Monday, March 21, 2011

Pssst. Hey... Want some free Books?




Of course you do! Want some stolen books? Your answer would (probably) be different.

When you come across a site where you can download an author’s work for free--it’s not free, it’s stolen. It’s called piracy, and it’s not cool like Jack Sparrow. And even though I’m really flattered that my books are good enough to want to steal, it’s kind of a problem.

2653_JackSparrow300-2011-03-21-10-16.jpgWe watch TV for free, right? That’s because the TV show is paid for by the advertising. Even if you watch it streaming online, you still have to sit through a couple of ads, right? That’s so the actors, scriptwriters, directors, crew, janitors in the studio can all get paid. Sure, they make money if you buy the Blu-ray or buy a copy from iTunes. But the main way they make money is advertisements. Even movies get money for product placement.

There are no ads in my books. Starbucks is not paying my publisher to have Maggie Quinn addicted to coffee. Nor, by the way, do they pay me to tweet about them. Ditto The Cheesecake Factory. Ditto Russell Crowe. (Though if Mr. Crowe wrote and asked me to tweet about his movies, or rugby, or just about anything, I would. But for free.)

I only make money if people (or libraries) buy books. Not only that, my editor only makes money if people buy books. So does the copy editor, and the printer, and the person who reads through the slush pile, and the janitors, and the cute security guard in the lobby of the Random House building. (No. Really. The time I was in New York, there was this really hot guy in the lobby. He was probably an out of work actor, but I’m not complaining.)

But this is not, entirely, about the money. It’s about not-supporting book piracy. Here’s the deal: When you download one of my books to a pirate e-book site someone is making money off of us both. Why? The site has ads and sponsors, and that money isn’t going to me, my editor, or the hot security guard in the lobby.

What’s a pirate site? ANY site were you can download my book for free. You can read my books online on Google Books, but you cannot download a copy legally.

If you can’t afford to buy the books you want to read, go to the library. Team up with friends--if four of you each buy one book to share among you, that’s four for one! Heck, I would rather you go to a used bookstore and buy a copy of my book (recycling!) than download it from a pirate site.

You may think you’re doing me a favor if you upload my book to one of these sites. More people will discover the awesome RCM! And don’t think I don’t appreciate the thought. There’s even a certain logic behind it, like giving away free samples.

But the better way to help spread the RCM love is to tweet about my books, leave reviews onBarnes and Noble and Amazon and Indiebooks and other commercial sites. Review and recommend me on Goodreads and Library Thing and the Reading Room.

Heck, pass your hard copy around your school. Not only that, if you write to me, I’ll send you bookmarks you can pass out to your friends and classmates. (I have brand new ones, with The Splendor Falls on one side, and Texas Gothic on the other.)

It’s not that I’m greedy. It’s just that I have dogs to feed. But if my books don’t make a profit, the publisher isn’t going to want to put out any more from me. And that will make all of us sad. You, me, my dogs... probably not Russell Crowe, but I can dream.

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