The random musings of Kate Grace
I have Google Alerts watching out for me everyday, letting me know when new mentions of Burden of the Soul go up on the Web. Mentions in chat rooms from people recommending a next great read, new reviews from bloggers or readers, etc. It’s a great tool, but an alert came through the other day that left me a bit conflicted and opened my eyes as an independent author to a scary reality.
Piracy is real and something I now have to worry about.
The post about Burden of the Soul was in a forum asking for people to upload scanned copies of books in whole or part. There were requests for a number of authors including Leigh Fallon (her first book came out not long ago and it’s already being pirated) along with authors who have been around for a while. It’s flattering any time you come across someone who wants to read your book, but it’s also a bit disturbing. It feels like a violation. Something I worked on for so long, put hours and hours into months after months for over a year… someone wants it for free, not as a gift or a prize… they just want it for free and are willing to take it, steal it and deal it.
I responded to the forum post explaining copyright and offering to lend my own copy of Burden of the Soul to prevent any uploading. I’m fully aware it’s not going to stop the threat of piracy. This person could probably turn around and still do it. (Though I hope they’ll recognize this as an act of kindness and return it with one.)
Here’s my thoughts on this, and I’ll try to keep it short: Piracy of any kind is wrong. I realize people assume since Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling are rich now, all writers must be! Untrue. So very, very, very untrue. I have yet to make a red cent off of my book even though copies are selling! Why? Because this all takes money and I’m doing it on my own. So when you steal my book and put it on the Web for people to read, you (as a reader) are spitting on the process. You are telling writers, “I’m never going to give a shit about you or the work you put into this… I’m entitled to this entertainment because I want it and therefore I take it.”
I’m guessing people that use piracy don’t see it like this, and don’t realize this is the message they’re sending. They see it as, “Hey, cool… a book!” However, just as publishers and authors and agents are all chirping about how the industry is changing in this digital landscape, readers need to be aware of their new role developing in this: gatekeepers. With independents gaining speed, it’s up to you to spread the word about books you like and champion them so they succeed. Champion the authors you like so they’re able to continue writing. It’s the American Idol approach to literature now, folks… and it’s all up to readers.
So what kind of reader are you going to be?
I’m a writer now because I started as a passionate reader. I believe in my gut there are those that love literature, reading and writing enough to be its champions now when it needs them the most. To pump this developing/transitioning industry with good energy… with Good Karma.
I’m never going to be able to convert everyone in the world to recognizing the negative influence and basic “wrongness” of piracy enough that they don’t act on bottom line impulses, but I can try and rally the new Gatekeepers around combating it with Good Karma. So that’s why I’m starting Karma Copies for Burden of the Soul. I’m going to start with three paperback copies. Each will be sent anywhere in the United States to start, and the person who kicks it off will be a complete stranger to me. All that I ask is that the recipient first sign the book when they are done and then pass it on to someone else they would recommend the read to. Then that person does the same. And so on… and so on… and so on.
We’ll keep track of these three Karma Copies and their journeys… like in grade school with pins in a map!
So how do we decide who the lucky three are? You tell me. If you love reading… if you LOVE Young Adult Literature… if you’re DYING to read Burden of the Soul, post on the Facebook wall, comment here, send me a Tweet, email me personally and state your case. I need to trust that you are the perfect person to start the Karma Copy’s journey in the right way and commit to passing it on.
Lets embrace this new way of doing things and pump some Good Karma into the mix! Start stating your case!