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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Be sure you know!!

Hello everyone. I have had an interesting experience this Easter. My book was stolen and sold by someone else. Okay, not The Crystal Needle, but my Bark book. As I have mentioned, I decided to publish my Bark books as ebooks so that readers would have an easier time reading them. It would also reach out to a new audience for my work. The Bark stories are based on the Clash: Rise of Heroes online game and so I don't completely own the copywrite to the stories. As such, I promised not to make money on them if they allowed me to publish them. It was a simple agreement that I am okay with. What happened next was unexpected. First I published the book through Amazon with the hopes of making it free there, but they wouldn't allow it. So, I published it through Smashwords with the intention of telling Amazon that it was cheaper on Smashwords. They still wouldn't make it free. I gave up and decided to simply leave it on. Smashwords. I sent the basic letter to Kindle and they took the book down.

This is where it got interesting. I looked to see that my Bark story was gone from my dashboard, it was. For some reason I went and looked on Amazon through the basic search to see if it was truly gone. And, behold, it wasn't. There it was, still published and it was at a new price. This made me more curious than worried, I thought it was just a mistake in their system. It still had my name as the author, my book was certainly what was being sold, and yet it wasn't by me. I sent them another email asking them what the heck was going on. They responded that the book was published on another persons account with a different email address than mine. Oh, now it was time to get mad. Someone had stolen my book and published it for themselves. I contacted Amazon and they sent me a form to fill out to report a copywrite infringement. In less than a day it was taken care of. They acted swiftly and efficiently on this matter, and I am very thankful for that. I pray that that is the end of it.

During the whole thing I was so upset that I simply removed my book from publication everywhere. I was hurt, I felt violated. But, when the hurt faded and the smoke settled, I realized that I was just hurting readers by taking it down, and it was still going to be free. So, I republished it on Smashwords and there it is, eternally free for any who wish to read it.

I wrote that to tell you this: Book piracy comes in many shapes and forms. Sometimes it comes when people take an authors work and give it away through sharing sites that are illegal. Other times they are stolen and sold, giving the author no money for the exchange. Either way it is a harmful practice that destroys authors and takes the Publishing industry down yet another notch.

You might say, "But authors make millions, who does it hurt?"

First: Very few authors make enough money off their books to put gas in their car.
Second: Stealing is stealing.

To illustrate to you what this really means, you must understand that this is much more hurtful that simply taking my money. That is my work, that is my time and effort spent creating that work. I pour hours of time in writing, editing, refining, defining, and creating. Writing isn't just something that we authors slam out in a couple hours and then go have tea. It takes hours, days, years to create the work we create. Every character has their own voice, their own personality that took months of thought to define. These books grow to be a part of our soul, our very being. Stealing my work and selling it isn't just like taking my wallet, its like taking my right arm. I will never be the same without it.

Do I think you, my wonderful readers, would do such a disgusting act? No. Do I have an answer to how you can help? Yes. I dare say that the authors hit the hardest by such crimes are independent authors, or even just new unknowns. If you are looking to purchase a book by a new author, don't just click the page where you first see it for sale. Go to the authors website/facebook page and look for the link. I can almost promise you that every author will have a link to each of their books present on their pages. Those links are sure to be official and direct you to that authors body of work. Also, when you do find a site that seems seedy, report it to the authors. A good indicator are sites that like to sell you memberships to get tons of free books, some are legit, but most are not.

Readers, authors, everyone, I want you to understand that this is a new world we live in. A world where information flows faster that air and thieves do not have to leave the comfort of their own home to do terrible damage to another person. Do not live in distrust and anxiety, but be cautious and critical when seeing something that seems too good to be true.

As for me, here are the official links to my books.
ebook: The Crystal Needle
Paperback: The Crystal Needle
ebook: The Crystal Needle: A Christmas to Remember
Paperback: The Crystal Needle: A Christmas to Remember 
ebook: Bark: Origins of a Superhero

P.S.: A few people tried to comfort me with the old idea "be flattered, they must think your good enough to steal" Sorry, that tired old adage doesn't help. That would be like a cop telling a car theft victim "be flattered, they picked your car over the others."

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you got to the bottom of it. Yes, it was a major violation to say the least. People don't realize how much of your soul you put into your work, not just your time. I didn't deserve for this to happen but you were able to rise above....for that, I am so thankful!!! Best to you and thank you for sharing! It was worth the read, without a doubt!