Monday, October 6, 2014

Pirates-Walk the Plank

Piracy, I'm not talking the swashbuckling you encounter at your annual pirate festival, or in your local movie theatre. I'm talking about thievery. Little ole me has been the victim of piracy. Arrr.
A friend of mine, who's also an author, recently discovered four different places online where her books were being offered for illegal free download. This was the first time I'd heard this from someone I knew. Yeah, I've read about it, but have never known anyone that was a victim. 
While my friend advised of how she reported these illegal websites, I randomly decided to look up my own book. Dun, dun, dun. I found three pirate websites that were also offering illegal downloads of my book. My book! My baby! My creation, I love and cherish it, and some jerk thinks it's okay to upload it to an illegal site and offer it up to everyone and their mother? Hell to the no!

I filed my forms and sent messages to the sites, warning they were infringing on my copyright, and to please take my book down now! One site boasted of almost 1200 copies downloaded that week. That is 1200 copies of my book, downloaded for free, without my permission. Where's my sword? 
Now, many authors will use free promotions, once in a while, as a marketing tool. However, those promotions are sanctioned and controlled by the author. The author uses and tracks that information.
Piracy, is unconscionable.
For a newbie author, every sale is important. Every time someone reads my book, it's a thrill. I anxiously await a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I hope that fans of my work will spread the word and recommend it to other readers, or leave reviews, which is its own form of recommendation. The thousands--because if it was 1200 in one week, I can only assume the total is in the thousands--of twerps that illegally downloaded my book, didn't even do me the courtesy of posting a review. If I had thousands of reviews, I could maybe forgive this, but no.
I feel violated.
What is a writer to do?
Google yourself and your book titles. Do not feel guilty for stalking yourself online. It's a necessity. Once you find these sites, report them. Send a message. You have rights! If the site or blog is hosted, contact the host.

Do not allow pirates to plunder yer booty.
Writers, has this happened to you? How did you deal with it? Do you have a process in place?
Please leave a comment.
Jennifer Senhaji

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