It was barely a month ago when my clumsy fingers clunked out a piece on how self published authors were finding their books being ripped off in their entirety. The Atlantic had written a story about the outright stealing of the books of self-published authors, as in, people taking a book and trying to sell it as their own. “It is just another extension of the ongoing battle creativity fights with the monetization of imagination,” I wrote.
I wasn’t surprised by this, particularly given my day job as an Intellectual Property attorney, but I was nonetheless a little astonished by the sheer audacity of it. Still, I felt comfortable that my book would not be in trouble of being threatened by such a plagiaristic intrusion. In fact, I wrote the following in that article:
While I feel confident that my minuscule novel is most likely safe from this kind of attack, partly because it is minuscule and partly because it is literary fiction, which has a readership the size of the population of Liechtenstein, I still found myself with palpitations of despair.
Boy oh boy was I wrong! Just nine days after I wrote that (9 days?!?!), I was notified by a wonderful reader and fan that they had found my book be hawked for free. It was like that one quote above pissed off some twisted fan and they thought, “Small book?! I’ll show you author! I’m going to steal it now!”
(Shout out to the lovely Kailei Marie, who immediately emailed me about it when she found it. If you want to read wonderful reviews and content, check out her awesome book review blog Common Book Sense. If you want to maintain your false sense of security and importance in this indie book world, don’t check out Kailei’s awesome blog. You will quickly wonder how she has such a wonderful blog at the young age of 15. I did and have questioned myself ever since.)
Kailei had found Pieces Like Pottery being given away for free through a Google doc.
I notified Google of the infringement immediately, and Kailei did too. I have yet to hear anything from Google about it (no surprise), but the Google doc is no longer accessible to me. It has now been locked and is available only to approved users.
Maybe Google is behind this. Maybe the doc is no longer accessible because they heard my complaint and removed it. Maybe, but I doubt it. I think it’s more likely that “the offenders” have simply blocked me from seeing the Google doc link. The book is still being pushed for free on their site.
(Yes, I realize I just publicized a link for an illegal site to access my book for free, but this is about the principal of it, not the money of it. If you’re looking to avoid paying a cup of coffee for my book, you and the site are made for each other.)
While I don’t believe my book in any way is making this site tons of money, I still am left wondering how much they are affecting my ability to become a legitimate indie author in the current book market.
Nearly 5 stars from nearly 10,000 readers! Bogus? Probably. But hell, I’d take a tenth of those readers.
Before you start screaming to me that it’s a scam and those 10,000 reviews aren’t real, I know. Save your breath. I fully realize that there’s not 10,000 lost readers out there. Look at these garbage fake reviews for my book for crying out loud.
OMG, Jenny! You’re so welcome for all these Pieces Like Pottery. You should feel so lucky that you also have access to all these Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabans!
Pieces Like Pottery is your most wanted ebook, Markus?! I don’t mean to insult my readers- I love all of you- but cmon man! There’s so many other ebooks to covet!
Dap it, Hun, but do it under the table so no one sees. You’re so cool. You’re a stud. I’m sure all the girls want to sleep with you because you can get a free copy of Pieces Like Pottery. All the guys must be so jelly.
Whoa whoa whoa. Georgina. Sweetie. Cmon. What don’t you understand? This isn’t advanced calculus. No one presented you with the equity premium puzzle. This is pretty simple. Martin explained it well. Actually, Martin probably explained it in too much detail even. She could have stopped at, “Just click.” That would have been enough. I’m with Ida here, honey. This is simple. It probably takes less than 5 minutes actually.
This one I actually can’t make fun of. I mean, Lisa was suspicious when she was sent to this “membership site,” but she’s excited now! I can’t stay mad at you, Lisa. Many you’re welcome kisses right back at you.
Does this mean I’ve finally made it as an author? Someone is stealing my book. I hope I don’t get a big head now. My friends are going to be so mad when all this fame and success changes me. Ahhh, screw ’em. Let’s get out of here, Lisa.
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