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Pirating is Stealing...

The reason they call it pirating is because it's stealing. It's what pirates are known for, right? All of the stories and movies show pirates pillage and plunder villages. This is why the term was coined as "Pirating" when you download or share something for free that you would normally have to pay for. This isn't directed at any one person in particular, but more of a plea for everyone to understand something which impacts all indie authors.

Since I became published in 2010, my books have been found many times on pirate sites or available for free download somewhere. What a lot of people don't seem to realize or maybe they don't care, but that's theft. It's like walking into a store, taking a book from the shelves, and walking out without paying for it. You wouldn't do that at Walmart or Barnes & Noble or any other brick & mortar store. So why would you do that online? Because it's there? It's easier? You're less likely to get arrested and/or fined? Does that really make it any more acceptable? No. It does not.

Nowadays many small authors like myself are independently publishing their books. Most of us in that boat pay for our edits, pay for our covers, pay for any translations, pay for the audio books to be recorded. It comes out of our pockets. And while it's a nice idea to believe we are all rich and sitting on our butts gathering those royalties, that really isn't the case for many of us. To give a breakdown of those costs:

  • Cover - Minimum of $200 if you want quality covers for ebook, paperback, and an ad pack.

  • Edits - Minimum $100 up to $500, depending on length of the book and what service is used.

  • Audio Recording - $2000 to $5000, again depending on length of the book and what service is used.

  • Total: $2300 to $5700 to produce the books you see in the market today, and this applies to publishers too, only their costs are even higher because of staffing.

  • Marketing - Anywhere from $10/ad up to $500/ad in addition to the actual preparation of the novel.

The more books that are pirated and shared for free the more we as authors struggle to continue producing as quality books as possible. Because if we spend $2300 on producing a book, if we only make back $1000 or $2000, we still lose. We aren't like the movie industry where they can recoup those losses in other ways. Not that it's okay for there to be pirating of movies, but understand, those of us at my level are not Stephen King or JK Rowling or even Dean Koontz. We are small fish and we cannot afford to have the pirating continue.

It impacts a lot of indie authors dramatically because it can cause them not to be able to buy food, pay their rent, support their families. If this doesn't help you to understand why this hurts authors, place yourself in their shoes. Think, what if I was the one who worked hard on something and suddenly someone is stealing it from you and handing it out where you receive nothing in return for it? Would it be something you would be happy to have done to you?

Last night, I located my book His Salvation where someone had copied page for page onto a website to read for free. They just pasted it out there for anyone to access and read without Kindle Unlimited or purchasing an eBook copy. It is extremely disheartening to find that online. And I am certain there are many many other sites out there like this one, ones I haven't found yet and may never find. But as an indie author, if that continues to happen where I am not recouping at least what I paid into the books to produce them, I won't be able to continue offering my books at all. This applies to many authors out there like me, too.

I am asking as an author and as a person, please don't pirate books. Don't download them for free. Don't listen to them for free. Report the site immediately for copyright infringement. Don't buy an ebook just to return it once you're done because you think it is okay to scam the system. Don't listen to an audiobook on and return it for a credit just to get another one for free. Those things are no different than stealing or pirating either.

If you've made it this far into my post, thank you. Please share this with others. Show them what getting those books for free means. It's a lot like the stores where things are stolen, they are forced to increase their prices to cover the losses. Or they go out of business entirely.

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