I thought about not mentioning this. As an author, you’re not supposed to boast; it makes you look bad, maybe people will think you’re too good for them. I know. But sometimes the news is just so wonderful you’d be a fool to hold it in. And I mean way-good news. Above the joy of completing a big novel. Beyond getting great feedback from beta-readers and praise from reviewers (BTW, Kristen Lamb is spot-on about that). Far past winning one of those silver award-thingies shaped like a rhombus. Even better than having business cards, or book-marks, or a pingback on your latest blog post from AuthorsBeWritingGoodStuff.
Seriously, readers. This is a sign. A big-time milepost on the road to fame and sure-fire success. Up there with getting one of those golden award-thingies shaped like a star, or meta-tagging your way to number one on Amazon in Bulgaria for the Epic Fantasy Classic Races Non-Standard Genders category. Almost as good as selling copies.
I’ve been pirated. I know, squee, right?
Sure, we say it’s bad. I mean, it IS bad. Technically. Indies know how tough it is to sell, and we sometimes count the copies, check the sales a bit too often (is it 9 AM yet? Local?). And sure, somebody taking our work and putting it out there for free, or for half-price, or for AnyMoneyNotGoingToMe sure does seem like theft. I mean, it IS theft. Technically.
But I won’t lie to you. It’s also flaming cool to be pirated. And I’ll tell you what my fellow indies won’t.
I’ll tell you why.
But first, let me rave about the pirates themselves.
Why This Pirate Site is Just the Coolest Thing
The particular place which stole my tale is called E-Books Releases and the web-page of my pirated title is right here. There are so many reasons why this is a fantastic development, I’ll only focus on a few.
1) Come on, People- These are PIRATES
It’s very important to distinguish between plain old thieves, or plagiarists or copycats and Pirates, because the latter are obviously cool and romantic. I mean, everyone knows what pirates look like and how they act. They’re not grungy, or selfish, or money-grubbing scraggly bearded cowards. They come sailing in and take your hard-earned work away from you because it’s really DIFFICULT and heroic and dangerous. Think of all the personal risk involved, sitting back in a faraway country and ordering your computer to steal stuff from other places’ computers.
And through it all, pirates are always so calm and polite and dash-it-all DASHING, you know? I mean, when’s the last time you saw a pirate tell the original authors or law enforcement to F-off? It’s really a privilege to be victimized by them: I feel like Olivia DeHaviland, a little. Hard not to fall in love with the guys (or gals) who did this.
2) I’ve Been Robbed- That Means I’ve Arrived!
It’s simple. If I was a COMPLETE unknown, nobody would have bothered to pirate my work.
Having a title of mine taken by these pirates means my visibility is rising. I can be seen, noticed, plundered. This is the proof! See, here I am a newish kind of unknownish author and I’ve been chronicling for about eight years. Have I had a title pirated before? Heck no, not so far as I know. I waited, sure, and I hoped. But my good friend and much more prolific author Kat Gerlach? She’s got TWO titles over there, which just goes to show you, right? And other author friends of mine are also included in the catalog (who I won’t name here, because they’re kind of shy about admitting how really jazzed they are to be in this select company. But we know the truth, don’t we guys? Gals? Yeah?).
Are some of the biggest names in writing also on this great site? You bet, but here’s where you can really see how right I am. George R.R. Martin is the world-famous author of Game of Thrones; but the pirates know all about that. Everybody knows about that- including Mr. Martin’s publishers, and all their lawyers just for an example. So, what do the E-Noobs Re-fleeces guys bring to the readers’ attention? One of his obscure sci-fi pieces from 12 years back called Dying of the Light— the kind that’s only in reprints now, where the e-book is still being charged at those outrageous paper-subsidizing prices. See, that’s just the kind of radar-ducking, thoughtful choice you would expect a quality site to bring to you, the discerning price-conscious reader. I just felt a warm fuzzy. Did you?
3) Pirates Really Care
These guys could have taken my title, slapped up the cover art and blurb and just moved on, you know? But not this gang of pirates, who by the way I’m sure don’t look anything like chubby nerds using PCs to steal other peoples’ work. No, these pirates found READERS who actually-factually REVIEWED my work. Look, the comments are right here:
A book on the “Faves” shelf, long time no see!
thanks! I really love this book.. starting reading now…
You probably heard there is nothing more important to an indie author than knowing that someone has read and reviewed your work. Sure, in this case the books didn’t really “sell” because We-Took Ye Cheeses GIVES away the copies (more on that later). But hey, we give away copies to reviewers all the time, so what’s two more going to matter. They head-hunted some feedback for me, no charge. And you just KNOW these are real readers, real reviewers. BTW, I looked at my friend Kat’s books and what do you know, also two comments. GRRM’s, two comments. Stephen King’s Thinner, two comments, Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea #6… reminds me, I’ve never gotten around to reading that one, maybe I should download it right now. But hey, two comments. So what I’m saying is, that PROVES they really care. One of the GRRM comments was even two sentences long! Have to say, I wasn’t that envious of him until then…
4) More Proof of Caring- They Update
It’s true! No matter which day you visit the site, look at the comments, and you’ll see they will always have been made TODAY. Isn’t that wild? Obviously, See-Nooks in Pieces has such dedicated reader/reviewers they take the time and trouble to come back and re-validate their critiques 7 x 365. I have to say, I’m really stunned.
But nothing could have prepared me for this whopper. They made an AUDIO BOOK version of Clash of Wills! It must be true, the link is right there. How I wish I could listen to that right now: I never got around to it on my own. But this brings me to another point, really in their favor and just my bad luck I can’t take advantage of it.
5) The Best Pirates are Free
What’s the point of being a pirate otherwise? There are all kinds of scammers out there– check out Anne R. Allen’s most-excellent post for the list and what you can do about it. But when you see that your book has been stolen and is now being offered for FREE, that’s when you can sit back and enjoy the highest accolade. You are in the noblest of company.
Why free? Because all pirates give stuff away, don’t you know anything? Pirates are so not-thieves, instead they’re driven by the highest of motives. Same guy played Robin Hood and Captain Blood- word. They just want to give stuff away to the poor (in this case, the poor reading public with PCs and internet access). If these guys were taking my book and SELLING it, I might get a bit suspicious. Honestly, though I have to say I’d probably treat them more like a high-cost channel to market. Those kind of thieves are selling my book– maybe in Bulgaria– and that’s something I’ve never
cracked. Sure, their cost to me is a little high– like, 100%– but hey, I’m selling! If they were changing my name on the cover and selling my work, that would be the sincerest form of flattery, I must admit. I’d be so struck with admiration I might stop writing and just wait for THEM to come out with the sequel. Because you know, my WiP is giving me fits at this moment, and who am I to say they couldn’t invent a better outcome?
But not these guys. Gee-Look at Geeses is GIVING away my book! Or maybe just the first few pages, the kind of peek you get on Amazon already. It could be that. I confess I’m not sure, because you have to set up a TOTALLY FREE account on Be Took Fleeces in order to start downloading.
And as part of your account set up for TOTALLY FREE access, you need to just include some bits of information. For example, your credit card number.
I was so sorely tempted, I tell you, really strongly moved to give these wonderful guys my credit card information. Problem is, I only have a debit card (because the whole relatives-with-cancer thing carries a side effect of bankruptcy, and that ironically will cure you of having credit cards, so good on me). So these 22 digits, that’s like a direct line into my bank account. And while I absolutely LOVE these guys, I’m just not sure how, um, how secure their site is? I mean, someone else who’s not cool like a pirate could come in and… well, I’m positive that Three Cooks De-Quiches would be simply mortified if anything happened to my bank account over such an unfortunate mistake. So I’m just working on trust here. I trust that it would be better, just a little bit better, if I didn’t give my bank information to pirates. But that in no way means I feel the least bit unsure about them. I’m totally sure about these guys, completely.
And you should be too.
I’ll say it again in case there’s any doubt. These guys are definitely giving away something (maybe something you can already get, but that’s not important). They are sincere pirates and you can tell because they give it away for free (once they have your credit card info). Totally. I’m flattered to be their victim, and so should many of my peers.
Open to Suggestions
They even have a great contact line authors can use: it’s the link called “DCMA” on each book page and I’m thinking about using it. DCMA stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, and it’s a way for spoilsport authors who don’t understand how romantic and cool it is to have their work taken, to be a party-pooper and get them to pull down the page they so thoughtfully put up for you. I might contact these guys, once I gather the proof they need (which evidently includes my birth certificate, fingerprints of all six of my cats, a retinal scan plus a blood sample of my firstborn male child, and that last one is going to be really rough). I’m also charmed by the all-caps warning they have there, which tells me I could be going to jail just for saying I’m the author unless I am, or that this is my work unless it is. And can prove it. Sections like that really help you put in perspective how important it is to tell the truth. I get it.
But I don’t want to leave them with no message at all, no gesture to tell them how cool and romantic I think they have been. So after some thought, I’ve decided to put a comment on “my” page with a link to this article! That should tell these fine buccaneers just how much I appreciate their attention and approval. And I’m sure you’ll all be able to see it, once it passes their moderation process. Been five days now…
Pirates as Role-Models
In the end, semi-seriously, I got a charge out of being pirated because it reminded me of some things. Like risk, and daring and going outside the “law”: indies need all those qualities if we’re going to write anything, publish anything. Can we seriously say that we fear losing a copy of our work to a thief more than getting a negative review? For me, it’s not even close. There’s a slew of dangers out there, emotional challenges to our venture on tricky seas, and piracy is not a bad image for how we should respond. Yes, the wealth, we’d all like plunder. But when you stick a broad-bladed knife between your teeth and clamber over the rail onto a hostile deck, you’re thinking about fighting for your life. We don’t need to take coins, we’re here to take prisoners! We must capture readers; if we do, then everyone gets a share of the plunder afterwards. What arouses my disgust at pirate sites is not that they’re there, but that they are cowards, operating safely and aiming only to take money. I’m not too old to climb. And I have the clothes, even a knife.
Fellow authors, I urge you to hit this site, find “your book page” and comment with this link too. Let’s really tell the pirates how much we appreciate them!