most cases I am paying the same amount of money for the ebook copy. In my opinion, this is wrong! I purchased the ebook, i should be able to lend it to whomever I like.

If I download a pirated ebook it is because I am genuinely interested in that author or the book in particular. Most of the time it is a book or author that is new to me and I don't know if it's worth it to spend $10 or $20 on an unknown author. If it's an author or book I like I am then likely to recommend it to other people, maybe review it on my blog and will most likely purchase a copy of it or other works by that author. If I send that pirated ebook to a friend and they like it they are also more likely to purchase something else by that author in the future. I think the argument that most people who download pirated books will never buy books is untrue. In fact, I think in general the opposite is true. Sure, there are those who will never buy anything but that is not the majority of people I know.


message 23: by Stefani (last edited Sep 04, 2012 09:56AM) (new)

Stefani (steffiebaby140) Doris wrote: "You are deluding yourself if you think that those who will read pirated books will then go and buy them. Some may, but the vast majority of them will not. "

I haven't jumped in on this one before, but I was interested in this comment. What exactly is the proof of that? Most people I have ever talked to that pirate an ebook on occasion, spend plenty of money on ebooks by the same or other authors. Most of the time its a simple case of, I don't really know if I'm going to enjoy this or not so rather than spend $10 or $15 on the ebook, I'll get a pirated copy and see if this is something I like.

When I take a paperback book and give it to 5 of my friends to read after me, is that stealing? They aren't paying for it. If I go to the library to check out a book to see if it interests me, is that stealing because I didn't pay for that either? Until such a time that I can lend my ebooks in the same way I can a real book, I won't pay a bunch of money for books and authors I'm not sure I will like. Just like I wouldn't buy a hardcover book for $27.00 from an author I've never read, I won't do that with the ebook either. The difference is that I could get a hardcover at the library for free, but I am forced to pay for the ebook since no one can lend it to me and very few libraries have that capability or kind of selection.

Right now, the way ebooks work is encouragements to people to get pirated ebooks because otherwise they may be stuck payment $15 for something that wasn't worth it.

ETA: I also am a big fan of one particular author, Scott Sigler. He gives away ALL his content for free. All of it. He's put all of his books on itunes as serialized audiobooks from the very first one to the current ones. He's been on the bestseller list, he has at least a dozen books that sell really well. Obviously giving his work away to millions only boosted his career, I look at pirating the same way.


Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (SparklyBluEyes) | 94 comments I loved the article and have to agree with whomever said on the blog, that when someone doesn't have the money to get the book or whatever and the happen to get a pirated copy and made a review that gave it a positive rating. It gets the word out, and to think that, that one pirated book may have gotten you 10 new book buyers. Now I can understand that some of them are making a living off their books. But if you think about it a good majority have other jobs besides their writing jobs. Once I finish my book and get it published if I see it being pirated I don't think I will freak out I think I would be honored that people are actually reading my book. I have and most likely will again have pirated ebooks... but I get most of my books for free. I'm also like Cherie... I let some of my friends have some of the ones I have. Cause If I bought it I should be able to do what I want with it.... Now these pirating sites that want to charge you for others work, now those I do NOT agree with. Because that there IS stealing... not downloading a free copy of the book found on the internet.... that's just my 2 cents right there :)


Michael Cargill (MichaelCargill) | 126 comments Blimey, how did this get resurrected almost a month after it dropped off the front page...?

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read the article.


message 26: by Midu, wants to try muesli! (new)

Midu Hadi | 711 comments Mod
hey Michael! stirring up trouble again? :-p


Michael Cargill (MichaelCargill) | 126 comments Errrrrrrrr, it seems so.

And yet, I tried to be so nice this time.


message 28: by Midu, wants to try muesli! (new)

Midu Hadi | 711 comments Mod
:-D keep it up. makes things interesting


Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (SparklyBluEyes) | 94 comments it seems to be an ongoing debate. So I think it will always come back up in later days. It was a good article and it brought up a lot of valid points. Points that both sides will have their own opinion on, and will let others know how they feel about it. I think you should be proud that people are still reading it and wanting to put their input on it. And Midu is right it definitely keeps things interesting. I hate when things get dull and boring ;)


message 30: by Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (last edited Sep 05, 2012 10:43AM) (new)

Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments There are a ton of great books out there. Goodreads is a great way to get your book read. There are several groups including this one that will showcase your books for reviews. Here are some options for getting your book noticed.

1. FREE on Amazon (however you can achieve that)
2. Blog Tours - There are a ton of blog tour coordinators. MC does it for free take advance.
3. Read to Reviews. Making Connections, Shut up and Read, and Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy group all have Read to Review programs.
4. Find a group with your genre and if its okay with that group find or start a thread looking for reviewers.

I've read 180 books so far this year. Authors approach me all the time to read, beta, etc. Find people like me that like your genre and ask them to read. My other blog which is a group of bloggers does review request. passionatebookdivas.com. Check us out.

There are a lot of ways to get your book noticed. But ePiracy is not the way. If you support it now, what happens when your book makes it big. Your sales numbers aren't great because people are posting your book for free. Think about it.


Stefani (steffiebaby140) Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) wrote: "Your sales numbers aren't great because people are posting your book for free. Think about it. "

While I agree about there being a lot of avenues to getting your book noticed as a new author, I have to disagree a little with this. Several authors who gave away their work for free later went on to become bestsellers...so yes it can work. Every book is available for free at the library or borrowing from someone who already has it if you think about. There is nothing new here, and ebook piracy is going to exist no matter what...embracing it and using it to one's advantage may not be a bad idea.

My favorite author in the world I learned about because he gives away his work for free. He's now been a bestseller, has major publishing deals and still self publishes anything the trade label doesn't want. He still gives away everything for free...and I still buy it too. I am in the middle of reading my limited edition, numbered, signed, and personalized copy of his latest book that I preordered for around $40 almost a year ago. I heard about him for free, I have bought everything he's ever produced since. So yes there are some cases of people giving their work away and still selling...even increasing their popularity by getting their readers hooked using free stuff.

Another example I can think of. This author wrote a novel and made a serialized audiobook of it and put it on itunes for free. Now he's selling short stories as ebooks and about to put the novel into print and ebook form for sale as well. Clearly free is working for him too.


Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments Giving away for FREE and ePiracy are two different things. I think the first thing I posted on my list is FREE. But for other people (not the author) to post a work not there own isn't a good thing. I don't care about the free publicity. In order to get noticed by publishers, you have to have the sales numbers. They aren't interested in your free sales, but that is besides the point. If someone pirates your book, you loose though sales numbers free or otherwise.


Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (SparklyBluEyes) | 94 comments I think having at least some of your work free, shows that you are still passionate about your writing and not in it just for the money. At least to me. Cause most of the arguments I've seen is all about the money. I understand that it's a job for some and that's how they make their money. But most authors started out with just having a passion for writing. I could be wrong in that most could be seeking the fame and glory and the money.


Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments Again, I don't see a problem with authors posting their own work for free. I'm strictly talking about others pirating other authors hard work.


Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (SparklyBluEyes) | 94 comments well Like Michael he himself has posted his work for free on a torrent site. So now what's the difference there? I mean who's to say that some of these authors haven't put their work on these sites? I'm just saying.


Stefani (steffiebaby140) Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) wrote: "Giving away for FREE and ePiracy are two different things. I think the first thing I posted on my list is FREE. But for other people (not the author) to post a work not there own isn't a good thi..."

That is true, but the pirates are going to get the book anyway whether you disagree with it or not. Wouldn't it make more sense to use it to your advantage? Why not use it to hook in new readers? Readers who will be buying books from you at a later date if they like what they read in the pirated edition.

In a way, its a compliment. People want to read your work enough that they're willing to pirate it. I wish someone wanted to read my work that badly, then maybe I could quit my day job and write full time lol.


message 37: by Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (last edited Sep 05, 2012 11:07AM) (new)

Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments Again, if you want to do traditional publishing, you don't want to advocate ePiracy.

Knowing the publishing business the way I do, I can tell you advocating that won't help your cause to get published.

Now a days, they are looking for a least 15,000 paid copies of your book to get noticed. PAID COPIES. There are a lot of great indie authors who have yet to get deals. So think about. Your choice. But I won't advocate. Give your own work for free. Don't leave it in the hands of others to make choices for you.


Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments Sammie =^.^= (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe Blog) wrote: "well Like Michael he himself has posted his work for free on a torrent site. So now what's the difference there? I mean who's to say that some of these authors haven't put their work on these sites..."

And if they have, that isn't a problem. I say more power to them.


Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (SparklyBluEyes) | 94 comments I'm not advocating it, I'm just saying it shouldn't be made a big deal as it is.


Stefani (steffiebaby140) Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) wrote: "Again, if you want to do traditional publishing, you don't want to advocate ePiracy.

Knowing the publishing business the way I do, I can tell you advocating that won't help your cause to get pub..."


So let's explain cases like....Amanda Hocking. She sold her ebooks for free, so those were not paid copies. Now she has a publishing deal of $2 million for those same books. Well at least I got them for free from B&N, can't say how long they stayed that way.

Scott Sigler. Began giving away his work in the early 2000s for free. Now has a publishing deal with Crown.


EL James had her story on a fan fiction website, for free, and is now on the bestseller list for weeks at a time.

And I'm not even talking about epiracy on these cases. If all the publishers care about is PAID sales, then none of these people should have been a flash in the pan. But they are, because they had audience, they had interest, they had buzz, they had readers. And publishers know, if you have a fan base, that will equal sales just as well as paid copies does.


message 41: by Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (last edited Sep 05, 2012 11:30AM) (new)

Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments Amanda Hocking made $1M on Kindle Self Publishing before she was picked up. She didn't give all her work away nor was it ePiracy that got her the deal. It was $1M in royalies. Check the story.

I don't know Scott Sigler.

E L James had fanfic. She pulled it. Published it through a small publishing house. I read it last year before it got the Random House and Movie deal. And again that was only after she was selling big numbers of books before she was pick up by the big boys.

Anyway, it wasn't ePiracy that got those two girls noticed.


Stefani (steffiebaby140) Now, I am not saying that everyone should accept epiracy...of course not, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on it. But I honestly don't think it's as big of a death sentence as many people believe. I know I've gotten pirated ebooks if I wasn't sure I wanted to buy it yet. I also have over 600 paid ebooks and about 400 PB and HC books I've paid for sitting in my house and buy more every week. My measly 10 or 12 pirated ebooks is a drop in the bucket to what I've legitimately paid for.

Buzz is buzz no matter where it comes from.


Stefani (steffiebaby140) Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) wrote: "Amanda Hocking made $1M on Kindle Self Publishing before she was picked up. She didn't give all her work away nor was it ePiracy that got her the deal. It was $1M in royalies. Check the story.

I..."


No need to get snippy, I said I wasn't aware of when the books became paid lol. And yes I did google it, didn't mention it. When I bought them, they were free...I don't do weekly checks on it.

And I have played this game for years, so I've seen how it works. Agents won't look at you unless publishers are interested, publishers aren't interested if you don't have a fan base. I've never once had a publisher refuse to talk to me because I wasn't selling enough, it's ALWAYS about fanbase. Personal experience, and from what I've heard from others pretty accurate.


Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments The truth of it is that E L James work stands own its own. I'm a really big fan.

As far as Amanda Hockings. She posted her work piece meal on her blog for free and got followers. Then she published around 10 books in 9 months or so. She sold the first for .99 and the rest for 2.99. Because the sequels in her series were out right away, it was easy to gain attention. That's how she did it. I read one of her series, the troll one. And it was decent. The fact that the whole trilogy was available got me to read them all back to back. But it wasn't a rock star series. But it was worth the $7 in total I paid for the triology.


message 45: by Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (last edited Sep 05, 2012 11:37AM) (new)

Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (SparklyBluEyes) | 94 comments (Exactly Stefani... if you don't have readers or any kind of fanbase you're not going to go anywhere period.)

It doesn't matter whether you paid for the book, got it FREE from somewhere legitimately or it was pirated. If someone likes the book they are going to let other's know regardless of the format it was read in. Epiracy isn't the way to go NO it's not. Nor am I an advocate for it. But I'm also just on the side that tends more towards yeah it's happening, it's a shame, but there isn't much that can be done with it. It's just like the music industry they've tried for years and years to shut down epiracy in music sales and still it's going and really there's nothing that's going to stop it unless you shut down the internet. But if that happens then no one will ever get the sales they want because we are the age of technology now, we as consumers and the business as producers rely on the internet too much these days. So, it's just a matter of knowing it's happening, knowing it's wrong, but knowing not much can be done without it. Cause I don't see any author, publisher, etc. going through looking for every Pirated copy sent out. It's just too much time and wasted energy when it could be applied towards the people who are buying the books in any format, and furthering the successful of themselves.


Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments Never trying to get snippy. :-) I'm just passionate about ePiracy that all.


Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments Sammie it is a hard battle, music industry too. But if you don't try to fight it, you never have a chance to win. There are legit ways of getting work. And for an author to publically advocate it, doesn't help the rest who aren't interested in that.


Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 119 comments Don't forget that the music industry did shut down several sites that were legally prosecuted and paid big fines. Juveniles were prosecuted to. There is a $250,000 fine for pirating books. Be aware.


Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (SparklyBluEyes) | 94 comments but see they have tried to fight it, especially in the music field. I mean they've sued Napster, shut down tons of websites. And Yet it's still going on. Same with the Book Pirating sites, I've seen tons get shut down, and yet it's still going on. I'm just trying to say people should over stress on it, just focus more on the positives on everything. I just try to be optimistic on all sides.


Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (SparklyBluEyes) | 94 comments I get mine by buying usually, or getting them free from other sources like authors, kindle book for free sites, and of course like every month I scour amazon for free books that interest me lol.


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