I firmly believe that I have the coolest, spiffiest readers ever. I’ve met plenty of you and I’m going to meet many more when I go on tour this week, and I am seriously excited because you guys are SO RAD. That’s why I was a bit surprised to receive this email this morning:
On Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 6:19 AM, [NAME REDACTED] wrote:
I bought the first two of your books on Audible.
Unfortunately, you or your publisher have decided to remove them from sale in Australia, and I can no longer give you money for your books. If you’re ever wondering why people are copying your work instead of paying for it, maybe you should consider it’s because you won’t sell it. Here’s to the pirates.
The first line implies that he likes my books. He didn’t buy just one, but two. Very kind of him! But then it all goes pear-shaped. By the end he’s illegally downloading my work and suggesting that I’m to blame somehow. And he kinda taunts me, right? “Here’s to the pirates.” Daaaaaang! He might as well have added, “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries!”
I like people and tend to smile at them a lot, so I’m not sure what I did to deserve that.
Perhaps the fundamental issue is a lack of understanding of how the industry works. Maybe I can help out with some info to clear up some misconceptions…? Yay! Teachable moment! Here goes:
Authors have no control over how, when, or where our books are sold, and we don’t control the price either. It’s a combination of supply and demand, various corporate policies, and international copyright law. My Astounding Author Powerz give me no say over that stuff: I can only decide what’s between page one and the end. One of my favorite authors and human beings, Cherie Priest, wrote an excellent post about what authors control. Turns out we don’t control any of the things that annoy people so much that they start stealing. So, yeah. Hope that helps, random dude from Australia. Peace.
A somewhat related side note: I’m well aware that there are a ton of issues regarding DRM protection on e-books, and for the record, I don’t like it either and I think it should go away. I applaud Baen and now Tor for selling their entire catalog DRM-free. (And that illustrates supply and demand, by the way: enough people demanded DRM-free books to convince Tor to change their policy. Support both Baen and Tor and watch the other publishers follow suit. It took Tor four years to decide, but they made that decision based on lots of sales data. The others will do the same.) Though I can’t say for certain, author input on Baen and Tor corporate policy regarding DRM was probably not a decisive factor. It’s always, always sales.
Anyway, enough about vexing sales issues and back to my spiffy readers! I’m going to be visiting Dallas, Lexington, Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, and Washington D.C. in the next week (see my previous post if you missed it), and if you’re able to come by and say hi, I’d be so pleased to visit with you! And thank you so much for reading!