MusingsWritersWriting

Called Home To the Mothership and Book Piracy

I am sitting here in shock.  SHOCK! I tell you!  We’re in grant writing mode around here, which isn’t all that unusual as projects are ending and new funding must be acquired.  The shocking part is the my boss, whose research methods have been questionable at best over the projects I’ve worked with her on, is actually following a previously tested model, has a theory in mind to test, and is actually pulling tried, true, reliable and valid measures rather than just pulling questions from here and there and making crap up as she goes.

My husband’s response to the news, “Is she an alien cybernetic organizm sent to replace her because the motherworld called her home?”

I can only assume that he’s right and that the defective model has been called home for service.  Pot thought this was questionable, but we decided they must be a benevolent race.

In the meantime, the rest of our team is reeling, as we’re not sure how to deal with…logic and sense from her.  We are cautiously optimistic.

In other news, it’s Piracy week and there are many and sundry articles around the web discussing the issue of ebook piracy.  One of the best I’ve read was Nicole Peeler’s post discussing why book piracy hurts authors, particularly new authors.   She explains it much better than I can.  Go read it.  And while you’re at it, hop over to Amazon (or elsewhere) and order a copy of Tempest Rising, Nicole’s debut.  End pimpage.

She makes the very salient point that the fewer books that sell (particularly for a new author), the less likely that author is to be able to put out future books.  Not to mention the impact on royalties.  Seriously, go read it if you haven’t.

This is all really scary and disturbing to me as a writer, particularly an unpublished one still trying to break in.  The odds are so hugely stacked against us to begin with that to have the additional hurdle of pirates effectively sinking our little ship is kind of terrifying.  If that first book doesn’t sell well enough, the likelihood of being contracted to write another (or getting another published under that name) shrinks by a LOT.  To someone who wants to do this for a living, that’s terrifying.  I think I have always known that I will never be able to do NOTHING but write for a living.  I will always have to have an evil day job just to keep health insurance and help pay bills.  But still, confirmation that that’s the case is really depressing.

I think that with a few exceptions like Stephanie Meyer, we’re largely seeing the end of writers who achieve the kind of insane fame of Stephen King or Nora Roberts.  I have to wonder if these people would have gotten as huge if piracy had been so rampant when they were starting out?  Tess Gerritsen makes a really good point in her post yesterday where she talked about a famous musician friend who can make a living at it only because he acquired his fame before music piracy became so rampant.  New musicians really can’t do the same.

The whole damn thing is really sad to me.  I was telling Zoe yesterday that it seemed like the only thing that might actually deter pirates would be if there were some way to cause a computer virus to activate when someone pirated a book.  It wouldn’t be perfect because the hackers would go and remove it just to prove that they could, but it might teach a lesson to a bunch of people.  Or there’s always the possibility of pulling off a sting like Microsoft recently did regarding the mass burning of Xbox 360 games for use on modded consoles.  I don’t think there will ever be a perfect solution, as with each new technology, there will be anti-establishment hackers to cut through it, but it’s worth a thought.

3 thoughts on “Called Home To the Mothership and Book Piracy

  1. Stephanie Meyer became famous, while piracy was running rampant. She hasn’t been around that long. There will still be big names. The field on which authors are going to have to play is just shifting. From offline world to the Internet. It’s a big world full of opportunity.

    And bitches, don’t tell me nobody else can get big… I intend to become epic! 😛

    1. LMAO Crystal! I don’t know why that struck me as so funny. It’s because Publisher’s Weekly came out with this “study” (I think it was PW) that said the publishing industry was losing like 3 billion a year to piracy. (Which isn’t real math, it’s imaginary math based on the false idea that people who pirate a book would have bought it if they couldn’t pirate it, and treating digital things like physical things that once it’s sold or stolen it’s gone.)

      So then everybody jumped on the bandwagon and started talking about it.

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