I write. I love doing it. I also work full-time. Most writers must. Even writers that have multiple books published. Yes, there are writers who make quite a nice living from their craft. They are the exception. Most of us don’t.
I follow the publishing industry quite closely. The other day, on social media, I stumbled upon a book pirate, a thief, trying to justify illegally downloading a novel to the author from whom he was stealing. The pirate was confused at the author’s irritation with him. He seemed to think the writer should be flattered that he wanted to read his book at all. I found this quite disturbing as a writer. I know how much effort goes into getting your book from conception to publication.
I work at a local school system and pretty much live pay check to pay check. I work nights writing my books and blogs. Not much sleep happens. This is the way most writers live. And stealing their work is so damn disrespectful.
Please, don’t support piracy sites. A reader with nothing but lint in their pockets can go to their community library. If the library does not have the book a reader is jonesing to read, most of libraries will order it for the reader free of charge. This saves the cost of the book and supports writers and communities. Win. Win.
Stealing by downloading from piracy sites hurts the writer whether that writer is self-published or with a big publisher. It’s stealing and it can tank the writer’s career. The first book is a test for a writer. The publisher will look at sales to decide if the writer gets to keep his or her career. Pirating books can tank those sales numbers because those downloads do not register.
Furthermore, stop thinking of big publishers as big, mean cooperations that deserve to get screwed. Publishers are made up of lots of hard-working people – editors, assistants, interns – people who need their jobs.
Pirate a book, that thief is also stealing from that new graduate working her way up through the first rungs of her career, living on ramen, barely making rent in an 8 x 5 room a forty-five minute train ride from the office. That’s who loses their job when the publisher starts to have to cut back because of selfish asshats stealing their product.
Then there’s the agent. For the most part, agents are super-heroes who work way over forty hours a week and only ever get paid if the author gets paid. They are the shepherds of the writer’s career, allowing the artist to concentrate on their craft, while taking care of all the business end of things. The pirate is stealing from the agent too and all the staff at the literary agency. Once more, it’s the bottom of the rung that finds themselves without work.
Piracy is illegal. Stealing is wrong. Going to the library, however, is always the right thing to do. And if a reader must own the book, there are contests, discounts, give aways they can participate in. There is also book sharing. Try that. Why be an asshat if there are so many better alternatives?
Thank you for not pirating art by download.