#IWSG: Why Publish So Scum Can Steal My Book?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG will be Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell!

Have you been a victim of book piracy?

12094784_764139997029710_620006166007067050_oLike many authors who have completed a manuscript, I have forged ahead with the task of seeking an agent or publisher. Last year a publisher asked me to reduce the word count. I agonized over the prospect of another year rewriting Forbidden. However, I buckled down and reduced the manuscript by 30,000 words. And, in the end, it was worth the hard work. The story had more punch, clarity. I was so excited. When I resubmitted the manuscript, they replied indicating there were still some minor issues, all of which would easily be smoothed over during the editing process. I was devastated with their rejection.

Having gone through the publisher hunting process before, I again prepared myself for the journey. Waited for months for a reply to my carefully crafted query letters. Insulated myself against the influx of rejection letters. With each “Thank you, but no thank you.” letter I affirmed that if I persevere, I will find the right and perfect connection.

Until yesterday.

I’m not so certain I want to play this game anymore. Over the past couple of months, doubt has crept in. Perhaps Forbidden’s Islamic content may be overly uncomfortable for those who fear Muslims. Could the Middle East setting be too much of a business risk.  I began to consider self-publishing. It felt like admitting defeat but getting Forbidden published has been a ‘take no prisoners’ goal. After all, beta readers and editors have been so enthusiastic about the manuscript, I was willing to give up on traditional publishing.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I discovered my first book, The Guardian’s Wildchild, has been taken on pirate sites and given away, or sold to more people than I have sold via my first publisher over the past four years. Now, I’m not so certain I want to publish Forbidden at all. If readers knew the ten years I spent writing and money spent taking courses, how could they deny me the .99 cents to purchase an ebook of The Guardian’s Wildchild. How can I put Forbidden out there knowing it is going to be stolen. It’s not the loss of money that upsets me. It’s the blatant disrespect and meanness.

I’m not writing with the hope to make a lot of money or receive awards. I write because I have passion and wish to share something unique with the world. My heart and soul are in my books. For them to fall into the hands of criminals and greedy people feels like my best friend has been abducted by the scum of the earth. What is worse? There’s not a damn thing authors can do to stop this theft. Publishers don’t seem to have any ambition to stop piracy. Is self-publishing more risky for theft that traditional?

14 thoughts on “#IWSG: Why Publish So Scum Can Steal My Book?

  1. Hi,
    You have asked a question that I’ve never thought about. First, I’m so sorry to hear about the piracy of your book. That hurts. I hope you encounter people who are willing to give you good advice on this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is truly terrible, but I am gonna say what I would probably tell my heroine or hero in a book, don’t let fear rule you, Don’t live in fear, but live. To live is to risk. You love writing. Put it out there and take a chance again, because that is not what happens to everyone. I am sorry you were one of the ones that did it did happen to though.

    Don’t let it ruin your love of writing, your joy in your creation and don’t let it make you afraid to put yourself out there. As wiser ones of said than I to paraphrase a quote–“with great risk comes great reward or vise versa.” You cannot live your life in fear of what might be or could be–speaking to myself as well.

    On the other hand I have not had this happen yet, so I am not one to really speak. I know copyright laws should afford you some protection, but not sure what you should, do or the cost to get it done.

    I know some sites, if you can show its your work, will take it off if you contact them. They can tell you what they need to take it down. So sorry this happen to you. Spread your wings and fly anyway. Great post.

    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Over a 2 month period each of my Kindle books were bought only to be returned for refund that same day — sometimes in the space of an hour! Since then, sales for all of my Kindle books have stopped. I can only think they have been pirated and are now sold on another site.

    I do not know how to go about finding such sites and what to do if I should find my books on them. As you say it is disheartening to say the least. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry to hear about the pirates stealing your book. Most of those sites don’t even give “customers” the book. They either steal credit card information or install malware on the person’s computer who tries to download the book. You can send DMCA notices to them. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll work either. I know it’s hard, but the best way is to ignore them. The people who go to such sites never would have paid for the book in the first place, and they are likely getting much more than a book when they download one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jenlanebooks

    How violating! Really, is $.99 too much to spend for 10 years of work? That so pisses me off. I do understand the psychology of pirates thinking they’re doing nothing wrong (“The author is making so much money!” snorts) but it IS wrong.

    Having said all that, I like Juneta’s encouragement. Life is risk, and we don’t want poopy pirates to rule us.

    Self-publishing is wonderful from my perspective, especially after working with a publisher and learning a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This may not be what you want to hear, and I’m not saying what happened is okay or that you should just sit back and take it, but at least someone thought your book was good enough to be worth stealing. You must be doing something right, or they wouldn’t bother. Again, that doesn’t make what happened okay. I’m just trying to find some sort of bright side in the situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pirating sites are so awful. I’ve found my book on them. I try to look at it as at least people want to read them…but if they want to read them so bad, why not pay the cheap prices for them on Amazon? It’s not like it’s super expensive and there’s always 99 cent sales. I guess there will always be pirates though, we just have to learn to navigate the waters around them.


  8. Those book pirates are repulsive. I’m sorry it happened to you, but I’d keep writing and publishing regardless. You can’t stop the pirates but you can express yourself, which is why we write. Right?


  9. I’m sorry for what you’re going through. It sucks but like James Pailly said, if they have to go the trouble to pirate your work, you must be doing something right. Still doesn’t make it any less underhanded. But don’t let it stop you from publishing your work. You worked hard on your stories to let a few bad apples ruin the chances of readers discovering and reading your work.


  10. nickielson1

    My thoughts on this are a combination of what the others have said. You are such a brave woman to have written this book, don’t let fear or discouragement stop you now! And Cherie is right that the jerks who pirate books probably would never have bought your book, anyhow. Let’s wish them many, many viruses in exchange for their thievery. To build on what James says, maybe some of those thieves will like the book enough to leave a review and even better, tell all their real life friends how much they loved it, and in that way something good can come from something bad. Still sucks, though.


  11. My books have been pirated, and sold for nothing. I don’t think there’s a thing that can be done, but one site I contacted with a cease and desist letter actually sent me an apology. But I know I’ve given away way more books than I’ve sold. Writing is a calling – there’s no money to be made unless you’re the criminal. Amazing and sad. Don’t give up, from the few excerpt you’ve shared, your book is wonderful!


  12. All I can say is I’m not going to let anyone stop me from the professional love of my life: writing. I never expected – and still don’t – to make a full-time living.

    My personal philosophy is that once the book is published and I have promoted it to the best of my ability, I am going to let the book go.

    The readers are the ones who will decide if the book is a commercial success. I’ve done my part and I won’t lose a single moment over what some idiot is going to do.

    I can’t control it anyway, so why waste the time worrying. I want to get back to my love.

    Best regards,

    Mark (IWSG co-host and author.)


  13. doreenb8

    Most of the pirating sites never give your book to anyone, they just use it to phish info from people who are scummy enough to be attempting to get a pirated book. Can you say Karma. I would never let those people steal my joy of writing from me.
    Don’t give up that diamond may be in the next dig.


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