As most of you know, I published my fourth book last week, a contemporary romance entitled The Genius and the Muse. Within hours, dozens of books had been bought by you wonderful readers who were anticipating it. And in that same time, one book was returned. I heaved a big sigh and wiped it from my mind.
Now, I don’t kid myself that my books are for everyone. It’s entirely possible that a reader bought it by mistake or looked at the first few chapters and decided that it wasn’t for him or her. More likely, as most authors will tell you, that book was bought, the files were downloaded (since I do not believe in DRM and do not allow it on my books because I think it punishes honest buyers), and the book was pirated and put up on a file-sharing site. It’s a very common pattern that most writers expect to happen these days. All of my other books are floating around on various sites I don’t even attempt to police because it’s a useless endeavor.
I try very hard to keep my prices low, but it doesn’t seem to matter. There are pirated books out there that sell for .99, and people aren’t willing to buy them legally because they feel entitled.
I’m not going to rant about it. It’s pointless. My blog post is not going to stop book piracy. Some writers claim it helps sales. Others claim they lose thousands of dollars a year because of it. Both could be true, or the truth may lie somewhere in the middle. I’m not going to debate the ethics with you in this post; I think almost everyone knows that it’s wrong, even if they’ve justified it in their mind.
What I am going to do, is say to readers who buy my books legally…
Thank you for supporting my work and giving me the ability to create more. You see, it takes time and money to create a book, and by buying my books from authorized retailers, you pay me, the creator, the money that it takes to support myself and my family. This is my job. It’s what pays my bills and lets me buy groceries. It also pays other people like my editor and proofreader and formatter and… well, you get the idea.
You see, buying books doesn’t just support the author, it supports all the people that author uses to help create. It supports freelance cover artists and editors. Videographers who make book trailers and the book formatters who nitpick over ePub and mobi files to create attractive books that can be read on multiple devices.
All these things are skills that take time and effort to develop. All these people you support by buying books (instead of downloading them for free) are professionals who make their living by working in this business.
So thank you.
I know authors who, for the first time in their career, are becoming financially independent because of self-publishing. I know writers who have started new lives, are paying for their children’s college, or letting their spouse pursue a life long dream because they are able to finally pay their bills from their books. This is a self-made world, and it takes a lot of work to make your mark in it, but it’s happening because writers are writing and readers are buying.
See, when I sign my blog posts “thanks for reading” it’s not just a throwaway line. I mean that. Thank you for reading. Thank you for buying my books. Thank you for letting me do this job that I love and be payed fairly for it. At this particular point in my life, most of you have no idea what that means to me. And it’s not just me. It’s so many others, too. It’s supporting editors and artists. It’s making mortgages and paying doctors’ bills. You, as a book buyer, have a part in that creative process. The person willing to download a book for free instead of paying .99 the author is asking for does not.
So, sincerely, thank you.