Some new Little Miss Mayhem photos (aren't you glad I don't have grandkids?)
Wish I could say the same about the photographer...
Yesterday, I discovered via a fellow author, Em Petrova, a new book piracy site: bookos.org. I checked to see if any of my titles were listed and sure enough, The 90 Day Rule was #4 on their list when I typed in my name (Diane Nelson is a surprisingly common name for authors, mainly of the academic ilk).
They offered two options: download an EPUB version of the book FOR FREE or click on an Amazon link. So I did. I now have my very own pirated copy of my book.
How cool is that?
NOT COOL AT ALL.
As many of you are aware, some authors, Neil Gaiman for one, seem to think that piracy will lead to increased sales. He sees it as 'people lending books' and finds no fault.
Bully for him. Mr. Gaiman is a famous author with sales out the roof. He is the last one on the planet who needs a bit of name recognition or promotional help to pimp any of his titles. In short, if someone elects to give his work away, the sad truth is... he can afford that loss of income.
I make a few cents on a sale. All of my books are priced on the low end of reasonable for the simple fact that I want to have my work in the hands of readers and one way to do that is to keep my prices low enough to be attractive but not so low as to shoot myself in the foot, economically speaking.
When the largesse amounts to cents, one has to squirrel those pennies away very carefully. The process of writing is not without an investment: of time, energy and actual cash.
Books can take months-to-years to complete. Authors hire outside editors to polish the narrative to the point where either an agent or a publisher will give it a second look, or spiffy it up enough to self-publish the title with a modicum of pride in having done a decent job.
Editors ain't cheap: going rate runs anywhere from $1-2/page, double-spaced.
Then there's the cost of a book cover. You have to purchase the rights to the photographic elements and then hire a graphics design person to put it together into an eye-catching package: ka-ching. The range might run $25-300. That all out of pocket before the title sees the light of day on Amazon.
If you are lucky enough to have a publisher, some but not all of those costs will be absorbed. The fact remains: someone had to pay for those services before the product is offered for sale.
That's real money. And every time someone downloads a 'free' book off a pirate site, that's lost income: to the author, to the editor, to the book designer and the publisher.
That book is NOT FREE, let me say it again: that title you just downloaded was STOLEN. You are now in possession of STOLEN GOODS.
Authors are not creatures wallowing in mountains of disposable income. I know of no one who makes a living at being an author exclusively. Oh surely, the A-listers do, but I'm not them, nor are any of my colleagues.
And we have bills to pay: rent, groceries, kids to cloth and educate, parents to support. We write because it's an avocation. But I know of no one who masturbates with a keyboard just for the sheer pleasure of self-pleasuring the frontal lobe with a clever narrative arc.
The music industry went through a version of this, but as my buddy Aaron Speca points out, musicians are not authors: they have alternatives to getting their work out to the public via concerts, media outlets, etc.
By the way, Aaron has a very well-reasoned set of blogs (which include balanced pros and cons) on this very topic:
David DiSalvo claims, on Forbes, that piracy is the "New Advertising", something that's well within everyone's budget because the losses are so miniscule as to be insignificant.
Really. No, seriously?
Quite honestly, this whole thing makes me ill. I would never think to steal someone's intellectual property, that's not how I swing. Why others are so thoughtless as to discount the hard work of others is a problem I attribute to the Entitlement Generation, to those who seem to think that if it's on the internet, it should be free.
Obviously they are wrong. But what can I do about it?
I issued two DCMAs to the offending site and within 24 hours the title was listed as 'removed by author' with the Amazon link still active.
Mercifully there was only one title. I know of authors for whom their entire catalog was pirated, including work offered on their blogs!
Honestly, there's so many freemiums out there, titles offered via KDP Select or via websites, coupons from Smashwords or sales on OmniLit/ARe and other ebooksellers, that there's absolutely NO EXCUSE TO STEAL.
I offer serialized books, FOR FREE, as a thank you to my dedicated fans (all 6 of you! xoxo).
If you can afford a Kindle, honey, you can afford 99 cents to $4.99 for an eBook.
Be part of the solution: don't download pirated books! And if you find a pirate site, please report it, because if you don't, you may find that one day, in the not too distant future, that there's nothing new to read when the greed of a few destroy the compact between reader and writer.
PIRACY? JUST SAY NO!
The Firstborn and young master Czar are at Fair Hill, MD for a 50 mile endurance race today. The boys left in the wee hours yesterday morning to beat the rain and get set up before it turned into the usual hip-deep slop.
That left Mom to tend to critters, something I haven't done since my operation. Not that I minded since the Firstborn made it all so very easy for me.
Nothing should go wrong, right?
Well, nothing except for the weather to turn biblical, with rain coming down sideways, the wind howling around the corners of the house... that kind of thing.
Me and Little Miss Mayhem hunkered down for the day. Mr. Bob was safe and dry in his stall. I looked out the window to check on the chickzillas. All seemed fine.
The view from the house on a normal day:
Now a close up:
You can kinda see them, on a relatively clear day. That wasn't yesterday.
So I said, "Hmmm, well they are being smart, staying out of this miserable weather," and never gave it another thought.
Until this morning. I went into the pen expecting to be mauled, like they do, but not a hen in sight. I hadn't let them out. They've been locked in the hen house all this time (without food and water).
Bad mom, bad, bad, bad!
I scattered seed, filled water buckets, then opened the door and jumped out of the way. It was a jailbreak of epic proportions!
Feeling massively guilty, I treated them to all the eggs they'd laid since yesterday (yes, you crack them and throw shells and innards onto the ground and stand back because it ain't purty).
On the plus side, Mr Bob followed me around, treating me like his best buddy. He misses Czar but he's being very good all by himself.
A little sunshine, frost on the ground and a very pudgy Arabian by the name of What About Bob.
Good start to the day.
After (now isn't that better?)
And here's a shout-out to the nice folks at Parkland Nursery. You done good!
Ah yes, this is the be-happy-you-aren’t-me week.
Today ‘sucks septic piles’ (a quote from Poppet, rather unforgettable and oddly appropriate for the day). The first septic tank is buried out front. I actually knew the location from the obnoxious white pipe sticking out of the ground. So, years ago, I decided to hide said offending object with ‘plantings’.
No one mentioned how happy those planting would be, nesting as they were over a wonderful source of nutrients.
So happy they have taken over the front yard. Several of the joyous beasties wear thorns, others simply growl and refuse admittance.
That's a barberry bush (and I must admit it's one nasty-a** piece of work).
Do you see that mugho pine just to the left of the door? That came in one of those 1 gallon pots with a tag that read something to the effect: low growing, 2-3 ft tall, 3-4 ft wide.
It's currently being chain-sawed into bite-sized bits and a nice young man is hacking away at the roots. I asked about transplanting.
He grimaced. I dropped that idea.
This is a flowering plum. Apparently it isn't supposed to be that 'branchy'? Oh well, that why God created pruning sheers.
I'm not sure how they will handle getting the hollies under control. These bad boys are looking to take over the house.
Dunno, I just dunno.
All I can say is ... better them than me.
However, some days the internet is chock-a-block full of things-I-need-to-know. And, thank the Muses, there are oodles of very nice folks who collect and disseminate information on their blogs, packaging the data bites into handy linkable URLs (I will admit to being smitten with them for making my life easier, or not).
Today was one of those embarrassment-of-riches days with articles on:
Publishing and industry trends: I especially liked the discussion on point #3 about author platform building (prepare to be discouraged)
Jane Alexander looks at Twitter with an eagle eye, asking that burning question: does hawking your wares on Twitter actually sell books?
Writing hints & tips, including this most excellent tutorial on POV: this is a must read/bookmark/copy 'n paste into a Word doc to save for later Ultimate Guide (I kid you not, you need this!)
James Scott Bell gives really good advice on How to Write a Short Story
Jane Friedman tackles KDP Select and the reasons why/why not an author might want to use this 'tool'.
Joe Konrath has another spin on KDP Select and why it's working for him.
And although you might be 'eh' over Amazon's acquisition of Goodreads, you still might like this handy summation of what to expect in the future and how it might impact you as both writer and reader.
Phil Giunta has a nice blog: About This Writing Stuff. It's filled with handy-dandy links. Check him out periodically and save yourself some surfing time and trouble.
And for those of you needing a Little Miss Mayhem fix...
After having all your lady parts vacuumed out (or however they achieved that little feat of legerdemain, I didn't ask for details), you would think something would hurt. So when the good doctor prescribed a beefed up version of Tylenol, I was all ready to send yon Firstborn to Rite-Aid and load up on some 'good stuff'. (I'm tough, but I'm not stupid.)
But, as luck would have it, no pain, zero, zilch, nada, bupkis.
Yippee for me.
Except, not. I have a *very* high pain tolerance to begin with, and if I don't hurt, then I tend to ignore good medical advice and do things I shouldn't.
Let's not go into details except to mention there was a 4 pound lift limit on the after-surgery instruction sheet.
A snow/icestorm kept me from my first checkup, another one made me pause but I drove anyway. Good thing. I'd popped an unspecified number of staple-stitches.
Uh, not *that* kind...
Anyhoo, Dr. P's very thorough exam (involving metal expanding devices, a strange alien-eyed flashlight on a tentacle-type support, stirrups and stuff that will keep me up nights if I think on it too long) revealed the 'to be expected this far out from surgery' miscreant bits.
Not to go into squeamish details, but let's just say the word 'cauterize' was used and employed.
To her credit she tried to distract me with questions about my son and the horses and the chickens and even the new kitty. All worthy topics on which I'm happy to riff indefinitely. Just not ... then.
Glinty-eyed, she asked/stated, "You didn't drive here today, did you?"
Uh, yeah. (Now, in my defense, she'd OK'd 'short trips', like to the grocery store. I'd put a little spin of 'independence' on that. My bad.)
Recognizing that that ship done set sail, she cautioned about doing 'little things around the house', followed by rest periods.
'Little things' at my place involve manure forks, front end loaders, 100' of garden hose and a gallon of chlorox to scrub the stock tank.
I leave gathering up the dust bunnies to Little Miss Mayhem who has been surprisingly adept at discovering all those hidden treasures.
She's being especially endearing today.
Now if I could just teach her to lick the kitchen floor clean...
Writer of fantasy and contemporary romance.