Thursday, March 6, 2014

A pirate’s life… or the ship is sinking? @DenyseBridger #RomFantasy


Despite the humour, and Jack Sparrow’s fine presence, the truth is, this is not a funny meander around my strange mind… This has been an extremely difficult week for me, and it’s been caused by the modern day pirate of the internet, not the sexy pirates of our films and imaginations.

Monday started off with a bang when it was brought to my attention that titles of mine were on a pirate site. Typically, the site is well aware of the illegalities of what they are hosting because they have a series of hoops to be jumped through in order to issue take-down notices. They state you will be notified of their response to your complaint within 72 hours–plenty of time obviously to cover their asses, remove content, and warn the forum user of what is afoot…

Later on Monday, I discovered another site – and this one is so bold they will remove your work, but leave a note “Dear User, if you have another link for this material, please let us know so we can make ___________________ a better site for our users.” Acknowledge you’ve violated, then request new links for the next violation. They also post their download stats, and that’s what hit me hardest. The asterisks are my titles with Ellora’s Cave, three short books that my editor had faith in, and which have sold abysmally. Yet, many people say they’ve read them–and it’s clear from this, they have!

Another Man's Wife: Downloads: 1171
Glass Slippers and Jewelled Masques: Downloads: 371
Hunters' Game: Downloads: 1140
Stranded: Downloads: 1187
Stolen Rapture: Downloads: 399
*Hide and Secret: Downloads: 1081
*Reckless Assignation: Downloads: 1339
*Jaded Hearts: Downloads: 1137
Out of the Past: Downloads: 760

When you add this up and start thinking in terms of dollars lost, it can be quite disheartening. I have heard and understand the platitudes–these are people who’d never buy anyway, it’s good publicity, at least your name is getting out there, etc. But, at the end of the day, it is a shock, and a sad one, when you see your “paycheck” being stolen from you. I’ve had some of these pirate supporters inbox me on Facebook, or via my public mail, and tell me that I should be grateful that they want my “crappy books” at all. Others proclaim that all ebooks should be free anyway because it doesn’t cost anything to make them… Love the ignorance in that one, don’t you?

I asked one of these indignant ladies if she walked into book shops and picked up books, then walked out without paying for them. She was outraged that I would suggest she was a thief, and said eBooks weren’t real books. That should be welcome news for every author currently working at the big NY houses, too, since they are now in the “unreal” eBook business. I asked this woman if she would like to work, then watch someone else walk off with her paycheck. She thought I was crazy. So, I told her she was not only a thief, she was also ignorant and short-sighted. She informed me she’d never read another of my books again, and I thanked her, telling her I’d probably make money if more people thought like her. She threatened to report me to Facebook, and I told her to go hard at that one because Facebook and I have danced a time or two already.

Bitch, ain’t I?

All of this has led me to a few decisions, though. One of them being I will no longer be offering ANY copies of my books for prizes. I’ll still do prizes and things, but the winners will no longer be getting my books from me. I’ve been generous over the years, given away more books than I’ve sold in some cases. Readers have written to me and told me they can’t afford new releases they’d love to have, and I’ve sent them. That’s over. I think it has to be. I’ve come very close to shutting things down entirely over the past year, and when crap like this happens, it makes you wonder if that isn’t the right route to go. I’d always be writing, but I wonder if there’s any point to publishing?

Years back, many big names in the industry said electronic books would be the destruction of publishing. I understood then why they said that and what they were driving at. I can see the destructive end of it hard at work now as the entire industry struggles to find what works, and what can stem to flood or piracy. It took the music industry a long time, and the battle was messy, but they’ve managed to get some semblance of control back for their work. Sadly, the day may come when writers have to accept that they will never be paid for their “art” because most people believe it to be anything but an art form. While we work our tails off to reach our readers, there’s always a pirate watching, and waiting to profit…

I admit, in some cases people stumble onto these sites by accident, and in some cases don’t even know they’re on a pirate site–those people you can forgive. Until they decide it’s okay to stay and keep stealing. Content is easy to find, quality is often questionable, quantity is making it harder and harder to even sell a legal copy of your work. I wonder why it’s so hard for people to understand that every book stolen is a criminal violation?

Cheers, everyone. And apologies for the ramble… I think I’m still in shock.

My newest release is an Historical Western called CHAMPAGNE AND CHOCOLATE, and for the month of March, anyone who buys it direction from the publisher's site gets it 25% off, the best price out there. Check it out here: Naughty Nights Press

From different worlds, drawn by desire, passion is about to change their lives forever....

Austin Standish is a man of refined tastes. Intelligent and educated, Austin enjoys all of the best life has to offer. A gambler, a gunslinger, and a man who has plans to taste the sweetest prize at The Palace Casino and Saloon - the lovely owner, Chantille L'Amour, the most sought after jewel on the Barbary Coast.

Running a high-class brothel and casino isn't exactly the life she was born to but Chantille is determined to overcome the ruin her family was left in once the Civil War ended. But, she has chosen a difficult path... one that demands much and leaves her lonely. She's noticed the handsome man who comes into her world from time to time, and when she chooses to give in to desire, the passion evoked by Austin's touch may change her life forever....


Tina Donahue said...

Aw god - this just pisses me off royally. There's a special place in hell for creeps like this.

Denysé Bridger said...

I agree, Tina... I so agree... Realistically there's no way to even stem the tide, so I've decided to stop even looking... just makes me feel too much like quitting. Hard to retrain the brain, but I think I have to, or go crazy. Ok, craziER!!

Nya Rawlyns said...

Don't apologize, Denyse. I agree: stop giving away your work. You have been more than generous over the years. But you deserve remuneration for professionally producing 'intellectual property'. Like you, I fear the Age of Entitlement is here to stay. It's been a very discouraging week indeed.

Denysé Bridger said...

Nya, I know you've been victim of this same site, and yes, it's discouraging in the extreme. I've made a conscious decision to not know for at least the immediate future because it will tip the scales so out of balance I'll never find it in me to write professionally again. I don't think I'm so great it will matter to anyone else, but for me, I'd hate to see decisions made on the basis of anger and resignation.


jean hart stewart said...

Damn discouraging, to say the least. If a true writer wasn't compelled to write, I think a lot of us would quit. Don't know which is the worst, the pirates or your so called friends who declare e-books aren't real books.

Dee Dawning said...

Hi Denyse, Great rant and I don't blame you.

The most audacious pirate sites are usually foreign (Russina, Chinese), so it's really an uphill battle getting stuff off their sites.

You may already know this, but since they're Robin Hood thieves (They rob from the authors and give to the readers)they make their money from advertising.

Hence it might be more effective to send notices to their advertisers. Kind of like they did with that pig Rush Limbaugh.

Yes, the pirates are a nuisance, but the elephant in the room is an outfit name AMAZON.

They give away hundreds of thousands of books a day with the authors blessing.

And when they're not giving them away, they're selling most of the rest at bargain basement prices.

This means if you mange to sell a few 50000 word books at 99 cents and get some visibility, when you try to raise them back to a respectable price like 4.99, the spoiled readers won't touch them.

Pretty soon you're lowering the price again so you don't sink into the land of invisibility.

The e-book industry is in serious trouble and pirates are a small player.

Denysé Bridger said...

Very true, Jean - the attitudes of entitlement really need to be adjusted, big time. Thank you for stopping in.

Denysé Bridger said...

Dee, I couldn't agree more with all this. I've already had to go to battle with at least one Russian site, and at the time they were soliciting donations via PayPal - well, banded together some wronged authors and we soon had PayPal removing them, but it's done nothing about the books. They were issued notices, and promptly took down the books - and moved them to a different area of the site.

Amazon is blessing and curse on so many levels it's sad. The industry is sinking fast, and I don't know how much longer anyone can stay afloat!

Thanks so much for your input, much appreciated. :)