Friday, May 3, 2013

Pirates & Trolls But No White Knight by Beth Fred

Hi everyone, and thanks for having me Misha!

I wrote a couple of novellas about six months apart. I love them! I love the characters. I think they’re great books. A lot of people agree. Some won’t, and that’s okay. The only thing that really matters is they’re mine. I wrote The Fate of A Marlowe Girl seven months into a problem pregnancy. It’s a short story, and because I was so sick it took a whole month to write it. I wrote the second book while taking care of an infant. I love my little ELF, but writing with a baby in your arms, or while rocking a stroller with your foot isn’t easy. So for obvious reasons, these books are special to me. But they’re chattel to others, so I’m here to talk about pirates and trolls in our modern world.

I uploaded the first book to smashwords a few weeks before its planned release date. I only left it live long enough to download a copy and see how the formatting was working out. But in that amount of time I sold a copy. Yay! No one knew it was available—and really it wasn’t. I unpublished it until closer to the release date—and still it sold a copy. A pirate bought it. I know because months later I put its original title into a search engine to see how it was doing. The first pop-up was a site for free ebooks. It had more illegal downloads than legal downloads! I didn’t get upset. The title and cover were going to change anyhow, so the pirates wouldn’t have the new version. I planned to make the first book free when the second released, and I wouldn’t release the second anywhere but Amazon. No real loss. Maybe some people who really liked the first book would buy the second.

I enrolled in Kindle Select, because I was only going to use Amazon, the cyber bully, to prevent pirating. The same thing happened again and I feel like Amazon encouraged it! Amazon is refunding ebooks with no questions asked for seven days. I uploaded the book weeks before its release date to create buy links for my blog tour host. That night I sold two copies of the second book and one of the first. All three were refunded within hours. The next morning both books were on dozens of websites for free. I was furious and heartbroken! Not only had my work been pirated again, but Amazon contributed to it. And the pirates got it for free. This is happening a lot. Not just to me. You can sign a petition against Amazon’s refund policy here.

Then I got stupid. I tracked the pirate to find out who stole my work. I found her bragging about how good she was in a forum. She saw a fb post where authors were complaining they knew their books had been pirated. Furious, I pasted the screenshot. That’s when I started getting trolled. 1 star reviews started popping up on goodreads from places where the book wasn’t legally available. In two days time they had my 4.5 star rating down to the low 3s.

So in this modern world, we have pirates and trolls, but there are unfortunately no white knights. If you’re a writer your book most likely will be pirated. Do a cost benefit analysis. If you’re self-published is it worth it you to pay for Muso? Until you have several books out, it probably isn’t. But once you are making a steady income from your writing, that’s a good investment. They’ll get your book removed from illegal sites for you. If you’re going through a publisher to make publish an ebook make sure they have a legal team, or use Muso. Other than that roll with it. There isn’t much you can do about it anyhow, and most of the people who were going to buy your book won’t download illegal copies. It’s not fair, but it’s life.






Available at: Smashwords Amazon




About the Author


Meet Beth Fred! That's me! I'm a full time ELF keeper and part time writer/blogger/writing instructor. I'm represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency. I like my tea hot, my romance sweet, and my guys chivalrous. Real men hold open doors, refer to you as ma'am, make promises they keep, and aren't afraid to profess their undying love. It's not breakfast if there aren't carbs (at least, not in the South). Fajitas, carnitas, and churros are just few of my favorite things. Bet you can't guess where I'm from ;) Wanna know more about me? Find that here:

Twitter: @bethfred08 

30 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, your books were pirated fast. My publisher watches for pirated versions, but I'm sure they are still out there. I'm not going to worry about it.

Beth said...

Thanks for hosting me, Misha

Beth said...

That's for the best. I think the most frustrating thing is that they were both pirated before being officially released.

shelly said...

Thanks for posting this, Beth.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Steven J. Wangsness said...

Since my book's available for free, pirating isn't a problem. In fact, for me, having it pirated and spread to other websites would be a plus, since all I'm really interested in at this point is getting my name/work better known. But for those relying on e-sales for income, piracy is just plain theft, and those who do it should be ashamed of themselves.

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

I have had poems "Taken" from my blog and by chance was browsing through a poetry blog found my poems with different names as the writer.
It's not nice at all.

Yvonne.

Carol Kilgore said...

Writers need to be vigilant. Great post showing the dangers we face. Nice to meet you.

Hi, Misha!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Beth, nice to meet you. Your books were pirated really fast. We writers do face the danger of pirated books.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Nice to meet you Beth and congrats on your books.

Gina Gao said...

I've had a couple of posts and essays pirated before. I guess you just have to pay attention to what's happening.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

L.G. Smith said...

Wow, that is a tale of caution! I have a friend who had a book of short stories stolen. She was offering it for free, but the pirate took it to another site and was selling it! She found out and got it shut down, though. Crazy stuff.

The Golden Eagle said...

It's amazing how fast stuff can be illegally distributed.

I've never heard of Muso before, but it sounds like a useful service if your work does well enough. Thanks for the tip!

LD Masterson said...

I understand the limitation of legal protection here but does no one remember things like ethics and morals?

Beth said...

I was with you on my first book, but I wanted to sale the second.

Beth said...

I actually think that's worse. At least this had my name on it.

Beth said...

Yeah, I was surprised to learn lots of these "piracy" sites offer payment in one form or another. Like one of the sites my book was on allowed other users to "donate" credits that could be converted to cash for downloading a book from the pirate that the pirate never paid for.

Jill Haugh said...

OMG. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing your story Misha. What a world...
~Just Jill

Nick Wilford said...

Some people don't mind it because at least your name is getting out there and it's a compliment in a way. Still though, I'd like to be in control of having my book given for free.

M Pax said...

I'm sure some of mine have been pirated, but I'm not too freaked about it yet. Later in my career, I'll go MUSO on them.

I want to sign the petition on the refund policy, but couldn't get the link to work. I'm also upset that Amazon is considering reselling our ebooks as used books at some point. I really don't want them to do that. That's just wrong.

Jeff Hargett said...

MUSO was news to me. (Just goes to show that even computer nerds can't stay on top of the web.)

Here's to your success despite the piracy, Beth.

celeste holloway said...

How awful! With all the pirating, it's tempting to not offer e-books, but so many people only read digital now days. I can't believe Amazon offers a 7 day refund. That means everybody could get out books totally free and read it all the way through! I'm signing that petition! Thanks for the great info. I love your book covers! Congratulations!

Sharon Bradshaw said...

It's not easy being a writer, and can't be helpful when words are taken in the end by someone else for their benefit, without that person having gone through everything it's taken to write the book, story or poem. Notwithstanding this, Misha, Congratulations on what you, the true writer, have written.

Kelly Hashway said...

I remember when all this happened to you, Beth. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Amazon needs to get this refund policy under control. I'm sure this is happening to a lot of people. I'm not sure why readers don't understand that authors need to make money too. This is our job. We should be paid for it.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Wow! Quite an informative post. BTW, thanks for visiting and following my Victorian Scribbles blog. I should be posting again soon.

randi lee said...

I've been pirated before and completely feel your pain!

Sangita Kalarickal said...

This is really scary!. I knew about piracy but thanks for the details, Beth! Thanks Misha for inviting Beth to post, am going to share this post on Facebook.

Sarah said...

I am grateful for but dislike posts about pirates and trolls. On one hand, it's good to be informed, know what's going on, and know ways to stop it (performing searches, using Muso, etc). On the other hand, this is the kind of thing that scares new writers away from taking the plunge and publishing their work.

Thank you for sharing your experiences, Beth!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

That's so awful that that jerk stole your story and gave it away for free! I didn't even know people could illegally download books; that's totally lame that they do that, especially because if they really wanted free books they could just go to the public library. I can't help wondering if that jerk who was bragging about her misdeeds was a failed writer who's jealous of writers like you; maybe that's why she pulled that stunt. Or maybe she's just a jerk.
By the way, Misha, I gave you a Liebster award; it also comes with questions. But you don't have to answer them or tag anyone else; I just wanted you to have the award. :)

J. A. Bennett said...

Oh man, I can't believe that happened to you! That has to be the worst feeling in the world. I guess it's something I have to look forward to. Thanks for the honest post!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

The advantage of Kobo (and I'm guessing it's the same for Nook) is you can't return the book, unless there's a technical issue. Smart move, otherwise your book is a library book, but you make no money on it.

Sorry about the piracy issue, Beth.