Avast, Ye Mateys

I meant to post this on Saturday, but the local internet connection was pretty lousy for some reason, and I kept losing my post. I hate it when that happens.

Anyway, I was busy venting my annoyance to the blogosphere regarding an ever-growing problem among independent authors: online piracy.

You see, I’ve been pirated. It isn’t the first time. I was aware almost since the publication of my first novel, A City of Wood, that someone had nicked it out from under me and was offering free downloads of my baby on the worldwide web. At the time, I felt flattered that anyone would go to the trouble, and weirdly disappointed that there wasn’t more interest in it. For most of the past year I couldn’t find that anyone else had actually downloaded the pdf from the pirate site. The general consensus of opinion, among writers more experienced than I, seemed to be that trying to chase down the pirates themselves would be like playing Whack-a-Mole and that my time was better spent writing new stories.

Even Neil Gaiman had a YouTube video on the subject:

Then the hell that was Summer 2014 descended upon me.

I ran out of money.
I spent most of the spring and summer in a fruitless and demoralizing search for outside work.
For the entire month of July, I didn’t have enough money for bus fare.
I went to bed feeling hungry more times than I care to admit.
I became a burden to my worried family.

When summer finally turned to fall again, I managed, through the generosity of my long-suffering relatives, to get a buffer on my rent and food. Things are starting to look up again, for which I am grateful. And I found another pirate site on the web with my books on it. It now shows 1,009 downloads.

That’s 1,009 people who have downloaded my books without paying for them. When I think about how desperate I was for that money this past summer…well, I hope you understand how galling it is for me.

I could have gone to sleep with a full stomach. Or at least one that wasn’t so empty.

I needn’t have become a burden to my family.

I could have…

But we aren’t playing “could have” and “should have” here. That’s never really an option, is it?

So the question remains, what to do about it?

Here is what I have planned: for the moment, I shall leave things as they are.

When I finish the third book in the trilogy, A City of Air, (I’m still hoping for the Christmas season) I will submit it to KDP Select. This means that it will be exclusive to Amazon, and for a brief period each month, it will be free to download. I will let you know when each promotional period begins and ends.

At the time of its initial release, I will put the first two books on sale for 99 cents for a period of two weeks. Again, I will let you know when the sale begins and ends. After that, all three books will go back to their full price.

In addition, I will probably put the paperback versions on sale for the same promotional period. Keep watch here for discount codes that you can use to get the lower price. It will also be for a limited time, and I’ll keep you posted when that happens.