|Steal my book(s).
||[Jul. 1st, 2013|02:26 pm]
With a new book out, I naturally search the Internet now and then (translation: obsessively) to see what is being said about it, if anything. It has turned up on several pirate book-download sites, and this Twitter account also has it:
Rather than rant and rave about something that is beyond my control (my, how I've grown up), here's all I ask: if you download Bitter Orange or one of my other books via one of these sites, and if you read it and like it, please post a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon. I am more than happy to send copies of the book (e-books more so than paperbacks) to anyone who'd like to read it and post reviews online. I choose to look at this as an extension of the same practice. You don't have to come forward and say where you got it. I'm not going to ask you to make a PayPal donation, either. The only thing I'd like you to bear in mind is that I don't have a huge readership (and I'm the publisher, so I can track this), and my books don't sell tens of thousands of copies. I'm not rich. My income doesn't depend on my book sales. And my publishing company (which releases my work) is not a big faceless corporate monolith that uses slaves in sweatshops. We break even, but we're small enough that lost book sales do make a difference.
I have said many times that I think piracy exists because media companies have created a need for it. Movies are pirated because the cost of tickets has become unreasonable. American movies also show for only short intervals elsewhere. Why is it reasonable to expect people in other parts of the world to wait months or more to see a film they're interested in? And it's not as if steaming has always been an option: territorial-rights restrictions prevent it more often than not. Music piracy has come about for much the same reason: even if you want to make a legitimate purchase, sometimes you can't. Now that iTunes and Spotify are available in HK, that at least sorts the problem out for me, but I lived here several years before that happened. (Besides, in these small apartments, who the hell wants a stack of CDs?) TV shows are pirated because people cannot organize their lives around broadcast times and shouldn't have to, because there's usually also a long time lag between the original broadcast and the local one in other countries, and because the story will inevitably be ruined by accounts of the season finale published online long before the first episode is broadcast where you live. And fuck commercials all to hell and back. Lest it sound like I am advocating piracy, I'm not. I think that when there's a reasonable alternative, it's the better one. But waiting for months or more, or not getting to see TV shows that wouldn't otherwise even be available where you live, or not paying ridiculous ticket prices because everything must be filmed in 3-D now in order to justify charging more... I think there are arguments that piracy is not an unreasonable opt-out in the face of today's corporate greed.
In the case of books, however, and small presses... well, see above. If you download my books, you aren't taking food off my table, but there is another option. At least in my case, if you want to read something and are short on cash, hell, just email me and say you want to write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. I'll say thank you and ask whether you want the Kindle, PDF, or ePub. Simple as that.
Seriously: if you'd really like to read something of mine, I welcome you to write me and request one. Speaking for myself, I am happy to have more readers. My first book sold more than all my subsequent ones put together, and I would really enjoy having a wider readership once again. This is the reason for Never Turn Away, the free e-book sampler I released a few months ago. If you've heard of me but aren't sure you want to spend seven bucks on Bitter Orange, you can read Never Turn Away for free to see if you like my stuff.
All I ask in return is that you write a short (it doesn't even have to be that long) review to post on social media.
I think that's perfectly reasonable.
So yes, if you want to steal my book(s), go right ahead.
But you can also just email me and ask.