Posts Tagged ‘Pirates’

Digipocalypse? Anecdotes to Explicate

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Since I’m a writer, I also read a lot. A way lot. And, since I’m also a geekish sort and pretty facile with technology I feel like a have a fairly good handle on how the digital revolution has impacted reading. As a writer, I tend to pay attention to what’s going on in the publishing business as they deal (or not) with Digitial Reality.

I’m a digital Reader!

Here’s a few salient facts about me as a reader.

  • This week I bought 4 print books and 2 or 3 eBooks.
  • I own an iPhone and I read books on it using Stanza and the Kindle App.
  • For Christmas last year, I bought my mother (82) a Kindle, which she uses, by the way.
  • Before I had an iPhone if I bought a digital book, I either had to read it on my computer (Ick! I already spend too many hours at a large monitor!) or print it out, stick it in a binder and read it in bed. Pre-iPhone, I didn’t buy too many eBooks.
  • On average, I buy probably 100+ books a year. Now that I have my iPhone, that number is more like 120 or so I bet.
  • I got the first Sookie Stackhouse book as a free read in the Kindle app for my iPhone. I bought the rest as ebooks AND as print books.

eBooks are in their infancy in terms of appropriate use/existence of technology. When I bought my mother her Kindle, I had been paying close attention to what readers were saying about their experience with eReaders. (This was pre-Nook,etc) Mostly the experience sucked. I knew the Sony Reader was a no go from the start. My mother is 82, for crying out loud. There is no way in heck she could possibly deal with the multi-step process for buying and reading a book on a Sony Reader. I knew from what I was hearing and from my iPhone experience with the Kindle app that Amazon had made it dead easy to buy and read a book on the Kindle. The decision was a no-brainer.

Here’s what happened yesterday. I was a bad girl and followed RomFail on Twitter. I laughed a few times, I confess it. And then I went on Amazon and I bought the RomFail book. I read it for myself that night. From time of decision-to-buy to time of having-the-book on my iPhone: <30 seconds. Let me repeat that. LESS THAN 30 SECONDS. It wasn’t the same kind of impulse decision I make in a bricks and mortar store, but it was an impulse decision nonetheless. Powered by Amazon. (Let’s see you do that, Sony Reader Store — oh wait — does that even exist anymore?)

The book, in my opinion, read like the first draft of a story that, in the hands of competent author, might actually have been a decent story, after massive revisions. Who knows if this author is competent. She didn’t work on the story long enough to prove that she was. (This is where some digital publishers do a grave disservice to authors. Rejection is a teaching point, albeit a painful one. Books like the RomFail book prove that some publishers have such low standards they hurt an author’s chance to get better. But that’s another post.)

This weekend, I was in my local Independent Book Store that I love to death and where I spend $40-70 every time I walk in the door. There was an author signing her mystery novel. At first I was going to buy her book, because, oh gosh, I know what’s it’s like to be an author at a signing where no one buys your book. Readers just come for the cookies. But I looked at the book and it was iUniverse. In other words, she self-pubbed it. I did not buy it. See paragraph above. iUniverse has NO standards. If you have money, they will print your book. No thank you. If I’m going to buy a self-pubbed book, it will be AFTER I have heard from multiple sources that the book is great. Like Bill Deasy’s Ransome Seaborn. That book is great.

The Digital Author

As an author, I do digital all the time. I write most of my books on the computer, with the occasional print-out to read and experience on paper so I can see more stuff to fix. When I’m done, I email my MS to my editor instead of having to buy expensive paper and Fed-Exing the damn thing.

My editors, mostly, send their revisions electronically. I also email back the revised MS. One of my publishers also does electronic copy edits. This saves time, paper and money. Huzzah!

And now, my new releases also have digital versions (Kindle, Fictionwise, etc) available from various and sundry vendors.

Two of my older books, except for the two REALLY old ones are out of print and never had a digital version. One of them in particular is widely pirated and it happens to be the one that I get the most email about, too. My more recent books show up on the pirate sites within minutes, it seems, of hitting the book stores. I only hate the pirates who sell my pirated books. I don’t hate the pirates who make the books available because the evidence is that those pirates are actually helping my sales.

At the moment, I don’t stress too much about pirates.

Publishers

I don’t think publishers should stress so much about pirates either. Yet. Probably Nora Roberts and her publisher should stress about her pirated books, since the evidence says that hurts authors like her.

I think publishers should stop hiring people to chase down pirates and start hiring people whose job it should be to listen to what book readers want and then help the publisher deliver that. Plus think of stuff book readers don’t even know they want yet.

Publishers should stop treating readers like criminals in waiting and treat them like people with money to spend on their product.

My son does not read much any more. There are one or two authors he’ll read, though. My nephew, however, may be a writer-in-waiting as he is a massive reader. My son has a laptop and an iPhone. What, I often wonder, are publishers doing to entice my son’s digital time to their products? Nothing that I can tell. He plays WOW a lot and I would complain and shut that down except his last report card was 5 As and 1 B. He’ll be in honors English when school starts again. Shrug.

In Conclusion

I have no conclusions yet. Only anecdotes and opinions, as I am rarely without an opinion even early in the game.

What are your anecdotes, conclusions and opinions?

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Something that makes me Mad – Reasonably or Not

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

So, I was checking my Google Alerts, which, it turns out, is a way to perform Stupid Web Tricks while at the same time achieving plausible deniability. It’s a total win for authors, in a passive-aggressive way that completely appeals to me. There are also some unintentional chuckles.

Historical readers may know that two of my books are Lord Ruin and The Spare. Google Alerts on these first of those two titles are quite often links to role playing boards where Lord Ruin is a favorite character name. Who knew? Or else really strange religious poems. A fair number of people seem to pray for the Lord to ruin them or something. Alerts for The Spare often end up at pages talking about spare change or the spare room or something equally silly and uninteresting to me.

Today, however, I got a Google Alert that led to a pirate-torrent site where someone wrote, more or less:

This is my first request to this board. If someone could please upload My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel I would be grateful

This post completely exploded one of my main reasons for not objecting to pirate copies of my books. Don’t worry (or do, depending) I have reasons for objecting, too. That reason is that some of my books are not available in digital versions and/or are impossible to find at reasonable prices used.

My Wicked Enemy, however, IS available in multiple digital formats and, in fact was not so long ago offered as an Ebook for $1.99. This book is also easily and cheaply obtainable in paper (but they kill you on the shipping if you buy on line.)

What am I to conclude except that this person wants something for nothing? At my expense. And I’m not talking about some amorphous lost sale of a new book.

To be brutally honest, my first thought was Lady, if you like my books, for the love of all that you hold dear, go buy my book, because I need every damned sale I can get if you want there to be more books by me.

Really. My ability to stay published is dependent on two things: 1) Writing a really good book and 2) Sales.

It doesn’t matter how good my book is, if sales are poor, my publisher, rightly, will be saying to itself, this is not an author we should publish again. And they would be right. They’re in this to make money. Trust me, at this point in my career, future books are NOT assured. At my level, every single book sold counts. It really does.

That was my knee-jerk reaction.

What I wish is that some independent 3rd party would do the study that determines whether pirating helps or hurts an industry. There are arguments made both ways and I find some of each to be persuasive in varying degrees. To be honest, the helps side seems to point to the same tired examples of the same exceptional cases and adding in that pirates won’t buy your stupid book/album/software anyway so why bother. The exceptional case, of course, with books, is Cory Doctorow, an author who 1) does NOT write romance (his market is completely and utterly different from mine) and 2) is already at the top of the author heap.

You can be pretty damn sure that Cory Doctorow must have a sweet deal with his print publisher such that he can make digital versions of his books available for free. There aren’t many authors who are going to get that kind of deal, and if they tried to insist, there wouldn’t be any deal.

It’s not like publishers don’t get that giving away books stimulates sales. Hachette gave out loads of free copies of My Forbidden Desire prior to and immediately around the release date. They don’t, however, have a constant and unending supply of free books for people.

I don’t have any answers because I recognize that I do not have sufficient facts to reach a conclusion.

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Ahoy There Me Hearties!

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Today me friends, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Google in Pirate: have Google search in pirate. Just click the link. You’ll see what I mean. If you use iGoogle, by the way, there is a setting where you have have your searches rendered in Pirate. Fun!

Videos to help you out:

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