I try to never comment on the drama that goes on in the genre. It’s not that I don’t have opinions. I have lots of opinions and I’m an asshole, so those opinions don’t always come out nice, so I try and keep my mouth shut on social media. When I do blog about issues I rewrite them so many times I tend to work out all the asshole-ishness. It’s a much better venue for me to vent on than say tweeting a ton of curse words to equate my feelings. That said, book pirating has been a huge hot button topic recently.
I’m not sure anyone could miss it if they have any social media presence. It seems to be on my timelines constantly and I actually don’t spend a ton of time on social media. As many of you know I have a release coming up March 28th, and a big part of a new release is sending ARCs to bloggers for early reviews. These can make or break a release. I’ve seen a ton of authors in private groups talking about how they aren’t going to send out ARCs anymore. Which got me to thinking. Should I not send out ARCs anymore? Should I send out ARCs after my release to limit pirating? What is the best option? My income has dramatically decreased in the last couple of years, and I am positive a big part of that is pirating.
This has an effect on all of us in the book community. Authors making less money not only means they aren’t paying their bills, or they have less time to write because they have to work another job, so therefore they put out fewer books, but it also means we have less money to spend on editing, covers, promotion, which also means less money in our pockets. Pirating means the quality of books is going to go down. This is just a reality, and yes, as a professional, I still hire a cover artist, and an editor, and a proofreader, but I know authors who have had to cut corners because of loss of income. It’s just not feasible to keep spending huge amounts of money on book production when they just aren’t making it back.
Not only will quality diminish because of pirates, but I also know authors who are just done writing altogether, which doesn’t seem like a huge deal at the moment because there are a ton of authors, but think about the long term effects of this, eventually if authors aren’t making money people just won’t write. We put so much time and energy into writing, to think of not even being able to cover costs of production, let alone make any money for our time is disheartening. It breaks my heart to know people think these amazingly talented artists don’t deserve to be paid for their time and effort.
Reading is expensive. I get it. I read 4-5 books a week, as well as listen to at least one audiobook a week. I don’t have KU. I buy or get from a library every single book I read. I pay for them all. It adds up, more so when my income has decreased. I know there is a huge misconception authors make a ton of money, but that is not the case especially queer authors. We write to a much smaller market. We believe in the books we write and know people like us need OwnVoice books. We need representation. We need to be able to see ourselves in fiction. Think about the people whose books are being pirating and how a lot of them are marginalized and need every dollar these books make. Think about how pirating books takes food out of someone else’s mouth. Stealing isn’t okay just because there are no consequences.
I firmly do not believe anyone who says pirates wouldn’t pay for books. It’s a disproven lie to sweep the problem under the rug, or probably told to make authors feel better. If there is anyone who wants to argue that point please direct them to Maggie Stiefvater’s blog. She conducted an experiment with no eARCs for the last book in her Raven Boy’s trilogy, not only did she not do eARCs but she also uploaded to every pirate sight she could find, fake ARCs. The sales numbers from book three to book four of her series drastically changed. She got a full three-book deal to extend the series on the sales of that last book alone when sales had been down for years for previous books. There wouldn’t be another Raven boys series without her experiment. I love those characters and she is still writing them because she fucked with pirates. Here is a link to what she did in her own words. These pirates almost screwed themselves out of more books about the characters they love. Every stolen book is a chance the author won’t continue the series, and if that isn’t enough reason not to steal them, I don’t know what is.
Speak No Evil coming March 28th!
Sneak peek below.
Weston shook his head. The look in Eli’s eyes, that slight edge to his stare, made him decide to go for broke. Straight military guys seemed to be the most homophobic people he’d met, but Eli seemed to be into this—into him. He would end up getting hit if he was wrong, and his excuse to get close to his mark might blow up in his face, but he couldn’t stop the words that came out of his mouth.
“You liked it.” He had a few inches on him and was thicker all around. He wasn’t worried.
“If I did?” Eli challenged, reaching up and fisting a hand in Weston’s shirt.
“Then I guess you won’t mind this.” Weston pressed his lips firmly against Eli’s, then deepened the kiss. He fully expected to be shoved into the wall or hit in the face, so he kept his eyes open and his hand near his knife just in case.