October 2, 2014

Writers Benefit from Developing Loyal Readers

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

Monday on her FaceBook page, Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries posted, "An alert reader---Sarah Nicole B.---spotted a site where it would appear my books are being downloaded without charge and therefore without compensation to me. It occurred to me that others of you out there cruise the net, and I would love it if you'd let me know when you come across sites that appear suspicious. I know there are those who earnestly believe that all books should be made available to the public without charge. I'm not sure what the logic is since a free download is the equivalent of piracy if it's done without the writer’s permission or consent...and most particularly if it's done without attention to copyright laws. Please post a note to me here if you see a link that you have questions about. The legal team at my publishing house will check the source and see if something egregious is going on. Thanks!"

Hats off to Sue Grafton for acknowledging the situation, complementing the reader that reported the issue, and urging all her fans to alert her to anything that appears pirated. Clearly her publisher will actively pursue the pirates around the oceans of the Internet, to protect their product and profits that could potentially be lost. An author's work is legally protected and should be. 

School children are taught early they cannot copy someone else's work. Plagiarism will get students removed from classes if not school. More information about plagiarism can be found at Most colleges for the admission process and class work along with some high schools require work to be run through a program like just for this reason. 
The point is, with all this emphasis on plagiarism, how has the world accepted that it is okay to download an author's work from questionable sites and it be okay? As Internet consumers we know trusted sites that have credibility and if in question go to the author or their publisher and ask. 

Publishing giant Simon & Schuster has a link to a piracy form if anyone suspects one of their authors has been pirated. Thereby, allowing the public to alert them which allows them to have the possibility of gaining information directly and without delay, which will only compound a loss of revenue for both the author and publisher.

Thanks has to go to the reader of Sue Grafton who questioned it and contacted the author. Ms. Grafton was unaware as was her publisher until a reader made an inquiry. Creating your tribe of loyal readers as an author certainly benefitted Sue Grafton, who unlike some best-selling authors is easily reachable on Facebook, her website and other normal social media links. 

Hopefully, this will not happen to you. However with a cultivated tribe of readers it will allow for you to immediately send out a "rescue party of readers" and elicit their help in trying to locate the faceless internet pirates. Take the time to help out a fellow author and report it to them. As authors, readers and book lovers we are all in this together. 

Has this ever happened to your books?

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