always ask the author

About Book Pirates, the Quality of Books, and Better Back Cover Copy for Readers

Below is a recent comment left by a reader regarding an older post I wrote about book pirates. I replied to the comment as best I could. Since I wrote that particular post, I’ve learned a lot about why readers pirate books and I probably wouldn’t have been as blunt as I was. And frankly, I didn’t totally disagree with the recent comment and I’d like to thank this person for leaving it. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this kind of honest, constructive feedback. I hate to hear readers feel as if they’ve been ripped off. I don’t like to feel that way myself, especially because I know and understand that buying e-books isn’t inexpensive.

In my reply, I hope I’ve offered a solution for readers who aren’t sure about purchasing books. I know this is what I do when I’m not sure about making a book purchase. In many ways, it’s a valid concern all readers have. But I don’t think piracy is the answer.

Communication is the answer, at least it seems to be in this particular case. And I know that the next time I write back cover copy for my next book, I’m going to be taking this reader’s opinion very seriously so I get it right.

Comment:

Anonymous said…
Piracy works both ways. I’ve bought too many ebooks that all ended up like something my teenage daughter could write for her English assignment.And yes of course their covers and blurbs were enticing enough hence why I bought them, but they ended up supremely disappointing, I felt cheated. Even free slash fiction/gay fiction writers write better. :/ The sad thing is some of these authors often have awesome previous work, but seemed to now bow down to the simplified money-making machine by cranking out subpar works. And while their prices may seem like peanuts to you guys, for the rest of us in other parts of the world, it’s still expensive.If quality of writing went up, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay up front. Lord knows there are plenty of free works online that I’d happily pay for simply because the authors actually put real effort into them. But while it still remains hopelessly juvenile and formulaic, I really have no choice but to screen them first before spending. I don’t believe covers and book jacket descriptions anymore.


My reply:

ryan field said…
Anon…I can’t comment on the quality of books, but I know for a fact no one writes a book, takes the time to publish it and promote it, and puts that much time into something with the thought process they will be stealing money from readers. That’s just not how it works. Whether or not you like the book is another matter. But no author or publisher is intentionally trying to pirate your money. Frankly, I’m not thrilled with a lot of books I’ve read, or for that matter films I’ve seen and television shows that leave me wondering what producers are thinking. But I still pay my cable bill each month and I’m not downloading free movies. My suggestion to you is that if you have any questions about a book, contact the author. I just wrote a blog post about this topic and welcome all questions from readers who are thinking about buying my books but aren’t sure. I can’t speak for all authors, but I’m more than willing to explain or answer questions. And please take the time to research before you buy. I always post more info about books on my blog than readers see on back cover copy and book covers. I even post excerpts from the book that aren’t part of the back cover copy. And I do this for the very reason you feel you’re being ripped off: so readers know what they are buying. Check out e-book online retailers like allromanceebooks.com or fictionwise.com. You will get the first chapter of the book for free, in most cases, and if you can’t tell whether or not you like a book by reading the first chapter, it’s most likely not the book for you.
November 21, 2010 11:56 AM