I’m trying to process my feelings right now, and I’ll admit . . . I’m struggling with it. I’m also trying to figure out whether it’s ironic that only yesterday I read an article about someone’s opinions on the piracy of books and thought, ‘Hey, chick. I’m totally in agreement with you on this.’ Then I disregarded it (mentally) and moved on. (I’d link to the post if I still had it up or remembered whose site I read it on.)
So yeah, if you haven’t guessed by the title of this post, Reave is being pirated. Every so often I do searches for it and I’ve never found anything like this. I altered the search slightly today and that popped right up.
I’m . . . upset. I try to keep my opinions to myself, especially with issues that are bound to get someone all riled up about something or other (which is pretty much anything), but yeah, I’m not going to do that right now. I am genuinely upset, and I’m going to explain why. When I explain why, it’s going to sound rather similar to what I read yesterday. It probably won’t sound as great because I’ll admit that my hands are shaking and being as upset as I am right now is like sticking a screwdriver in the cogs of my brain.
I could get into a massive spiel about how I have not yet made back the money I spent to release one book, let alone both of them. I could get into that. I could get into how unbelievably difficult it is to do this financially, and do it in the way that I feel is right (which is by not putting out crap, which takes a significant amount of money that is not easy to come by). Believe you me, I could get into that thoroughly. I could get into how unbelievably frustrating it is to have all these books essentially waiting to be released, and to be unable to do so DUE TO FINANCES. Let me tell you that one of the most amazing feelings in the world is when someone enjoyed one of your books and wants to read the next one badly enough that they ask you about it. What’s NOT so great is having to say, “I’m sorry. I don’t know when I can get that next one out. I’m trying as hard as I can.”
Yeah. I could get into that. Past what I’ve said just now? I’m not going to.
What I AM going to get into is this:
Did you know I’ll give out free e-books of Reave? Yeah, I’ll do that. I’ll give out free e-books in exchange for a review. Send me a message on GoodReads. Send me a message on Facebook. Send me an email. Comment on my blog. Believe me, I’d be more than happy for you to contact me directly and express genuine interest in my book, then I’ll send it to you so you can read it. You get a free e-book. I potentially get more exposure (which IS most important to me). You leave a review, and other people who might’ve been on the fence about my book(s) might be able to decide one way or another. You might love my book and tell all your friends and family about it. You might love my book and tell me, which is seriously one of the most fantastic things ever. When you’re struggling to follow your dreams and start your career? Yeah, hearing that helps. It keeps you fighting through all the struggles. It gives you validation for what you’re doing, and when you’re constantly struggling to feel like you’re good enough to do what you’re doing? You have no idea how much the one sentence of ‘I loved your book’ can do.
It can do a lot.
I actually wrote up a post about two weeks ago to tell everyone that I had every intention of taking Reave off Smashwords in order to enroll it in Select (on Amazon) SO THAT I COULD DO THE PROMOS TO MAKE IT FREE FOR CERTAIN DAYS. I didn’t end up posting it due to that adjustment I wrote about last week. I was thinking I’d wait a little while. I just got the first book in the trilogy back from the first beta-reader and I needed to get that ready to send off to the next. So I just needed a bit of time to fit it in.
Let me assure you that exposure has been my biggest goal from the get-go with this. I get it, people. I’m a new author. If you haven’t read my books, you might be hesitant to spend the money and take a chance on me. There’s a stigma with self-publishing and you know what? That stigma with self-publishing is often justified. How do you know if I had a professional editor? How do you know whether my book is going to be riddled with errors? YOU DON’T, AND I GET IT. Let me just add here that I did not self-publish due to an inability to land an agent. I self-published so that I could keep all rights to my work, and to ensure that what was put out was what I wanted put out. Full stop.
But I’ve seen some self-published books that make me want to pull my hair out. I have. So please believe me when I say that I get it.
My willingness to give away free copies of my book is not because I think it isn’t worth being paid for. It’s because I understand. It’s also because I have the faith that my work can stand on its own feet. Given that I have QUITE A FEW BOOKS to release, I’m more than happy to throw one of them out there. Sure, some people will hate it. That’s inevitable because not everyone likes the same stuff. That’s just preference. But the thing is? If I give out a free copy of Reave, someone might love it. Someone might love it enough that they’ll want to read every book I put out. It’s insane to me, but it’s happened so I know it can happen. Am I losing there by giving out a free book? No, I don’t believe so.
So you might be wondering why this upsets me at all, right? If exposure is most important, if the readers are what matter, why would this upset me?
I’ve put literal blood (cut my hand open on a binder while editing), literal sweat (I write in a shed and an AC in the summer out here doesn’t work as well as one would hope, and that’s not even getting into what it’s like in the winter), and literal tears (I cry while writing/editing quite often) into my work. Just like so many other authors out there. I’ve worked my ass off for years now trying to fortify the foundation of something before starting to build it. My workaholic tendencies (if it/they could be called ‘tendencies’) have damaged more than one relationship in my life. What I’m saying is: The work is most important to me. I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile here, and the goal is to potentially make some sort of difference. I can’t accomplish that if I’m not focused on the work.
So seeing my work on some seedy, backwoods channel that set off the antivirus on my computer? Equate that to seeing your daughter standing on street corner doing I’m sure you can guess what. My books are like children to me. They are, and the street corner thing is how I’m feeling right now. (Along with feeling like there’s a line of people with their middle finger up in the air in my direction sounding off a chorus of, “F*** you, C.”)
Disregarding the ratio of pirated copies to legitimately bought copies . . . All you people who downloaded it?
Yeah, you could’ve just asked me for a copy. Just saying.
And so there’s no confusion?
Here is my Facebook account: C. Miller on Facebook
Here is my GoodReads account: C. Miller on GoodReads
Here’s to hoping I can get this taken down swiftly and that any free copies of my work given out will be my choice, as it should be.
(Yes, I know this sort of thing happens. Knowing it happens does not make my feelings on it happening to me irrational or invalid in any way.)
** I’m coming back to this a bit after the fact to add a few things. (Along with taking out one somewhat passive-aggressive remark.) Some of the anger (and similar emotions) . . . it’s worn off a little. Now I’m mostly upset, like legitimately sad/down-upset. Here are the things I want to add:
- Please, people, respect the hard work of authors and other artists. Some people put their work up for free on sites, or do free promos, or give out free copies. Some people don’t ever do any of that. Please respect their wishes for their work, whatever those wishes may be. I like to think that most people wouldn’t walk into a store and take something simply because they want it. This is the exact same thing. If someone doesn’t want to give out a free product, that is their decision.
- This is a smidgen bigger than I initially thought. I’m still trying to figure it all out. Doesn’t help that my antivirus keeps getting set off. But I don’t have a clue what any of this stuff is or anything about any of the sites. Working on it.
- I’m kind of internally warring with myself on this. (Though don’t get me wrong, that sucker is coming down off the sites if it’s the last thing I do. Because I did not put it there.) I guess some people wanted to read my book, right? And that’s good. It really is good, yeah. And you know what? If this was actually impacting anything in a positive way? I just might have left it where it was despite how gross I feel about it. (Not saying I would, only that I would’ve thought about it.) But the truth is that it isn’t. There hasn’t been an influx of reviews or ratings anywhere. There hasn’t been an influx of sales. I’d be totally happy with ratings/reviews (even a sentence, if that’s all someone had to say) and a bit of word of mouth. So if anyone who downloaded a copy of my book off some random site I didn’t put it on is actually reading this? I genuinely hope you enjoyed it. I do. If you did? Tell your friends/family. When/if you do so, it would be super great if you could direct them to one of the legal avenues of obtaining my book. If you seriously cannot afford to spend the $2.99 (less than an order at Starbucks, just saying) to obtain my book legally? LET ME KNOW.
- I feel like I have a lot more I could say, but I’m seriously just upset and can’t decide if I want to go inside and get away from all this or bury myself in writing and get away from all this.
(Coming back WELL after the fact to clear one thing up. Looking back at this post now and seeing the bit where I give out my email, I’m realizing that could potentially be taken the wrong way. I wasn’t saying that I don’t want to get emails from actual PEOPLE. I was talking about ACTUAL spam, which is much more likely to happen by just typing my email address out. Just wanted to be clear.)