Why yes, Virginia, 2012 is the Year of Wankmageddon.
Last week a group of writers went all atwitter (hehe, sorry couldn't help myself) about a new and blatant piracy site, LendInk. Twits (ok, done now) multiplied like rabbits. Facebook (is FB still popular?) did whatever Facebook does (I know, I just don't FB). The war cry went out via writer's circles to: Bring. Down. LendInk. And lo and behold they succeeded. LendInk is down and might never return.
Perhaps that should have been a clue, a spoiler, if you will, that something was not quite right. After all, piracy sites are like Hydra (either the classical mythological or Avengers versions apply here): cut off a head and two more sprout in its place.
Well, it turned out that LendInk was...wait for it...perfectly legal. Yup. It was in the FAQ. It was a legit lending site that was basically setting up customers together. Kinda like a book dating site for Kindle and Nook users. They were quite transparent about their business.
Oh, but wait, says the angry mob of hysteric authors, we did not give you permission to lend our books!
Well, yes, yes you did when you agreed to the Terms and Conditions of both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, there's this pesky section that you allow to have your book be lendable.
So the witch hunt brings down a perfectly legitimate site. Congratulations! You should all be very proud of making all of us (even those of us who were going, "WTF? Did you read the FAQ?") look like asshats.
Which brings me to real pirates and piracy and pirating. Errr, Matey.
Dear Fellow Authors,
You can't stop the signal. Don't bother. Go write. As Neil Gaiman points out,
It's people lending books. And you can't look on that as a lost sale.... What you're actually doing is advertising. You're reaching more people. You're raising awareness.
Jackie Barbosa wrote a terrific blog post but this really resonated:
...discoverability is the second reason I don’t particularly worry about piracy. NOT being discoverable is worse, I believe, than anything else...
Now, some might say, "What do you know? You're not being pirated."
Yes, yes I am. Me. The speck of dirt on an ant that I am in publishing. In the end pirates will either not read your book at all, read and become buyers, read and become superfans who will go out of their way to spread the word and generate more sales for you.
So, as the Year of Wankmageddon continues, all I have to say is....
PS. I finally finished my smutty take on Little Red Riding Hood and it will be available, well, soonish ;) I'll be having some whipped cream vodka as celebration ;)