I'm dropping by to give you all another update on the 4shared website that has illegally shared so many authors' works.
Mine were removed--as were many others--after 2-3 brief emails with 4shared. It wasn't time consuming and I didn't find it half the battle as when I was fighting for the rights of authors to keep their signature lines on Amazon book reviews, which we can do now although they had been deleting reviews by authors who had done such.
It's a small win, having your work deleted from pirate sites.My other posts on piracy:
Do I think this solves the issue? Not at all. My work could end up right back on the site, but for now I'm satisfied. At least I took a stand against something that is legally wrong.
The word "copyright" and subsequent laws protecting our copyrights are there for a reason. When a pirate distributes an ebook, they are making illegal copies and conversions, sometimes even scanning a printed book. While there will always be people disobeying this law, it is in authors' best interests to not sit passively and allow this to happen.
Over the past week or so I've been contacted by a number of authors who were not happy to see their works pirated. I was also contacted by the agent of a very well-known bestselling author. She wasn't pleased to find her client's works on 4shared and she and the publishers involved are taking steps to have the works removed. 4shared has been fairly easy to work with on this matter.
As for Joe's belief that authors should sell ebooks for $1.99 to see better sales, that's not a guarantee. Not every author has the fan base or history of publishing with big publishers as Joe has had, and whether he wants to believe that makes a difference or not, it does. Having a series also helps in this situation; hook people with book #1 and they'll come back for more because they want to know what happens next to those characters. I KNOW that if I'd been published by a major or even mid-list traditional publisher, my work would have reached far more people than it did publishing with a small traditional publisher. It's a no-brainer.
That doesn't mean Joe hasn't worked hard. When I read about all his promotional strategies, I'm exhausted. :-) And good for him for being so pro-active on this. Many authors think it's up to the publisher to market their books. It's not.
Regarding ebook pricing: Pricing your ebooks at $1.99 does not guarantee you higher sales, and new authors really need to understand this. It's your fan base and marketing strategies (which includes pricing and much more) that will lead to high sales.
An author with a new release SHOULD market her books a bit higher to put value on it and also so that later, when the book has been out awhile, she can discount it to make it more attractive as a backlist or older title.
This doesn't mean she can't put it on sale every now and then, or give away some free copies--both great marketing strategies.
Anyone who's ever been in marketing & sales (that was my background prior to becoming a published author) of other products will know that new products hold better value. If you start with $1.99 ebooks, you don't have much room to go in discounting, especially since some retailers have minimum prices you have to charge (like Amazon).
Though I bowed out of this debate awhile ago, I'm still reading posts here, plus the many emails I've received privately from authors and (surprisingly) admitted "pirates". Though I appreciate their reasoning and can even understand why they do it, I can't condone it as others here have done. For anyone just weighing in on this debate, it is far better to investigate both sides of the piracy issue before making a decision. And trust me, if you aren't an author or if you haven't been pirated, you have no idea how it feels to have your work stolen and re-distributed. Pirates don't usually download a book they aren't interested in, and in that, authors have lost a potential sale. Period.
But I do agree with a couple of points my new pirate friends mentioned: ebooks need to be priced affordably (less than $5 seems to be the consensus, easily accessible to all ereader devices and easily uploaded. Smashwords.com seems to understand these concepts and I believe they have the most versatility when it comes to formats. My books are all available through Smashwords. Plus, their coupons make it easy for me to discount my books for special sales.
By the way, Smashwords, Amazon on other retailers offer a LEGAL method for people to "distribute" authors' works. It's called affiliation. As an affiliate, you can advertise an author's works on your site/blog (which is very supportive) and then earn money on sales purchased via your affiliate link. Former pirates could then earn money to buy more books. I am more than happy to have others distribute my works this way--and we all win.
I'll leave you all to continue this debate. I've said what I need to say on this subject, as you can see on my own blogs about piracy.
I encourage authors to read everything they can on piracy. Don't take my word for it, or Joe's. We each have strong opinions on what's right and wrong. Make an informed decision based on more than a couple of authors' (or pirates) opinions.
Support Authors, Buy a Book! :-)
Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling Canadian author