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Piracy sucks and hurts all of us. Yes, even you.

Piracy in any form can hurt businesses.

Piracy to any indie or traditionally published author it is a total P.I.T.A. (pain in the butt*) when you find your book is listed on a site that is obviously a nefarious ne’er-do-well front.

As a side note… I’m totally cool with people sharing my books. I’m not okay with people passing my stuff off as their own and making money off of my work.

As of late there has been an increase of pirate sites that are supposedly selling stolen eBooks for a low low price.

So, $0.99 is too much to pay on Amazon but a person is willing to buy the book off of some sleezy site for $0.01??

Um. Wow. Okay then….

Let’s talk costs and why piracy hurts

It’s bad enough that the cost of publishing a book can be rather high ($200 if you’re lucky and all the way up to over $3000) but on top of that amount there’s the need to advertise.

Advertisement is necessary to hopefully getting some of your investment back and making sure that your book doesn’t fall into the pit of no return. No book ever should go there but sadly… they do.

However, let’s break down the costs of publishing…

  1. Writing a book (the time spent to write it) – $60 for writing app & lost time with friends & family priceless
    • Late nights / Early morning = sacrificing time with your family and friends
    • Cost of the writing software – sure you can use the free stuff
  2. Editing – Can be as low as $200 all the way up to $3000 (or more)
    • Editing software (either of these)
      • Grammarly – $30 / month
      • AutoCrit – $30 / month
      • Consistency Checker $0 / month
      • Draft Free?? – Don’t know… never used it
      • Hemingway App – $0
      • Master Writer – $10 / month
      • ProWriting Aid – $70 / year
      • Smart Edit – Free*
      • Beta Readers – Some will do this for free but don’t abuse their good will and they won’t catch everything
      • Professional Editor – Depending on the type of edit from concept all the way to proofreading the cost will vary. The more intense the edit then the higher the cost. Timeline also affects the cost too. Don’t expect this to be cheap.
  3. Book Covers – $100+ (you can get a cheap one… if you’re lucky)
  4. Formatting – $50 a book and for each variations (paperback + ebook = $100 … does not include updates later on)
  5. Proof copies of your paperback – As low as $5 and I’ve heard some pay as much $100

What’s the total?

If you’re lucky then you might be able to squeak on by with paying only $180 if you chose to go with a free writing app, AutoCrit for grammar checking, one ebook cover, formatting for one ebook and skipping the paperback edition.

However, you’re out of $180 bucks unless you sell your book to a lot of people.

How do you do that? Advertisement, my friend.

Yup, you need to advertise your book otherwise it will never see the light of day.

So you put aside a $20 / month budget (b/c that’s all you can afford) to advertise your book.

Even if you do everything right eventually you’ll run into issues.

Like your book being pirated and either being given away or sold for a super low cost.

Should you throw your hands up in the air and give up?


Instead, do what Nate Hoffelder explains in his article eBook Piracy – How to Respond If Someone Steals Your eBook Online.

He suggests that you tell google about the DMCA infringement. Google will delist that site in a heartbeat.

Next contact the domain providers and hosting company about the a-holes. They’ll rip that site out like a bad weed.

Yet, here’s the sad part…

Your book is going to be pirated again… and again… and again.

It never stops.

The bright side of piracy

If and only if the site that is supposedly selling your book or giving it away for free is doing well then take that as free advertisment.

The more people who get their hands on your book will eventually lead to a review. Reviews can be tricky to get and so extra eyes on your stuff helps in the long run.

Also take a glance at Joanna Penn has 3 reasons why Authors shouldn’t worry about Piracy.

In conclusion…

Yes, piracy sucks. It’s a bad bad bad thing that all indie and traditional published authors have to endure…

But, there is the flip side that more people will see your stuff and you might be the next diamond in the rough.

Until next time…

Keep on rising above the ashes of obscurity!