Is Piracy “Free Advertising?”

I’ll be honest, I haven’t thought much about book piracy in the last few years. In the early years I sent out a few “cease and desist” letters when I came upon a site that was stealing my work, but I doubt they paid much attention. And then I read that some authors felt that those free copies were essentially advertising, and that they didn’t do much harm to their bottom line. I stopped thinking about it much.

I just read this Facebook post by Maggie Stiefvater that puts the lie to that. Please read it. Repost it. If you care about reading more work by your favorite authors, buying their books from legitimate retailers can make the difference on whether their publishers give them a new contract. It can determine whether you see more of their work, or not.

Unlike Maggie, I’m an Indie Author. What I write isn’t dependent on whether a publisher thinks I’m making them enough money, but it does mean that every pirated copy is a book I don’t get paid for. No publisher is giving me a big (or small) advance. I pay for my covers and professional editing myself. I like the freedom and independence that gives me. But I don’t get paid until you, my readers, decide to take a chance on one of my books. And believe me, I’m grateful for every one of you!

I don’t think you’re part of the piracy problem, but I’ll bet every one of us knows someone who downloaded a .pdf for free. Please let them know, gently, that doing so hurts authors. Thanks!

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