Oh, relax, I’m not touching YOUR stuff! The only file sharing software installed on my computers is Dropbox.
No, I’m sharing some of MY work via file sharing (With help, because I can’t figure this stuff out myself. I am just that clueless about file sharing.). And pirating my own work is all that I’ll be doing. I’m the copyright owner, I can do that with it if I wanna. :p
Good night, why on earth would I go to the dark side? That’s what you’re thinking, isn’t it?
Well, lemme tell you why.
Lendink was the catalyst for the decision, and the cause of someone emailing me to suggest I pick some titles to free into the Torrents wild. I am still highly disgusted by the reaction to Lendink by the small number of authors who freaked out and took down a perfectly legal site. At least some of them have apologized, but others are still saying they were right because they’re idiots.
They took down a place where readers could connect, that was promoting a lot of authors’ books.
Seriously, you guys who did that and don’t feel bad about it SUCK.
However, that wasn’t my only reason. I’ve been an indie, or self-pubber, since December 2007. Sold my first copy in January 2008. It’s taken 4 years and 9 months to sell just over 1,000 copies, and that’s with mostly good reviews/ratings and having had up to 24 different titles available at various times.
If the ‘at various times’ confuses you: I retire titles that I later decide suck.
When I first started out, I believed the whole ‘piracy BAD’ thing. I really did. The way I was brought up was that you didn’t take things that didn’t belong to you, unless they were for sale and you paid for them so that they then belonged to you.
I researched to discover what the major reasons for piracy were, and came up with three: availability, DRM, and price.
As a result, I distributed my work to as many sites as possible, made it DRM free where I was able to, and experimented with pricing to find what people were willing to pay for it. I stated more than once that I was totally okay with people loaning my ebooks to others (before lending systems on Amazon, etc), but did ask that they please not put my work on file sharing sites.
Then someone did. Tria’s Tale ended up on one in January 2011.
My reaction was something along the lines of ‘Jeeze, the one thing I ask people not to do!’ and then it was ‘Oh, well’. Except when I checked the file sharing site, I discovered they required people to pay a membership fee in order to download anything. That got my back up; the site was making money from offering access to my, and others’, content. They weren’t selling the actual files themselves, just access to them. That was not okay with me. I sent a DMCA notice and within 72 hours, the site removed the link to Tria’s Tale.
I can’t say whether it’s related or not, since I actually just realized it last night, but my sales doubled in 2011. That link was only up for 10 days at the most, but for all I know, it was related to the sales increase.
Look, I’ve been slogging along for over four years, trying all the marketing techniques more successful authors are always pushing, and they haven’t worked for me. Partially because everyone else is doing the same damn things and there are like 20k or more new titles being published every single month just on Amazon. Partially because I think it’s rude to go around screaming at readers on various sites to buy my books. And finally, because I loathe self-promotion with a purple passion and therefore, I totally, completely suck at it.
Self-promotion is time consuming, frustrating, and personally often feels kind of slimy to me. I would rather write and just bullshit with people than do any actual promotion/branding/platform building.
The only ‘technique’ I’ve found that actually works is to write as well as possible and release new, professionally edited work often.
Which would be great, if I could afford to release new work on a regular basis. I can’t. The expenses may be lower with self/indie publishing, but they aren’t non-existent.
I’ve worked my ass off for almost five solid years and right now, I’m extremely discouraged about the whole writing thing. I have some talent for writing fiction. I work to further hone that talent and I invest money in my work. I believe it’s good entertainment for those who enjoy reading the kind of stories I write, even though I’m not the Bestest Writer in the Universe.
When I sat down to pinpoint exactly what is so discouraging to me, I came up with the following: lack of feedback.
At the time I began seriously writing, I posted on Redbubble. Back then, it had a pretty vibrant writing community, so posting there usually resulted in feedback in the form of comments.
That feedback freakin’ galvanized me. I wrote like a demon on speed for about two years. I became a total feedback whore, and seriously, I still am.
Yeah, I know, I’m pathetic.
When everything you’re doing isn’t producing the desired results, it’s time to try something different.
That is why I’ve become a ‘self-pirate’.
I want readers. Readers who will enjoy my work and let me know in some fashion. So when Ashen made his suggestion to me after the Lendink mess, I said YES.
While he was busy doing the heavy work of file prep and ‘seeding’ (the FSM bless him for putting up with my stupid questions and general cluelessness!), Google alerts notified me that The Contract Bride was mentioned on a certain forum. I always check out my Google alerts, and went for a look.
Lo and behold, file sharing links to it had been posted.
For just a second, I was all petulant about it: ‘That’s not one of the titles I picked out!’, but I got over that and ran with it because someone thought it good enough to recommend to others, AND THAT IS WHAT I WANT! Joined the forum to leave a comment with a link to a newly created page on my author site.
The next day, I had 3 new sales on Amazon and had received a donation from someone from that forum.
That is the most action I’ve seen in a single day in regards to my ebooks since March, people.
Don’t get me wrong, I by no means think doing this is going to catapult me into fame and fortune. But file sharing is widespread, and may possibly be the most effective, least time consuming method of getting my work in front of eyeballs.
It’s not any different than offering freebies through Amazon’s Select program or other sites when you decide to put your own work out there, and it’s certainly not going to have anymore negative of an effect than doing that. It’s a different platform with content hungry people.
All the Harry Potter books were pirated long before JKR made them available as ebooks, and that hasn’t hurt their sales from what I can tell.
Wanna pirate some of my ebooks? Go here.
Links of Interest: