Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Please Stop Now

I had a lovely holiday, thanks. Daughter came home from college for a wee visit, presents were exchanged, I got a lot of books, chocolate was eaten, and my plans for cleaning up garden debris were pointless as we had nothing but rain for two solid weeks, so, hello, slothdom, my old friend. I did very little in two weeks other than re-read le Carre's Smiley/Karla trilogy. Life could be worse. I love those books. The Honourable Schoolboy is the weakest of the three, but then again, le Carre's worst would be my genius so there you are. Unfortunately, upon my return to work I was greeted by a SEA OF ANTS. For PC reasons they can't spray. I am going into work in the morning armed with a can of Raid and basically blasting them with harmful chemicals. For heaven's sake, I work next to what used to be a fertilizer plant (we NEVER drink the water from the taps), so the blowback from a vigorous spraying of Raid is the least of my worries.

So aside from ant invasion, I'm feeling fairly upbeat, thinking about novel no. four, and then on DorothyL today I read about illegal downloading of books. I thought, well, I'm totally small fry, I doubt my books are available for free. WRONGO! In fact, my books have been uploaded several times and with each upload there are over a thousand hits. I wish I could say that I didn't immediately start tallying the profits I have lost due to this, but I did. To add insult to injury, the hardcover of my second book, Roux Morgue is now virtually worthless. Yes, worthless. You can buy used copies on amazon.com for one cent. Three years and countless hours of horrific writer's block later (that book was a bitch to write--not because it's particularly brilliant or anything, just because of other issues in my life--plus that small cancer scare), I find it a not little galling that it's worthless, however, what I find even more stroke-inducing is that it can be downloaded for free. Just because. They can. And some jerk(s) did.

I have sent an email to publisher in the hopes of them getting all lawyer-ish and ugly. Sadly, I think we are at the point where copyright is an arcane term. It's always been that when you sign away your rights to a publisher there was this tacit understanding that they had your wishes sort of at heart because if your book doesn't sell, then their investment is worthless. Now, the second you put a book out there it belongs to everyone for free. Hello electronic age! I guess Google had it right all along. Copyright is now pointless. I wish I felt the same way about royalties. And sure, I write because I love to write, but I would also like to write and have the freedom to one day not squeeze my writing in the left over pockets of my life. And that means getting paid for my efforts. If I'm not getting compensated then it becomes much harder to justify NOT doing all the other things that I put on hold to write.

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