I knew it would only be a matter of time before I would discover that someone on one of the forums I frequent has been pirating my books. I’ve been on this forum for more than five years and I feel comfortable and at home there. Apparently the pirate doesn’t share the same level of esprit de corps.
Oddly enough, though I am perfectly capable of backtracking someone to discover their identity, I’ve deliberately avoided doing so. If a “friend” was doing this I really would prefer not to know. If it hadn’t been for the fact that this person got on my goddamned nerves by repeatedly posting the same book despite my efforts have it taken down I probably wouldn’t even have bothered to try to figure out just who the hell she is. Uh pirates, if you don’t mind awful much, could you at least make a nominal effort to conceal your identity and cover your tracks? KTHXBAI
People can argue left, right, sideways and back as to whether or not piracy has any real impact on sales for a small writer like me. Hell, I’m even willing to stipulate that it doesn’t, but you know what? It hurts, it hurts on a molecular level that’s difficult to explain. It’s like when a relative walked out of my house with an ancient black and white TV. The television was worth nothing. I kept it in the kitchen to watch the news while cooking dinner. However, I was deeply hurt that this person I trusted would take something of mine. He had no way of knowing whether I valued that TV or not. And worse, he didn’t care. Pirates don’t know whether they’re hurting authors, and they really don’t give a good goddamn.
To my mind piracy violates a contract that I have with the people who buy and read my books. To my mind the contract is thus: I will write the best, most entertaining book I can write. My publisher will retail it, and readers will buy it. If I break that contract by writing a crappy book, then readers will stop buying my books. That’s only fair. When someone pirates my book they’re cheating me, and they’re cheating my readers as well. And when that pirate is someone “in the family” so to speak, well the impact is devastating.
When I realized what I was seeing I cried. Some might call me silly or simple-minded for being that deeply impacted by the actions of someone I wouldn’t know if I ran them over in a Wal-Mart parking lot. And they’d be right. But you know what? It doesn’t make it hurt any less.
For me, piracy is one of those topics like book segregation that I try to avoid. Otherwise I get unbelievably depressed, and when I’m depressed I can’t write. Coming across this one, well it’s going to take a while to recover. Please bear with me