Saw A Piracy Post On My Dash
I took a break from the fifty million things I have to do today (organise promotion, write up promotion, edit my book, edit an essay, panic and panic some more) and saw a list of pirated links to books (not mine) on my dashboard and had to take a break and take deep breaths.
So look, here’s the thing. I don’t live in the US. I know it really sucks to not be able to get the book you want in the format you want: I wish the distribution models were better. I wish there were more libraries and e-libraries. I wish things were better.
But please: there are secondhand books (someone already bought the book), there are libraries (take a book out and libraries will buy more books: go to a library and you will help the libraries continue to exist for other readers). I know the system’s not perfect, but there are alternatives.
Readers are hurt by writers’ books not being available in print: it sucks to not be able to afford a book in any form, but it sucks much worse for people (often kids) with no computers, internet connections or ereaders. This is explained much better than I can here: http://seanan-mcguire.livejournal.com/390067.html
Generally readers are hurt because writers whose books don’t have great sales records have their contracts cancelled, so no more of the books they like in any form.
And of course writers are hurt by that, too. I’m a writer: I cannot pretend to be objective. I know a book is just a Thing You’d Like, but it is a thing created by a real person, with considerable effort.
I write a lot of free content—I’m happy for people to have that. But I also write, hoping to be paid for some of the work I do. Writers don’t make much money, exceptions like E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer aside. Writers tend to be just getting by, having other jobs as well, really, really trying to make it work—so they can share their books with people, so they can *keep* sharing their books with people.
I know I am very lucky to have the job I have, for however long I may have it (and it may not be very long: it may end this year). Writing a book is wonderful, it’s glorious, it makes me happy and I’d do it anyway, of course I would. But would I work until I cried over promotion? Would I stay up for three nights without sleep until I made myself sick to get something done, if it was just for me, if I wasn’t trying to make a career of this? I wouldn’t. It is so much work.
Please don’t take my work against my will, in a way that hurts me. Please don’t take anyone’s work against their will, in a way that hurts them.