Monday, August 16, 2010

The future of the future?




Almost every writer I know sets Google alerts for her/his name and book titles. I do. I want to hear what people are saying about my books. Lately, the alerts have directed me to illegal download sites as well as the usual blog reviews, bookclub discussions and fan comments. As of this morning, I have seen stats claiming that my Resurrection of Magic books have been downloaded over 60,000 times.

Free.
Wow.
I am not a cave-dwelling preservationist, I am a futurist. I am fascinated with the rapid-change era I live in and can easily see many human advantages to being able to access all the arts free of payment. But…wow. So I whined a little on Twitter. ((One of the many good things about Twitter is that even whining must be brief.))

I tweeted that I'd spent the morning a little sad over downloads. Neil Gaiman , a writer I admire a great deal, a man who has 1,480,401 (so far) people who follow his every word and drown him in tweets, somehow noticed and answered my whine:

Neilhimself @kdueykduey I don't mind downloads. I figure nobody who's going to buy something won't, and it just makes readers. Your mileage may vary.

Which is pretty much what I think when I can stop multiplying my royalty rate by 60,000 and let my brain kick in again. It's easier for Neil to say because of his income level, but I think he's right. I also think there is no turning back so I intend to look forward. Cory Doctorow, ((a visionary SF author, journalist, BigBrain, and very nice guy)) drove his publishers crazy putting up whole books to download on his website. But then his book sales went up. WAY up. Word of mouth matters.

So here’s the deal. If you download my work for free, and you like it, do me a favor.
Talk about it.
Tell everyone you know how interesting and odd the books are.
I promise to write more.

Then, consider getting the next book at your local library--also free, and a great place to meet the other reader-teens in your area. Camp by the YA section and see what happens. And when you are happily dating someone who is both hot and your intellectual equal...

Go here:
http://www.kathleenduey.com/
click “contact”
And thank me.


The picture is of Volubilis, the southernmost limit of ancient Roma, as far south as they ever got, in what is now Morocco. They did not have free, stolen, downloads but figured out much worse ways to screw over their artists.

20 comments:

alybee said...

Does it help to know that I have two copies of Skin Hunger (one to keep and one to loan out) and a copy of Sacred Scars? Some of us still buy books. :-)

Love the approach you took in this post but can still understand the frustration.

kathleen duey said...

It helps more than you can know. THANKS!!

I just hope enough people buy books so that I can keep writing them. Unlike musicians, we don't really have the "live tour" option...

guenhwyvar132 aka Jenn said...

I'm still buying books too...enough that I will soon need to purchase another book shelf :)

kathleen duey said...

Thanks to you, too Jenn!!

I will probably buy a kindle or an ipad eventually, too. My own bookshelves are groaning. I just want to keep writing and am working on a way to do that!

C.R. Evers said...

So sad that people don't respect the artists. However, bravo to your awesome attitude. You're such a gracious person. I enjoyed meeting you at SCBWI LA. You're awesome!

kathleen duey said...

Artists have always starved in the winter, lived in dungie apartments, etc. I don't know why. I ask auditoriums full of kids if, when they are feeling terrible, the right music or the right book or a favorite movie can bring them back up and make them happier---they ALL put up their hands. Art saves people from despair all day every day. I guess I am just glad to have a job that matters.

Jenna said...

Hi!

I haven't downloaded Sacred Scars illegally, but I want to tell you what's up with why I haven't bought it yet.

I waited a little after it came out to begin looking for it. I didn't want there to be such a huge lag time between book 2 and 3 for me. I was CHOMPING at the bit right after Skin Hunger, and at that time, there was no release date yet for the sequel-you hadn't finished it yet! I've learned to be nice to myself on this, because when I love something, I want it NOW. Best not to torture myself twice.

So, anyhow, a little bit ago, I went to pick up Sacred Scars - first, on my Kindle, because I buy on Kindle first. Failing that, iBooks, or something like. I have a kindle, but will be getting an iPad soon, so I don't want to buy paper copies that I'll just have to sell/give away and then rebuy the same thing later electronically after I move.

Oh, wait, it's not available on the kindle. Or the iPad. Basically, my #1 format choice is NOT AVAILABLE.

Honestly, with 99% of authors, they've lost my money already. But it's you. And I want that book. So, I do what I just don't do anymore, and I went to Borders. Nope, they don't have it. Not in stock.

So I checked Borders.com, and searched availability for your book near me. Nothing. At the closest FIFTY borders locations. O_o

Barnes and Noble? Same - no stock.

I can order at Borders, and they will ship it to my local store for free, but it will be 2-3 weeks. I can order it from Amazon, but then I have to pay shipping. Did I mention that I am an extremely broke waitress, and that I don't have shipping fee cash to burn? Or that if the book arrives in 2-3 weeks, I might not have the money then, and the book gets returned (you get less money).

Basically, I'm someone who wants to give you money, and I've hit an awful lot of hurdles.

Intrigued, I checked my husband's library - no dice, anywhere in the entire system! (This is being remedied - he is ordering copies for his branch, and the rest of the system can access them as well.)

If it were most anyone else, I would have stopped long ago. I'll be keeping my autographed copy of Skin Hunger, but I don't want to buy more things which take up space in my tiny house.

I'm going to go on a limb, and say that a fair portion of that 60k downloads is because your books are not available for PURCHASE electronically. Availability does not always kill the piracy, but it does help.

The Harry Potter novels have been downloaded many millions of times - I'm one of the people who has done such a download. Why? I own the physical copies, and have purchased them multiple times. I would pay money again for REAL ecopies. But Harry is big. As in takes-my-entire-airline-weight-limit-when-traveling big. And I carry Harry with me when I'm feeling down - like when I was flying to my grandpa's funeral. I can put Harry on my kindle and carry him everywhere - but I can't do it legally. This makes me sad.

So, anyhow, that's long-winded of a response, but I just wanted you to know: I want to give you money, and am finding it difficult. Please consider asking your publishers about ebook availability for your works. I'll keep trying to give you money. Maybe it will be a lot easier for book 3 - I really hope so.

Also, 60k downloads isn't shabby - people like your stuff!

Jenna said...

(continued)

So I checked Borders.com, and searched availability for your book near me. Nothing. At the closest FIFTY borders locations. O_o

Barnes and Noble? Same - no stock.

I can order at Borders, and they will ship it to my local store for free, but it will be 2-3 weeks. I can order it from Amazon, but then I have to pay shipping. Did I mention that I am an extremely broke waitress, and that I don't have shipping fee cash to burn? Or that if the book arrives in 2-3 weeks, I might not have the money then, and the book gets returned (you get less money).

Basically, I'm someone who wants to give you money, and I've hit an awful lot of hurdles.

Intrigued, I checked my husband's library - no dice, anywhere in the entire system! (This is being remedied - he is ordering copies for his branch, and the rest of the system can access them as well.)

If it were most anyone else, I would have stopped long ago. I'll be keeping my autographed copy of Skin Hunger, but I don't want to buy more things which take up space in my tiny house.

I'm going to go on a limb, and say that a fair portion of that 60k downloads is because your books are not available for PURCHASE electronically. Availability does not always kill the piracy, but it does help.

The Harry Potter novels have been downloaded many millions of times - I'm one of the people who has done such a download. Why? I own the physical copies, and have purchased them multiple times. I would pay money again for REAL ecopies. But Harry is big. As in takes-my-entire-airline-weight-limit-when-traveling big. And I carry Harry with me when I'm feeling down - like when I was flying to my grandpa's funeral. I can put Harry on my kindle and carry him everywhere - but I can't do it legally. This makes me sad.

So, anyhow, that's long-winded of a response, but I just wanted you to know: I want to give you money, and am finding it difficult. Please consider asking your publishers about ebook availability for your works. I'll keep trying to give you money. Maybe it will be a lot easier for book 3 - I really hope so.

kathleen duey said...

I am reposting this without the website links and email address that were in it. Sorry Chase!! I don't know how old you are so can't leave your email/website in. THANKS for the kinds word!!

From Chase:

Kathleen, you are brilliant. I've read Skin Hunger and Sacred Scars five times each now. I always find something new. You are truly creative. I know it is difficult to allow the creative energies to always flow, but when they do.... Thank you so much for being such an engaging writer. You bring new meaning to character novels. Sincerely your fan, chase

kathleen duey said...

Jenna,

First, thanks and I think you might be right about the downloading partly caused by unavailability. And there is this: ALL the stores are slimming down, shrinking, wary of carrying anything BUT the very commercial bestsellers. Borders is an inch form bankruptcy, sadly. B&N is in a mess, too. Sigh.

But this place
http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780689840951/Sacred-Scars

...is a wonder!! cheaper than US prices, delivers free to much of the world, usually ships within two days.

Thanks again for all the kind words about the books. I think the plan is to release the electronic versions once the third ms is finished (I am writing it now). So the electronic versions would be available,say 6 months before the release of the last one.

All best,
k

Jenna said...

Ooooh, thanks for that link! I will add them as my first stop for book ordering! :D

Good to know that electronic versions are coming. I REALLY want to know how Hahp is doing ::bitesnails::

:D

kathleen duey said...

Chase--I can't tell you what it means to me when people like my work. Thanks for the really lovely compliments!!!

k

mer said...

From my own reading habits, I think it will increase sales for those who are not sure if they will enjoy the book. Or those who read a book and fall in love.

Sometimes when looking at a review online I wish I could flick through it in a library to see if I will like it. The book in text form will pull in those people.

And my favourite books and favourite authors I always want to buy their books so I can read them over and over. And I love books. A book in a text file just is not as fun. Even classics that are freely available now I like having in book form.

kathleen duey said...

Mer, I think you're right--I hope you are! I know what you mean about being able to sample pages before you buy a books. That is the joy of a local bookstore, or the library.

LOTS of authors put sample chapters up on their websites. I do.
http://www.kathleenduey.com

Mary said...

I can't speak for everyone, but as someone who likes to download backup copies of things I already own don't think 60,000 people are downloading without buying! Sometimes it is nice to have a copy stored online in case a friend borrows your book and loses it, or you want to check something but are away from home. In fact, if you don't mind I might have to find a copy! (my sister currently has both books)

kathleen duey said...

Mary, thanks for chiming in. Having a back up copy never once occurred to me. Hmmmmm!! If you DO visit the illegal download sites, be careful. I keep reading that some are loaded with malware and viruses and I can't tell if it is true, or if it comes from people trying to scare off downloaders and/or sell security software.

Anonymous said...

I tried to verify this and so far, after about 10 attemps, I was unable to find your book for download.

All of the sites were simple spam sites -- they are apparently scraping amazon for authors and titles and adding .pdf to the end of pages. They all say, 'Downloaded 834 times' or whatever but there's not anything actually there to download -- the links take you to another site full of ads.

I wouldn't worry about it. Though you should get the Kindle versions out as soon as possible -- if someone wants the book right away and can't find it legally, they may well turn to other means.

kathleen duey said...

Anon,
a thousand thanks for you taking the time to check. Simon and Schuster shuts down the sites I (and all their other authors) send them, so the ones I saw before writing this and several others are gone now.

You are right about the ebooks!! I am talking to my agent about it now...

Lilie said...

Hi,

I totally loved Skin Hunger, I discovered it when it was released in French. After reading it I so badly wanted the sequel that I checked amazon for the English version. I was really disappointed when I saw that it was not available on Kindle. As I planned to move I didn't want to carry a lot of books. Nonetheless, I bought the paperback because it didn't even cross my mind to download it illegally - yeah perhaps I'm a bit naive - but it would have been more convenient for me if the Kindle version had been available.

In my opinion, what is a pity too is that publishers should make combo : for instance you buy the book and if you add 1$ you can have the ebook. French publishers are a bit reluctant about ebooks so it should come from the US publishers but I'm sure it would be really successful. It's really a pity that if you buy the book you can't have an ebook from the publisher too. My point is, I really love books, especially hardcovers. However I can't stand my books to be damaged, but on the other hand I can't leave my house without a book. My Kindle is perfect for that because I can have all my bookshelves in my purse, without damaging the books and the cover. So at the moment I buy all the ebooks and then, if I really loved it, I buy the hardcover as well (perhaps you will think I'm a bit crazy), but it's really expensive so I can't do it for every book, which is really sad for me. A lot of people around me agree with that point and would be really happy to have both the book and the ebook (for holidays, in public transport..) but at the moment it's impossible because it would be too expensive for them. I don't know if publishers are thinking about it (they are doing this for Bluray + dvd for free in France) but in my opinion they should.

I don't know if this message was understandable, my English can be a bit messy sometimes :) But above all I'm really looking forward to seeing Hahp and Sadima again. I really loved your books and I'll buy the next one without a doubt.

Best wishes from France :D

kathleen duey said...

Lillie, I think that is a really interesting idea. I will be talking to my publishers soon and will tell them what you said.

Thanks so much for liking my books!