Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Friday, December 7, 2012

Your Work is Being Pirated

Lately there's been a lot of huffing and puffing around the writer blogs about Amazon, and its KDP Select program, and how Amazon is no longer supporting the little guys like they used to. There's been a general complaint about the exclusivity clause in KDP Select membership.

If you do any kind of research into marketing your book at all, you're going to run across this discussion. Amazon, Pro or Con? KDP Select, Pro or Con? Free books or cheap books, Pro or Con?

Well, how about this one-- stolen books, Pro or Con?

I never thought for a second that any of my work would be stolen, didn't figure I had the popularity factor to appeal to pirates. But when posting about my recent lower sales, a Twitter friend suggested that might be the case. It had happened to her and she'd seen lower sales as a result.

I checked it out and was shocked at the results. Do a search here of your books. Torrentz is the pirating site. It'll tell you how many times your work has been stolen. Lighting Candles in the Snow is my most popular novel. It's been stolen 4000 times.

Makes all that discussion about Amazon seem kind of silly, doesn't it? They do sell our books and pay us, after all.

32 comments:

  1. stealing gold and jewels is one thing but stealing a person's artistic work is a hanging offense in my book - not that I have one yet but I will!

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  2. From my research, Torrentz is actually just a search engine, not a pirate site, though it searches for "torrents", or downloadable files on pirate sites (one book is split into multiple torrents for several reasons if I remember correctly, so one book could have 100 torrents and therefore 1000 downloads is 10 books). The sponsored links think is rather misleading because no matter what you type in there, you'll get results and some arbitrary figures. Your point is still valid, however, there are lots of pirate sites out there and an author's work is never done in fighting them, especially the non USA ones that thumb their noses at our copyright laws and DMCA take down notices.

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    1. Claire, You mean my most popular novel is only stolen 50 times not 5000? Oh dang it! Anyway, you are right-- Torrentz is a search engine-- Google for pirates haha. And they offer you the option to search anonymously if you choose. Not that it means people who want to search anonymously are thieves by any means-- many are just tired of Google having every bit of info about them and wanting more privacy online.

      Interesting how those two words are so similar-- piracy, privacy. Thank you for your input, Claire. Much appreciated!

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  3. Oophs, I almost wrote "What's the world coming to?" Which reminded me of my grandmother, who used to say that back in the 1950s. Well, I wrote it anyway, because it really is true. People don't seem to care or have any respect for the work of others.

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    1. Inger, My mom and my grandma both used to say that. It warms my heart to hear it again!

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    1. Karen, Well not really, if you read Claire's comment. It clarifies things somewhat :)

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  5. WHOA! 4OOO TIMES!

    This is just NOT RIGHT! IT almost makes me glad I have nothing published. To think this is happening and SOOOOO often makes my skin crawl.

    Is there any honesty in the world anymore? What has happened to respect, values, manners, and kindness? Our world is a scary place sometimes. Thankfully we can create perfect worlds in our minds and visit them often in our stories.

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  6. My first novel is near completing and I have decided to go the old fashioned agent to publisher route. Primarily because I would rather pay some of my profits to an agent then have to be so diligent all the time about my work being pirated. Makes me so mad FOR YOU that folks feel anything someone else has is theirs as well. Our world is shifting in such bad ways. On a brighter note. gave my sister your recent book for her birthday today.

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    1. Donna, Great news about your novel! And thank you for sharing my book :)

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  7. Pirates always find a way. I've found my books offered for free on sites before. Found some of my photography for sale, too. (I managed to get that site to remove them.)

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    1. Diane, "Pirates always find a way." Very true! I've not even checked on the photography. Afraid to look, I guess :(

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  8. Here I would appeal to the honest nature of readers because these sites wouldn't exist if readers obtained books through legitimate channels.

    I would never ever rip off a writer by doing this.

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  9. LOL. That's funny. Both of my books are on there with thousands of downloads. I honestly don't care. Maybe they'll actually read them and write a review somewhere. That'd be frickin' nice.

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  10. Have you seen Neil Gaiman's response to learning his work was pirated? It was all over the web a while ago:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110211/00384413053/how-neil-gaiman-went-fearing-piracy-to-believing-its-incredibly-good-thing.shtml

    I don't have anything published. Nor does it look like I will in the near future. But I like the idea that perhaps some of those people who are stealing your work may read it, like it, and seek out more (and pay for it the next time).

    Just my two cents.

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    1. Liz, Yes I remember that discussion. I also must admit that I felt a little disappointed to learn it was only 50 copies of Candles that was possibly stolen rather than 5000.

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  11. I do not necessarily agree with that last comment - a thief, is a thief, is a thief. Once they steal, they will steal again. My Mother taught us how important it was to be honest throughout life - wasn't always easy, temptation always around the corner, however, I feel happy that I followed this golden rule. Kinda sucks - kinda? to know 4000 persons stole your book to read. At least, now you know another 4000 souls are following you and those 4000 might have very well put your book at a much nicer level. Take care, Karen

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  12. Neil Gaiman had a discussion about this and he reckoned his stolen books actually helped his sales. Admittedly he is a huge name to start with and has many books available, but what he claimed happened was that people who wouldn't normally have access to his books would read a stolen one and then like it so much they'd buy the others.

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  13. Holy Crap! Me too!

    What do we do? How do we stop it?

    I had no idea but it's true that pirates will always find a way. It's makes me feel kind of helpless.

    Jai

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  14. I prefer my pirate Johnny Depp styled, not stealing my booty, literally -_-

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  15. Stunning.
    This is another vote paper books, unless we want readers at ANY cost.

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  16. Oh heck - I suppose I've buried my head in the sand over piracy, assuming it wouldn't knock on my door. (Trouble with having your head in the sand, you leave yourself wide open for a kick up the bum ...)

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  17. I checked and my book, The Englishman, has also been downloaded free loads of times (about 2,000 which means 20 books?) i a not quite sure how I feel about this. Firstly I'm bit p*ssed that someone was stealing my work…and then I was thrilled because my sales too have slumped lately, and then I was mad again…very confusing.

    Just one question: does this site track all piracy? And another one, if they can track the stealing b*stards, why don't they do something about it? (I guess I'm a little more angry than I first realised - apologies for the * words)

    Helena xx

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  18. Helena, They don't do anything about it because they don't care. Their purpose is not to police copyright violations (that's up to the authors and publishers) but to put the information out there to a ready market of people all over the world interested in free downloads, whether they are legal or not. I don't know if they track all piracy but apparently they're one of the largest.

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  19. Hi Karen - interesting post .. because we all forget.

    Lots of books are stolen and then published with a change of letter or two in the title ... because many (most of us at times when we're not concentrating) put in search words that don't tally with what we want ... and then someone who has not written the book gets the purchase .. I'm not sure if Amazon checks this now ..

    I don't have anything published, but am always interested in reading what's going on ... and wonder if blog posts ever get copied - I'm sure they do ...

    By the way - do you know anything about curating .. and if you do (at some stage) could you do a post on it?

    Thanks .. and have a great week ahead pre Christmas .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, I don't know about curating. Sorry. I wish I did, I can always use ideas and suggestions for blog posts.

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  20. Dear Karen, this amazed me because it was new learning for me. I went to the site and looked up Dulcy's two books. I'm not sure if I interpreted the numbers correctly however.
    Peace.

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  21. Yes, I've seen my stuff pirated and availabe as torrents for quite some time. Obviously I'd prefer people pay but I'm not hugely concerned, I have to say. For one, how many of these are lost sales? People grab stuff for free because they can when, most likely, they wouldn't have paid. And maybe some will read what they like and come looking for another book to buy? That's what I tell myself anyway.

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    1. Simon, After all the discussion about it, I believe I'm with you on this one. It's similar to offering free downloads on the Kindle, which my publisher does regularly, and which actually increases sales and rankings rather than takes away from them. Thanks for your input.

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  22. Wow, thanks for sharing. That's an eyeopener for me.

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  23. Having just found my wife's book on newsnet I started searching for others. I'm not convinced of the results from a search of Torrentz though. Searching for 'Lighting Candles in the Snow' returned (at the very bottom of the page) [Your query "Lighting Candles in the Snow" could not be matched exactly.]
    Were you looking at approximate torrent matches such as 'in the snow', 'Lighting Candles' or even 'in the'?

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