Everyone knows having your books pirated makes the authors more money. No one actually loses money from it. Listening to authors whine about this just annoys the hell out of me.
I’m an adult so I can go to the library when I want; I won’t be priating anyone’s book — but I won’t be touching this woman’s nor any writer’s book that complains like this. Just like I don’t read books by authors who don’t like fan fiction and won’t read authors who cause wank. I won’t even check them out from the library. There are plenty of books to read they aren’t by shitty, selfish authors.
You have to remember that as an author your reputation matters. If you aren’t grateful for what you have, no one is going to want to give you more.
Also, remember that authors are paid upfront for their books. Even if their books bomb, they aren’t going to lose the money they already sold their book for. The pre-agreed price of what they said the book is worth. The publisher is. Royalties are simply a bonus, if and only if the books do so well they make them. They aren’t the payment for the book to the author; the payment for the book already happened.
If you want to argue for buying books, your argument should be all about how when a book does well the publishers make a lot of money. Money they then use to buy books that they normally couldn’t afford to buy; that gives those books — that they know they (not the author) will lose money on — a chance in the market.
Uh, no. We are not all paid up front for our books.
The only time Ari and I get paid up front is for novel length works. The novellas and short stories don’t come with advances; we only get the royalties, so if they don’t sell, we don’t get paid. When a novel-length work accepted, we do get an advance of $250, but we have to pay it back to the publisher out of our royalties. Only once the advance is paid back do we see money from the sales of the novel.
Yes, we write in a niche market, so our experience may not be representative of most writers’ experiences, but unless you’re on the level of Stephen King or JK Rowling who can command big advances because they’re pretty much guaranteed big sales, royalties matter.
10k advance is more than some families make in a year. Obviously, I was talking about novels. $250 is plenty for one short story. Of course you have to earn out your advance, that is why it is called an advance and the reason royalties are a bonus.
(Edit: I completely read that part wrong. I wouldn’t be accepting $250 for a novel I wrote, unless I just had no faith in it. Then again paperback romance is different than traditional novels, they don’t have to have the quality of writing and they go for much less. It is a lot easier to write one a month, but it would be a lot of work for little reward. You are not in the same situation that the OP with a YA novel is. She would have been paid the 10k for her novels.
Though, honestly, I’m not sure I wouldn’t take $250 for straight to epub novels. There isn’t a lot of money in ebook only sales. But I wouldn’t think of it is as my job. It would be a hobby that it is nice I’m making some money from. It wouldn’t be my job.
You have to be realistic. When you are a professional you do what people want you to do; you don’t do what you think is fun. So to be a professional writer you have to write what the people with the money want to buy. You wouldn’t be writing 50k for $250 if you were selling to traditional publishers.
If that isn’t want you want to do that is fine, but you have to accept that what you are doing is a hobby then — writing for yourself — not a job. If you make money, great. If you make enough to live off of, awesome. But don’t blame your readers, your lack of readers, or people who don’t even know if they are interested yet.)
You choose to do your job. And being that you are making royalties you are doing quite well. But you shouldn’t be counting on them for your income, if they aren’t a steady reality for you. If you aren’t making enough money to live off your writing, then you don’t quit your day job.
And you sure as hell don’t blame the readers.
When you sign that contract you agree that this 50-80k words are worth 10k. But to expect that to be it, and you’re golden? Yes, writers have to work everyday just like the rest of us. Yes, they need to write more than one book. Yes, to make a living wage they have to write more than one book a year and have it sell.
No worker in any industry gets to take their time and making their products and just get paid anyway. You don’t build one house a year, and say well that should be enough. If you build only one house a year, then you get paid for only one house a year. If because you took your time that one house is amazing, then it is probably going to make you a lot of money. If everyone hates it, then it isn’t.
That’s just life.
If you write 1k everyday (very easy, I do it) five days a week for six months, then you have written 120,000 words. Then you spend the rest of the year editing it and depending on how long your novels are you could have two to three novels a year. (There are much better time lines than this, but hobby writers do this many words.) IF this is your output then you are working a part time job and will be paid accordingly. Don’t complain about being paid a part time wage for part time work.
A professional writer should be writing as least 3k - 5k five days a week, if they are wanting to make a living off of it. That’s what a full time job is. This is what freelance writers do. And novel and short story writers are just as much freelance writers. (There are also events, etc. But that is no different than any other job, either.)
If you want to talk about our economy and how everyone is suffering, then I’d be all for it. Because that is also a reality and maybe with rising cost of living 10k for a novel should really be more like 20k or 30k. But that is a different conversation altogether.
Trying to guilt people who make far less money than you do, and don’t have the ability to even attempt to make the money that you do into giving you more money is selfish and rude. Especially for something they might not even like or want.
Just because something is available to you, does not mean it is available to someone else. Just because you had friends that would lend you books, doesn’t mean everyone does. Just because you had access to a library, doesn’t mean everyone does. Just because you have an ereader and a few extra dollars, doesn’t mean that everyone does.
The OP writes for teenagers. And is mad at them for not having the money to buy her books without even reading them first? Or for actually being smart with their money and wanting to know they will like the book before they buy it? I lived under the poverty line my entire childhood. I loved to read, but I simply will never buy books unless I’ve read them first. It is a waste of money. If my library doesn’t have the book, then both me and the author are SOL. Some people have that money to waste, and I’m happy for them. I will never be that person, though.
Plus, this is basic flaw in logic.
You are acting as though these people were going to buy your book and decided to priate it instead. That’s not what happens. They were never going to buy your book to begin with. The only reason they are reading it is because they are getting it for free. You aren’t losing sales, because they didn’t want the book to begin with. In short, people without money can’t buy books at all and won’t. People with money are going to want to make informed decisions about what to buy.
The poor are told enough how worthless and unwanted they are. They are already told they don’t deserve a home, or food, or a stable family environment. They don’t deserve parents that have time to spend with them instead of being worked to death by our economy. And now a YA author is telling them they don’t deserve stories they can get lost in, and characters they can fall in love with. They don’t deserve these things, because they are poor.
Just because you are poor does not mean you are worthless!
See that’s what these words, aimed at her teenaged readers, are saying: You are not entitled to free entertainment. You are not entitled to steal my next paycheck.
"Don’t read my books unless you have money or your community has money! I don’t want your fanbase otherwise" is how this reads.
Though I guess she probably only writes for the middle-class white teenagers, therefore they have to be the ones that are entitled. Her readers have to have money, because she doesn’t write books for the kids living in poverty. The author demanding people to buy her book when they have no interesting in buying it yet can’t possibly be the entitled one.
Yes, as a writer it does hurt that others get to tell you how much your work is worth based on how it makes them feel personally. But it isn’t much different than every other job out there. No one (well, most people) don’t get to set their own pay.
Never, not once, have I ever said that a poor person is worthless. Not in my original post. Not elsewhere. NEVER. Everyone has worth, and I’m fairly positive you either misinterpreted my words or read what you wanted to in them.
That said, no one is entitled to STEAL entertainment. Not me, not those poorer than me, and not those richer either. We are not talking about life essentials like food, water, and shelter. We’re talking about books. (Which I love, but they are a luxury, not a necessity)
My words are not aimed at teenage readers, as you claim. They are aimed at EVERYONE. I am trying to bring attention to a very really issue that many artists face and spread awareness.
I also want to point out something VERY important: When I said “authors get paid royalties twice a year,” that does NOT mean I’m getting cut a royalty check twice a year. Because I’m not. I have yet to earn out my advance.
And here’s a truth: this is the norm. Many writers don’t earn our their advance or they wait 3+ years after publication before they start getting minimal royalty checks.
When I said authors get paid royalties twice a year, I should have said, authors SEE royalty statements twice a year. We see how many books we’ve sold, and many times, we’re informed we are still $X dollars away from earning out/getting a check.
Keep in mind that an advance is an author’s salary and only source of writing-based income for about two years—that’s the average time it takes a book to go from sale to on shelf (at least in the YA market). So in the $10k example floating around earlier, that’s a two year salary. (This is exactly why so many authors work multiple jobs. We get that this is reality. That doesn’t mean we’re any less annoyed to see our books pirated.)
re: how most people don’t set their own pay. This is true. My roots are in web design, another creative and artistic field. Our clients paid my employer (the design firm) an amount they thought was fair for the work. A contract was signed. But my salary STAYED THE SAME. I was guaranteed (with the exception of being fired) the same income at every bi-weekly pay period. If a client bailed, or backed out of a deal, or even STOLE digital web design files from my employer (this never happened, it’s just an example), my paycheck remained unharmed.
An author does not have this security (a territory that comes with the job), but the scary part is that an author’s future pay is determined by their sales. If their numbers aren’t what a publisher deems reasonable, they might not get another book deal. Worse still, publishers might stop investing in as many books, period. If people want books in the world, they need to support books through LEGAL channels. I’ve discussed the library already, along with other options.
Lastly, I just really need to get this off my chest:
I’m getting so tired of feeling like the bad guy in this conversation. If a person wants to pirate my books, there is nothing I can do to stop them. It’s their call, and I acknowledge that. But I am NOT going to pretend that I’m okay with it, that I approve of piracy, that they aren’t breaking the law, or that I’m cool with another rogue copy of my book floating around. (This is one of the main issues with piracy—the distribution factor and how one copy easily becomes thousands. More on that here.) And I’m certainly not going to let people make me feel guilty for wanting to get paid.
Trimmed for space.
I will never feel guilty for wanting to be paid for something I spend a year or more working on. I am not okay with people making the victims of piracy (authors, and eventually readers) into the bad guys.
I find it sort of amazing that Tumblr hates injustice so much, but call out the piracy issue and force people to think about the fact that their “free entertainment” is actually hurting people, and that sense of entitlement rears right up. And the backlash becomes victim-blaming (“it’s your fault for having ebooks”), recommendations to be satisfied with the status quo (“it’s going to happen anyway, so might as well enjoy it”), and the burden of doing something about the problem is placed on the people being hurt (“maybe don’t have ebooks, but definitely stop talking about it on Tumblr”.
You know what else I’m not okay with? The implication — by people who support piracy — that it’s poor people who really need piracy so the can read.
a) Books are not food, water, shelter, or clothing. They are a luxury. Authors want everyone to be able to read, but they are not a necessity.
b) Really? You want to paint poor people as thieves? That’s your argument? That is appalling.
c) For piracy, one needs access to a computer, smartphone, or some kind of device that can allow illegal downloading. Obviously I can’t know everyone’s situation, but I tend to think people have more important things to spend their money on (like necessities) than smartphones. Library cards are free.
So really, stop acting like piracy is for poor people.
Another note about advances and royalties: They don’t have taxes taken out of them, like regular jobs. So yeah, maybe someone gets paid a $10,000 advance. That is split up in two or three payments over the next two years. 15% of that (deservedly) goes to the agent. ($1,500.) And 1/3 of every payment has to be set aside for taxes. ($2866 total.) That leaves $5634 total, but then divided by 3 payments. So that’s about three payments of $1878** over two or three years. Yes, I’m sure people could live on that if they had to, but why should they? Why deny them royalties and the opportunity to earn more, if their book does well enough to earn through the advance? And it’s the whole advance they have to earn through, not just the part they actually get to keep.
**I think. Math is not my strongest.
Authors know piracy is going to happen, but we don’t have to like it. We don’t have to accept it. And we certainly don’t have to shut up about it.
To use another example floating around this thread: you don’t go into a restaurant, eat an entire meal, then decide you aren’t going to pay your bill — but it doesn’t matter because the chef will get paid either way. You don’t claim that your refusal to pay your bill actually helps the restaurant make more money because you’ll tell people you liked the meal.
No. You eat the meal, and you pay for it. (Even if you didn’t like it.) Oh, and you tip the server, because speaking of being poor… .
Books are the same. If you’re worried about not liking it, read samples. Read reviews. Ask friends who’ve read it. Check it out of the library. Park yourself in a bookstore and skim through it for a few minutes. Wait for the ebook to go on super sale. (My first has been super cheap twice since it came out in 2012.)
There are options. They don’t all involve free books and immediate gratification, but paying for things and waiting for things never hurt anyone. No one is entitled to have their free books immediately.
This is it for me on this thread. I’m out of here to work on my book. I have to put in another 12-hour work day and hope to God that the book makes enough money for my publisher so they’ll buy another one from me and I can afford to continue writing.
Time is making fools of us again.
#namethatbook has some updated rules. Mainly, the hashtag is going to be a requirement from now on.
BUT, there will be more winners. Two per round, to be exact. One to the fastest answer, and one randomly drawn from all other correct responses. (#TeamSlow, I heard your pleas.)
Spread the word and invite your friends. We’ll be playing again shortly.
(Source: , via kathrynroseksk)
This has always been my favorite quote from the entire series. *feels all the feels*