Looking to Pirate my Books?

I’ve been a little quiet lately because I’ve been a little depressed about something. I’ve been working every day, so my sadness hasn’t affected my output thankfully (and, hopefully, A Knight to Remember will be out tomorrow, depending on how the final edits go today!). But I’m an honest person, and I’m also pretty open about stuff, so I thought I would share with you what’s made me sad.

A lot of people pirate my books. A lot. At Rose and Star Press, we purposefully make certain that every file we put on sites like Amazon, Smashwords or Barnes and Noble is not DRM encrypted. What does that mean? That basically means that if you pay for our books on one device, we want you to be able to put that book on any other device you want, so the book itself is shareable. Now, of course, this is a double edged sword (and I know that making books DRM encrypted doesn’t even protect them then). Making the books shareable means that people who purchase the books can then, of course, immediately put them on pirating sites.

It’s a universal problem with eBooks that, of course, there will be people who pirate them. And I know that, essentially, there’s nothing I can do to stop anyone from downloading an illegal copy of my books.

But I can certainly ask you to please reconsider doing so.

My lifelong dream, ever since I was a kid, was to be able to share my stories with the world. When Natalie and I opened up Rose and Star Press, we were ecstatic. Here was the opportunity to make a difference in the world. To put out good, beautiful stories about women who love other women, and gradually open it up to a genuine publishing company with lots of opportunities for lesbian authors.

The les fic community is very small. The people who pirate my books come to this blog and read it.

So I’m asking you to please…don’t pirate my books.

I work very, very hard on my writing. I spend months of my life on each novel (in some cases, years), and I agonize over every word, making it as perfect as can be. But it’s not just that. I’m a living, breathing, feeling author who needs money to put food on the table. I’m not a rich person, though I really wish I was. I don’t have a “normal” job…being an author is the only way I make money. And every time a book of mine is pirated, that’s money out of our food budget for the month. There are some months where paying our bills is questionable. We, thankfully, always manage to just squeak by. But it’s very hard when we’re having a difficult month to see how many people find this blog by searching for pirating terms, how many people upload my books to torrent sites.

It makes me feel sad, defeated and small.

I’m a really positive person, but I’ve been sad about this for awhile, and I wanted to try to turn it around if possible. We’ve been having a hard month, and I’ve been stressed about money. So instead of being upset that people are pirating my books…I thought I’d try to do something positive about it.

If you honestly, genuinely do not have the money to purchase one of my books–please email me. I will send you the book that you wanted to read, free of charge. I know that, sometimes, there are people who pirate eBooks because they’re poor, because they want something good to read and a lot of libraries don’t exactly have a booming lesbian romance section. As someone who has money struggles, too, I know it’s heartbreaking when a book comes out, and you can’t read it because you don’t have the money to get it. I get that. I understand it.

So please don’t pirate my books. If you can afford to buy them and pirate them: I ask you to please, please, please reconsider and buy them instead. I want to tell these stories, and I love telling these stories. Please support that if you want to read them. And if you can’t afford to purchase my books but want to read them…please just tell me, and I’ll make it happen.

The lesbian fiction community is small and wonderful. It’s full of really good people who band together, who support each other and who support putting more wonderful romance full of strong women who love each other out into the world. Like me, every single author out there is a living, thinking, breathing, feeling person who has tried, so hard, to write a good book that you’d enjoy. If you want to read those books and support that by paying for them, we can keep doing the thing we most love to do: write stories that you love.

Thank you. 🙂

Edited to add 9/20/15:  A lot of teens have been emailing me lately, telling me that the reasons they were looking to pirate my books is that they aren’t yet out to their parents, and by buying/checking a lesbian book out of the library, they could get into horrific trouble and their safety would be in question.  I understand so deeply.  I underwent horrific physical/mental abuse in my teen years (I came out when I was fifteen) by my parents and was made homeless at the age of eighteen because I was a lesbian.  The story of my early years is very hard and very sad, but what this means is that I empathize, deeply, with what you are going through.  If you are in this situation (or anything like it), please email me, and I will send you any book of mine that you want.  I want you to have access to stories that make you smile, that uplift you and help you escape the harder moments.  That’s why I write what I write, after all.  🙂 ♥

About Bridget Essex

Author of lesbian romances; madly in love with my wife, author Natalie Vivien.
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28 Responses to Looking to Pirate my Books?

  1. gentasebastian says:

    Hi Bridget. I’m sorry this has been happening to you. I know how hard it is to create good literature, how many hours are spent with aching neck, strained eyes and sore fingers. You deserve to be paid for your efforts.

  2. Ameliah Faith says:

    Every time my author friends say this my heart breaks and my faith in humanity takes a hit. I am so very, very sorry this is happening to you. You offer is so very kind and generous. I have not read your books yet but I WILL put the money in the budget and get it asap. Hang in there, you are loved!

  3. Terri Stark says:

    Bridget, my dear friend, I write with tears in my eyes. I felt your pain as I read your words. I am so saddened by this information. Honestly I never thought about people pirating books. Movies I have heard of. It’s not like your charging some ridiculous amount for them. As our world continues to change it amazes me how people always find a way to take something awesome and ruin it. My thoughts are with you and know I support you always and happily have paid for everything I read. And as you know I read a lot. XO to you and Natalie hopefully your words will make those who deserve to feel like crap !!!!!!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I totally get what you’re saying. Indeed! I can’t afford to get your latest releases now however I choose to wait until I can pay for them. Life is hard, yet you deserve to get paid for what you do. Chin up.People need to start considering how their actions effect others. We know that pirating means the authors don’t get paid for their hard work, and there is no excuse. I do commend you for offering free versions though, that is very stand up of you.

  5. rhavensfyre says:

    Reblogged this on Rhavensfyre authors of lesbian fiction and commented:
    No author should feel depressed about writing. I want to thank all our readers, and readers in general who support their favorite author.

  6. Pingback: Things that caught my eye | Andi Marquette

  7. kannemeinel says:

    Reblogged this on K'Anne Meinel and commented:
    I feel EXACTLY the same way! Please read this!

  8. This is a very depressing subject, no doubt about it. If you spend a lot of time on it, it will definitely eat away at your creative drive. I wrote three blogs about it a while back just to be able to put some of it behind me. But the piracy continues because of a hard core group of people who feel entitled to free everything after they pay for their very expensive toys. Nothing we say will change their minds and every excuse they offer is just that, an excuse.

    If you start with this link and scroll down, you’ll find various posts on piracy that I’ve written: http://blog.kallmaker.com/search/label/Business%20of%20Books.

    When you reach the bottom of that page and click for “older posts” you’ll find PIRATES AVAST which is going to sound very familiar to you. My point is, you’re not alone in feeling depressed and abused by book piracy. Shocking to think I wrote this four years ago. I wish I could tell you that it changes.

    Keep your eye on your pages and on what you want to see in the world – that’s what you can control. It does help with the depressing side of the business that you can’t control.

  9. Ressan says:

    I’ll start by being honest, I was looking for a copy of your book online for free to read and it led me to here. After reading what you wrote I feel bad about looking for your book online without paying for it . I’m not rich or anything but I will buy a e-copy of your book from amazon. Just wanted you to know that by being honest and writing about how you felt made me change my mind and buy a copy instead .

  10. Jill says:

    I am in the same boat as Ressan, I was looking for your book for free because I really cant afford to buy all of the books you have wrote that I want to read. I will be waiting to get my refund from college and spending some of it just to buy a few of your books. I wish you the best of luck and hope that this post has changed other people’s mind to. I am truly sorry

  11. I’m not gonna lie, i came here cause i was looking for a pirate copy of your book. But then i felt so ashamed that i couldn’t go on in the search. So after reading the preview i was dying to know more about Virago and Holly then i bought your book. I’m still reading and loving it every page! Thanks!

  12. Tsundere says:

    Just stumbled upon this, and I’m sure you know how…

    I fully intended on getting the book free, being that I just heard about it, and this is where I ended up. I will not pirate this book, or any other of your books for that matter, if I enjoy this one. I shall wait until I get paid.

    Thank you for posting this.

  13. Alex the otaku says:

    I wish it were as easy as I didn’t have enough money. I read the first to chapters on preview on kindle and I loved it! I am only 16 though and my parents are well lets just say less than supportive. They always try to dig into my personal life (not in a good healthy way either) and give me no freedom. I know they would question and look up what kind of book it is since I have no bookstores around my small town and no credit card either. Though ounce I get out of here and have the mental strength (and whole bunch of ice cream for the after math) I will buy everyone of your books I swear! For now I will live on homo-boneless for now…

    • Hi Alex! I completely understand–I was made homeless at the age of eighteen for being gay, and went through some horrific physical/mental abuse when I was a teen by my very religiously conservative parents (I came out when I was fifteen). Email me at bridgetessexauthor@gmail.com and I’ll email you whatever stories of mine you want to read. 🙂

  14. Hey, Bridget! I can tell you right now that I don’t pirate books. I totally understand why people who are experiencing hard times, whether financial or emotional, do so. I’ve had months when my bills have gone unpaid, so I definitely understand the financial incentive. I’m one of the lucky ones, although it’s a sad commentary on our society that this is true, whose parents were supportive, even though they weren’t exactly ecstatic about my coming out. So I feel for Alex and others going through the same kind of stuff that you yourself have experienced. And I’m a bit in awe of you, making your books available to those who want/need them. The one thing that’s difficult with ebooks, is that when I buy a paperback (or hardbound book, although good luck prying one of those out of my library) if it’s an awesome book, I lend it to my family and perhaps even a few friends. And it’s weird to think that if I somehow “loan” an ebook, I’m actually committing piracy myself. So I haven’t actually been able to share your books with anyone other than my wife, who I’ve logged in to my Amazon account through the Kindle app on her tablet. It’s one of the most frustrating parts of buying and reading ebooks. For me personally, I can’t think of a better way to let you know how much I enjoy your writing than to purchase a book, and write a review. Keep writing! I hope your words touch more and more people who pirate books simply because they think they shouldn’t have to pay, and make them realize that what they’re doing affects a lot more people than even just the author. And I can’t wait for more Knight books!

  15. Adele says:

    Hi Bridget, I’m really sorry to hear about this. I know all to we’ll about people who pirate books(and films) as I know alot of people who do it despite my telling them how morally wrong and unfair it is to the people who write the books (make the movies). I hope this post helps to start to sort it out. But you are so sweet to offer people who can’t afford to buy your books a copy if they email you. As someone who buys alot of books (alot of the time instead of food or heating for my flat) I think that’s amazing. Especially since its also so hard to find good lesbian fiction. Reading your blog post just made me want to hug you. And speaking as a late 20’s woman who is yet to come out to her parents, I understand teenagers who would want to read your works but can’t for fear of being outed. I just want to hug them too. I hope everything works out and please cheer up and stay positive. **big hugs**

  16. Denny says:

    in all honesty I used to pirate books and music because I couldn’t afford them and now that I can afford them I always support the author or musician but the fact that you’re being very understanding of the fact that some people simply can’t afford your books is amazing, the world could do with more people like you in it :)… now excuse me while I go buy some of your books haha.

  17. authorgenta says:

    Reblogged this on Authorially Yours, Genta Sebastian and commented:
    This was originally blogged two years ago, but I find it extremely timely, as I’m afraid too many of us do.

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