When it comes to self-publishing, pirates do not exist

Piracy - a picture by Thobias Vemmenby

Pre-Internet, analog time can be described as “pay-first”. The Internet turned the world upside down in this matter. We share a lot of what we know and how we think – without asking for a penny. Internet is the wonderful “give-first” tool. Dishonesty is being replaced by as much honesty as we, who deliver the information, can give.

Obviously piracy is, and will be, a huge problem, no matter how much of a written, pictured or recorded work will be given for free, but from a point of view of a self-publisher, who is struggling for a bit of attention, pirates do not exist. Let me explain why.

One of the essential elements of a phenomenon called self-publishing is the fact that buying a self-published book is most importantly a reward to an author – for his book and for his honesty. The reader has a right – and a chance – to taste the work of an author before spending money. Free editions, free chapters, you name all the free bits and pieces. Self-publishers do share a lot of their work for free just to get noticed.

Now comes the most important part: after reading a free book, where is the reader looking to get the rest of author’s publications?

The moment someone decides to get a pirated copy is the moment he disappears. He doesn’t help the author, doesn’t leave any positive mark. Like someone who does not exist at all.

One can say: the pirate hurts, because you don’t get paid for what you did. I have a different point of view. Writing is not about how far someone can disappoint you, but about how far someone can motivate you.

It’s publishers to make estimates on how much they’ll lose from illegal distribution. Self-publishers are looking for proofs that what they write is meaningful. The writers want their books to be read – and give them enough money to comfortably write the next book. If the books are being read, but their author is not rewarded, he’s just losing his determination to continue writing. He’ll remove himself from a landscape, go back to reward-with-money-only daily job.

If you downloaded a pirated book and liked it a lot, you can still be helpful to its author, you can influence his life. Find his blog and make a donation or buy his book at one of the e-bookstores. He’ll reward you with the next book.

Download my free book Password Incorrect (ePub format), and if you liked it, you can reward me by buying one of $0.99 editions.

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