Over the past two years, I have been messaged, tagged, added to Facebook groups, and emailed more than I’d like to remember about one nasty little subject.
Now, you probably think you know where this blog post is going, but I don’t think you do. Let’s clear the air first, though, so I can affirm that, yes, I am anti-piracy! Now…let’s slip into the past a little before coming back to the present to talk about modern-day pirates.
No, not medieval swashbuckling pirates! I want to journey back to the 80s.
I was a teen then and that was when I discovered my obsession with metal and hard rock music. Even then, supporting what I loved was important to me, so while my friends were making cassette copies of their fave albums and sharing them with friends, I was hoarding my cold hard cash from my little part-time job to buy those tapes legitimately. By the time I went to college, I realized that I spent almost more money on music than I did on clothes!
Yeah, even as a kid with little money, I did that. Oh, sure, I had a few pirated tapes, but I felt so guilty about it. Yep, I did. So I went out and replaced all the pirated copies with the real deal!
So…fast forward to today. Like most authors, I have found my books pirated. Yeah, it does suck, but I figure it comes with the territory. But here is where I and most authors part ways in ideology.
A lot of authors think, for some reason, that their ARC copies are what are being pirated. I even know of one famous author who went to the trouble of marking every ARC that went out with a “fingerprint” of sorts, so if it got pirated, she’d discover the guilty party.
But I don’t believe those ARC copies are what’s being pirated.
Why? Well, for starters, I published for a year and a half before I ever gave out a single ARC. It wasn’t until Bullet that I gave out ARCs, and that was right before publication. But guess what? Tangled Web, MADversary, Got the Life, and a few other books had already been pirated.
Yep. That’s right.
Don’t get me wrong. Once Bullet propelled me to the top, the piracy got a thousand times worse, but it had already happened. So, I’m sure, some of you are asking how that happened. My answer is I don’t know. I don’t know how criminals manage to commit crimes, nor do I care, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just because I lock my house doesn’t mean someone won’t break into it. That just means I’ve made it harder, but if a criminal wants in, he’ll find a way.
Sure, Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo, and the others have done their best to encrypt the files, but don’t kid yourself. It happens anyway, and I REFUSE TO BELIEVE that any of the people I’ve ever given an ARC to were behind any of my books being pirated.
It sucks—really sucks—but I think (just like some of those shitty reviews we get) it’s the nature of the business, something we have to expect. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t take it sitting down. I have hired not one but two companies to deal with that for me. They don’t catch everything, but they again do something that I don’t want to do. I want to write, for heaven’s sake. I don’t want to spend my days telling people to stop stealing my stuff.
It comes down to this—there are always bad guys. I have to believe, though, that most readers are ethical and avoid those sites. I have to hope that most readers will feel like I did (and do) and pay for their enjoyment. After all, it’s the right thing.
Again, however, I want to say this, and I hope it’s the last time I have to: I do not—DO NOT!—believe any of my blogger friends or other ARC readers have or would be involved in pirating my books. I cannot believe that. There comes a time when you have to let go and trust…and I do.