Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies

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5 STARS all the way.

I couldn’t have loved this book more than if it were covered in chocolate and the pages were made of bacon.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is a charming, unwavering, thought provoking, sweet, funny (like, really funny), and sad look into the life of a teenage girl caught up in the web of her mental illness. What makes this book special is that its breadth and introspection speaks to everyone in some way. The reader doesn’t have to be suffering from agoraphobia to understand and connect with Nora, because many of Nora’s fixations and phobias stem from thoughts we’ve all had on some level. Her thoughts and fears are our thoughts and fears. The only difference is that as Nora contemplates normal teenage milestones and desires: boys, high school, parties, the possibility of a first kiss . . . she knows these things are impossible for her because she’s trapped by her illness. And there’s the rub, the sad truth of Nora’s struggle. She knows these things are impossible for her, and as she lives these fantasies through online videos, dreaming of a first kiss, we see just how trapped she is “I’ve stopped sighing wistfully and dreaming up ‘Dear Diary’ moments as the romanticism dies a slow, agonizing death at the hands of my ODC.”

Given the fact that Nora is confined to her house, the cast of characters in this novel is small, but they each fill large rolls. Luke, the handsome new boy next door is a stereotype-breaking breath of fresh air (for the reader and for Nora). I found him believable and completely lovable. He shatters our expectations of him and while he shakes up Nora’s world, he’s not written as the Knight in Shining armour who will magically break Nora from her spell. That’s what makes this novel so powerful. It’s real. It feels real. And while we’re given many moments of comic relief “How’s it going?’ My voice is weird. I’ve adopted a Boston twang to my accent. I have no idea why. I’ve never been to Boston and I don’t know anyone from there,” and a handsome young man to shake up our protagonist’s world, we’re not led to believe that mental illness can be fixed by any one event, or person. The author doesn’t make any concessions when it comes to the power of Nora’s afflictions, and as the readers, our hearts break for her. We feel her struggle, and we desperately want to see her break free.

As I neared the end of the book, I wondered how Nora’s journey would end, and how her new journey would begin. The twist was something I didn’t see coming, but felt was needed in order to propel Nora forward. And the power of that last line left me stunned for a while after I put the book down.

I honestly LOVED this book, and have been zealously recommending it to friends since I finished it, especially those suffering from mental illness. But this book isn’t just for them. It’s for everyone. We have a bit of Nora in us all. That’s the beauty of her story.

 

The UK edition is out now: Amazon UK 

The US edition will be out Jan 3rd, 2016 and it ready for pre-order: Amazon 

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Iniquity By Melody Winter is HERE!

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Release Day – INIQUITY (The Ascent, Book One) by Melody Winter

Publication date: October 25th, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Dark Romantic Fantasy

To celebrate the release of INIQUITY, the first book in The Ascent series trilogy, Melody is giving away a signed paperback of Iniquity and a handmade Iniquity bangle.

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All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is sign up to her newsletter.

Click here: newsletter sign up

If you’re already signed up then send melody a quick email telling her you’d like to be entered into the giveaway for the release day prize. Email: melodywinterbooks@gmail.com

Melody will pick a winner on the 31st October 2016.

If you haven’t grabbed your kindle version of Iniquity, grab it today—the last day before the price goes up. (Please double check price before purchase.)

Amazon.com: Link to Iniquity on amazon US  

Amazon.co.uk: Link to Iniquity on amazon UK

Book Blurb:

iniquity-cover

Athena Harrow is about to turn twenty-one, but there will be no celebration. What is there to celebrate when the world is ruled by demons?

She hates the darkness the demons brought with them and longs for the light to return to the world—a world she only vaguely remembers. The people in her forest village blindly accept the life the demons forced upon them, even tolerating the yearly ascension ceremony where all the girls who have turned twenty-one are either sent away to serve the Master Demon or left in the village and forced to procreate.

But Paymon, the assigned village demon, selects a different role for Athena, a role that pits her against the village. While she adapts to her new life, Erebus, a younger, more powerful demon, arrives, and Athena must play a dangerous game with his emotions in return for information about the demon’s reign of darkness.

As Athena’s dreams of restoring the light begin to fade, her life with Erebus takes an unexpected turn, and this time it’s her life being put to the test.

Set in the forest around Buttercrambe in North Yorkshire, England, INIQUITY explores the frightening, darker side of romance and the uncontrolled emotions it can unleash.

 

 

 

About the Author:Melody Winter Author Photo

Growing up, Melody showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but ended up working in finance. Melody is convinced the methodical times she spends working with numbers fuel her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in York, North Yorkshire, England with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the nearby beaches at Scarborough and Whitby. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures, and creating her own.

 

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Cover Reveal – INIQUITY (The Ascent, Book One) by Melody Winter

I love the sound of this book, and the cover is GORGEOUS!

iniquity-coverPublication date: October 25th, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Dark Romantic Fantasy

Book Blurb:

Athena Harrow is about to turn twenty-one, but there will be no celebration. What is there to celebrate when the world is ruled by demons?

She hates the darkness the demons brought with them and longs for the light to return to the world—a world she only vaguely remembers. The people in her forest village blindly accept the life the demons forced upon them, even tolerating the yearly ascension ceremony where all the girls who have turned twenty-one are either sent away to serve the Master Demon or left in the village and forced to procreate.

But Paymon, the assigned village demon, selects a different role for Athena, a role that pits her against the village. While she adapts to her new life, Erebus, a younger, more powerful demon, arrives, and Athena must play a dangerous game with his emotions in return for information about the demon’s reign of darkness.

As Athena’s dreams of restoring the light begin to fade, her life with Erebus takes an unexpected turn, and this time it’s her life being put to the test.

Set in the forest around Buttercrambe in North Yorkshire, England, INIQUITY explores the frightening, darker side of romance and the uncontrolled emotions it can unleash.

 

PRE-ORDER LINKS:

Amazon.com: Link to Iniquity on amazon US  

Amazon.co.uk: Link to Iniquity on amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Melody Winter Author Photo

Growing up, Melody showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but ended up working in finance. Melody is convinced the methodical times she spends working with numbers fuel her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in York, North Yorkshire, England with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the nearby beaches at Scarborough and Whitby. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures, and creating her own.

 

Website Goodreads Facebook Twitter Pinterest

Using Tarot to Understand Your Characters and Their Actions.

A while back I wrote a post about using the Myers-Briggs Personality test to define your characters and give them depth. It was a popular post, so I thought I’d come up with another way to understand characters, and see into their future.

Using Tarot cards is a unique way to find out what your characters are going through, and perhaps help you decide what they should do next. Since you’re reading Tarot for characters and not real people, you don’t have to be an expert on Tarot to do it. And unless you’re interested in learning to read Tarot, you don’t even have to buy a deck of cards. You can use online Tarot decks and draw cards from there.

A bit of background: I have been reading Tarot cards for nearly twelve years. My mom bought me my first deck for Christmas and said, “Your great-grandmother used to read tea leaves in Ireland. Maybe you’ll be good at this.”

I don’t know if I’m good at it, but I’m definitely passionate about Tarot. I’ve spent years studying tarot, reading tarot for myself and others, and acquiring new decks. My first deck was the Marseilles deck, which is one of the oldest decks in use today.artisanal-igorbarzilai

 

My next deck was the Rider Waite deck. Probably the most widely used deck, this is a good one to start with if you’re a beginner.

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The deck I use now is the Legacy deck, which is more modern and has stunning artwork. There are numerous decks to choose from, and if you choose to embrace Tarot, you’ll understand the feeling when you connect with a deck. Legacy is my deck.

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If you don’t want to purchase a deck to read for your characters, here’s a good link for an online Tarot card spread http://serennu.com/tarot/horseshoe.php

That link offers a seven card horseshoe spread.

(*Note: This example is a simplified reading for a fictional person. Reading Tarot for real people is much more in-depth, and personal. Spreads are often more complex, and the reader is very careful with how they deliver the message of the reading to the querant.)

I drew cards for my character Mara, the main character in The Dia Chronicles series. In book two, The Embers of Light, Mara was left with a broken heart, some hard decisions, and her enemy still on the loose. I thought of her as I shuffled the cards, and the ones that came up were very interesting. For the purpose of this example I chose a five card horseshoe spread, with a card in the center known as a significator, to represent Mara. I will only give brief descriptions of each card, but if you read for your character, take the time to understand what each card is telling you.

 

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Summary of the Reading.

The cards reflect Mara’s broken heart and her sense of loss. They suggest that perhaps she’s made a wrong choice, which has contributed her to sadness. Her obstacle is clearly a person, a young man, with a selfish, childish demeanor. Her strength is another young knight, a man with a balanced view of the world and a generous heart. She must find this person to help her through this tough time. He might even have the answers she needs. The final card reveals the outcome, which seems different than what Mara has planned. Her life will be shaken up, and she’ll have to accept fate in order to succeed. (See the individual cards below).

This reading is helpful to me because there is a potential ending in book three I’ve been thinking about for some time, but was unsure if it’s the best choice. I can see from the cards that I should go with my gut and use the planned alternate ending, because it will create balance for my characters.

The Reading Card by Card.

Significator – represents the subject of the reading, Mara: Queen of Swords. The queen of swords is an independent woman. She is perceptive, assertive, independent, and a natural leader. At her worst she can be vengeful, short tempered, and deceitful when she thinks it will benefit her cause.

Card #1 – Where the character is now. Five of Cups Reversed – Separation from a partner. Loss. Inner Turmoil. Regret.

Card #2 – The character’s next step. Seven of Cups Reversed – Wrong choices. Overestimating yourself. Seduction.

Card #3 – Obstacles. Knight of Swords Reversed – Often represents a person who is reckless, unrealistic, impulsive, and foolish. This person acts first and thinks second. (Sound like Malcolm, perhaps?)

Card #4 – Strengths and Resources. Knight of Cups Upright – An honorable, possibly attractive man. He is considerate and thoughtful in his actions, but not afraid to jump into the fray. He prefers peace to violence, but as a knight he will defend those he loves. (Definitely sounds like Corbin).

Card #5 – Outcome. Judgement. A Major Arcana card, also known as a destiny card. This card represents a major change of life, a new phase, a new cycle. Face the things you fear, make the hard decisions. This character will have to accept fate, even if it’s not what she planned, in order to have a positive outcome.

What do you think, would Tarot help you with your characters? If you choose to do a reading for them, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thediachronicles

I’m Baaaaaaack!

I’ve been nearly gone from the writing world for one year—a whole, entire year. It’s been 14 months since I wrote my last personal blog post. It’s been a year and half since my last book release. I don’t even know how long it’s been since I’ve had a good writing session.

I didn’t think I’d be taking this much time off. It’s amazing how fast a year flies by before you realize it. But here I am, trying to catch up on all I’ve missed with my peers, all I’ve missed with my projects, and all the new changes in the publishing world.

I guess you’re wondering where I’ve been. Why did I disappear? Well, some of you know that after almost 5 years of trying to get pregnant, I finally did! And on February 27th, 2016, the most amazing thing in the world happened to me. Meet my son, Finn Patrick Farrell.

Finn 5 months

For the past 5 months this little nugget has been taking up all of my time (added picture for cuteness). But before that, I suffered from severe nausea throughout my pregnancy. I found it nearly impossible to focus on anything, so I made the decision to take a step back and let go of the reins for a while. I hoped that my readers and writing friends would stick with me. Many of you did, and I’m very grateful for that. I know there are some impatient people out there waiting for The Ruins of Light and Claiming Genevieve. I promise, they’re in the works. The little human and I are finally on somewhat of a schedule, and I’m finding more and more time to get back to writing. It’s still my passion, and I need to keep going. I’ve been told that once Finn is walking I’ll be out of commission again, but let’s hope for the best. Maybe I can rope off my office to contain him. If you have any ideas on how to contain a toddler, shoot them my way.

Where do I go from here?

Back to writing, obviously. I’ve had to take some time to read over what’s already been written, go through my notes, and write down fresh ideas. The actual writing part should be taking place very soon, so hang in there while I get my bearings.

I’ve also taken on some editing work, most recently for the incredible paranormal romance author, P. Jameson. I will be doing editing work and book formatting in addition to writing ALL the words. If you’re in need of editing or formatting, or you know someone who is, please get in touch. You can find my editing rates here, and my formatting rates here.

For now I will leave you and get back to playing catch-up. I’m getting more sleep these days and I’m so excited to write again. I feel more grounded than I have in a long time. Hallelujah!

Take care, Friends. I’ll try not to leave you for so long this time.

Sachael Desires GIVEAWAY AND REVIEW.

5 STARS FOR SACHAEL DESIRES

(Enter the fabulous giveaway below)

SachaelDesires-Winter

5 Stars for Melody Winter’s Sachael Desires. This is a sequel that will not disappoint. The transition to Sachael Desires is seamless, diving back into the tension left at the end of Sachael Dreams. Estelle is safe—for now, and Orontes is determined to track her down and get vengeance. Like the first novel, the author does a fantastic job of world building. Her attention to detail and descriptive prose bring Scotland’s beautiful landscapes to life. And I found the mysterious world of the Saicean and Oceanids fascinating.

This is definitely and intense read with a lot of action. I LOVE THAT. If you haven’t yet read Sachael Dreams, get on it now. Because this book is even better than the last, and I can’t wait to see what Ms. Winter does with the next in The Mine Series.

Get your copy of SACHAEL DESIRES here

SACHAEL DESIRES ~During her ordeal with the Sect, Estelle Bailey dreamt of escaping back into the arms of the sea—and Azariah. But freedom came at a price, and though she’s back with the Sachael who’s stolen her heart, she’s also land-bound until the next full moon. And with the threat of Orontes looming ever larger behind them, Azariah, Estelle, and Michael—her once-captor turned rescuer and friend—are on the run.

Following Michael’s lead, they seek sanctuary amidst the natural beauty of the Orkney and Shetland Islands until Estelle can complete her next submergence ritual and Azariah can whisk her away to the safety of Saicean.
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Secrets, betrayals, and old enemies await them, though, and as events spiral out of control, Azariah makes a decision that puts all their lives at risk, forcing Estelle to face a journey she never wanted to take. With time running out and tempers running high, her only hope to save the man she loves lies in a reconciliation between two kingdoms who despise each other.

Book Two in the Mine Series, Sachael Desires further expands on the intricate underwater world of the Sachaels, and the hostility and isolation of not belonging.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melody Winter Author Photo

Growing up, Melody showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but ended up working in finance. Melody is convinced the methodical times she spends working with numbers fuel her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in York, North Yorkshire, England with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the nearby beaches at Scarborough and Whitby. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures.

For more information on Melody visit http://www.melodywinter.com or connect on Twitter @melodywinter

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY! 

Enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card or Any of these books!

Enter here:

Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2d2042a48/

sd2 giveaway copy

Cover Reveal For LINK, Summer Wier’s Debut Sci-fi YA In The Shadow of Light Series

I’m excited about this cover reveal because I’ve read the book and it’s awesome. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to talk about this book and now I finally can! Summer Wier’s LINK is an engaging, twisty and turney book that really caught me off guard a few times. I can’t wait for it to be out in the world, but for now, here is the gorgeous cover (have I ever mentioned that my favourite colour is purple). CHECK IT OUT and find out more about Link and The Shadow of Light Series below.

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Synopsis:
For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that’s missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.
Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, LINK pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.

Add Link to goodreads

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About The Author:

Summer Wier Author Photo

Summer Wier grew up spending Saturdays with a maxed out library card and her nose in a book. But as much as she loved reading, and even writing, both took the back seat when it came to career choices. With her sights set on law school, corporate greatness, and even a hankering to become the first female president, she set off to conquer the world. As life would have it, though, she didn’t attend law school, nor did she become president (although, one day, your vote may be appreciated), finding her strengths, instead, in accounting and business management. After finishing her MBA, she revived her love for reading and began writing with dreams of finishing a book of her own. When Summer isn’t working, reading, or writing, she’s trying to keep up with two energetic girls and her husband, and dreaming of the mountains of Montana.

LINK is her debut young adult sci-fi novel, the first in THE SHADOW OF LIGHT trilogy.

Find more of Author Summer Wier on her website, twitter, facebook, or goodreads.

Get To Know Your Characters With The The Myers-Briggs Personality Test.

Creating dynamic, complex characters is important if you want your readers to care about them. It’s also important to ensure that your characters have their own distinct personalities. Just like people in real life, each character should have their own way of speaking, their own way of thinking, and their own way or reacting to a situation. No two characters should be exactly alike. One way to get to know your characters better, and to understand what motivates them, is to identify their Myers-Briggs personality type.

You may have taken this test in high school or college, or you may have been given this test for a job. There are 16 different personality types, and by answering the questions as your character would, you can learn who they are and why they do what they do.

I decided to take the test as Mara, Corbin, and Malcolm; my three main characters in The Dia Chronicles. Since I’ve written three books with these characters, I know them well and had no trouble answering the questions from their perspectives. I found the results fascinating, and completely in line with who they are.

Mara’s personality type didn’t surprise me much. When I take the test myself I’m always defined as an INFJ, and since I intentionally created Mara to mirror my own thoughts and feelings, she tested as an INFJ as well.

MARAINFJ 

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Introvert(89%)  iNtuitive(75%)  Feeling(38%)  Judging(33%)

  • You have strongpreference of Introversion over Extraversion (89%)
  • You have distinctpreference of Intuition over Sensing (75%)
  • You have moderatepreference of Feeling over Thinking (38%)
  • You have moderatepreference of Judging over Perceiving (33%)

The INFJ personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As Diplomats (NF), they have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is the accompanying Judging (J) trait – INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.

INFJ Strengths

  • Creative
  • Insightful
  • Inspiring and Convincing
  • Decisive
  • Determined and Passionate
  • Altruistic

INFJ Weaknesses

  • Sensitive
  • Extremely Private
  • Perfectionistic
  • Always Need to Have a Cause
  • Can Burn Out Easily

Corbin’s test results surprised me a little because he wasn’t a character that was as plotted out as Mara. He created himself as I wrote, and now that I see his definition, it really does fit his profile, especially because it says this personality type would be found in a military position. Perfect for a soldier like him. 🙂

CORBIN- ISTJTF_no_writing

Introvert(22%)  Sensing(1%)  Thinking(1%)  Judging(78%)

  • You have slightpreference of Introversion over Extraversion (22%)
  • You have marginal or nopreference of Sensing over Intuition (1%)
  • You have marginal or nopreference of Thinking over Feeling (1%)
  • You have strongpreference of Judging over Perceiving (78%)

The ISTJ personality type is thought to be the most abundant, making up around 13% of the population. Their defining characteristics of integrity, practical logic and tireless dedication to duty make ISTJs a vital core to many families, as well as organizations that uphold traditions, rules and standards, such as law offices, regulatory bodies and military. People with the ISTJ personality type enjoy taking responsibility for their actions, and take pride in the work they do – when working towards a goal, ISTJs hold back none of their time and energy completing each relevant task with accuracy and patience.

 

ISTJ Strengths

  • Honest and Direct
  • Strong-willed and Dutiful
  • Very Responsible
  • Calm and Practical.
  • Create and Enforce Order
  • Jacks-of-all-trades

ISTJ Weaknesses

  • Stubborn Insensitive
  • Always by the Book
  • Judgmental Often Unreasonably Blame Themselves

Malcolm’s profile was spot on! Answering the test questions from his perspective was easy, and the resulting definition sums up Malcolm perfectly.

MALCOLM – ENTPart

 

Extravert(78%)  iNtuitive(12%)  Thinking(38%)  Perceiving(22%)

  • You have strongpreference of Extraversion over Introversion (78%)
  • You have slightpreference of Intuition over Sensing (12%)
  • You have moderatepreference of Thinking over Feeling (38%)
  • You have slightpreference of Perceiving over Judging (22%)

The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil’s advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. Unlike their more determined Judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don’t do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it’s fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.

ENTP Strengths

  • Knowledgeable
  • Quick Thinkers
  • Original
  • Excellent Brainstormers
  • Charismatic
  • Energetic

ENTP Weaknesses

  • Very Argumentative
  • Insensitive
  • Intolerant
  • Can Find It Difficult to Focus
  • Dislike Practical Matters

 

 

If you want to get to know your characters better, try taking the test from their perspective. There’s a free version here. 

And you can find in-depth definitions here. 

Let me know how your characters tested. 🙂

** Added – You can also use these profiles to determine how your characters will interact with each other, and what their challenges with each other might be. For example, if you have an ISFP character and an ESFJ character, research the relationship between the two.

Why Authors Should Stop Stressing About Book Pirates.

Book Pirate

I see the statuses and tweets often. An author has discovered their book on a pirating site and is FURIOUS about it. After all, why shouldn’t they be? Their work is being stolen, the hours of writing, revising, and editing has been reduced to a freebie download for any cheapskate to steal at will.

The first time I spotted one of my books on a pirating site I was livid, but as time went on, and I got used to hunting these files down and requesting their removal, my perspective on book pirating changed. Hear me out, and perhaps the next time you spot your book on a pirating site you won’t feel the wrath of Lucifer bubbling up inside you.

Pirating is NEVER Going Away. Get Used To It.

This is just common sense. Pirating has been around forever, and with the digital age, it’s only gotten worse. Hollywood and the music industry were the first to feel the effects of digital pirating, and they took up a fight to try and prevent it. Millions were spent suing websites, fighting for legislation, and trying to create a digital barrier between pirate sites and would-be downloaders. Much like the war on drugs, the war on pirating has proven difficult, and nearly impossible to win. Book pirates are the same. We can’t stop them, no matter what we do. If we find a new way to encrypt ebooks, they’ll find a new way to steal them.

It’s A Right Of Passage.

It might not be the most pleasant right of passage, but it does mark your transition from aspiring author to published author. Congratulations! Someone finds your book interesting enough to steal it!

When I was an aspiring author I would have done anything to get people to read my work. During the drafting process of my first published novel, I pushed it on anyone willing to give it a read. If you had told me back then that someone would want to STEAL my work, I probably would have wrapped it in a bow and sent it off with a thank you card. So if someone is pirating your book, you’re officially in the club. 🙂

Most Of The Sites Are Fake.

In my quest to track down and vanquish book pirates I’ve discovered that most of the sites claiming to offer my book for download are total bullshit. One site might say that 1200 people have already downloaded it, another says 26,000. That’s a lot of books! And if I calculate the royalties lost on those numbers I might faint. BUT if you go a step further and actually try to download your own book you’ll find that you can’t. You either get prompted to enter a credit card number or the links lead to nowhere. Oftentimes these are bait sites designed to lure in unsuspecting book-seekers, and when they try to download the link they get hit with a virus. So if you see your book has been downloaded 47,000,000 times, don’t freak out, chances are, it hasn’t.

But what if it has?

Worst Case Scenario: You’ve Found New Readers.

Chances are the illegal downloaders did not hinder the legitimate sales you’ve made. Let’s face it, those people illegally downloading your books were probably never going to buy your book anyway. I know, I know . . . you don’t want to give your books away for free, but in the unfortunate event that it HAS been downloaded a bunch of times, stay calm. The truth of the matter is, readers have found your work, maybe they even like your work, maybe they join your FB page, follow you on Twitter, maybe they go on to buy your other books, or tell all their friends about how much they loved your book.

If your book was in a library and you found out it was borrowed 6,000 times, are you upset that you weren’t paid royalties on 6,000 sales? If your book is in paperback, and someone buys it, reads it, and sells it to a used bookstore that then sells to another person, would you be angry you weren’t given a cut of each sale?

No.

You’d be happy that people were reading your book, and hopefully that reader is the word-of-mouth you’re going to need to be successful. As a new author you’re main goal should never be income. It should always be exposure. You want everyone and their mother to read your book, and if your book is being pirated, you have certainly been exposed. 😉

Book Pirates Suck! Book Downloaders Might Not.

We can all agree that the hosting sites for book pirating are a bunch of SUPER JERKS! If not for them being the book pusher, we might not have this problem. But they’re here to stay, so let’s take a look at the people downloading these pirated books. Do you have an image of who might be sitting behind that computer, snickering as they basically steal your work? I used to, but in my search of pirating sites, I came across something that made me reconsider my view of the downloaders.

My first book, The Darkness of Light, was available for download on a pirating site. I know it had actually been downloaded because people were discussing it in the forum. Then in the thread, someone posted the cover of the sequel, The Embers of Light, asking where it was available. The thread went on and on, and no one could find the link anywhere (it was fairly new at that point, so it’s definitely available now). A few of the posters made comments to the original poster about buying the book, that illegally downloading books was wrong.

The original poster, and some of the follow-up commenters defended themselves. One guy said he lives in the Philippines, doesn’t have a tablet, and can’t afford to buy the books he wants. Another poster said her parents wouldn’t let her buy books like that. A few others showed little concern for their actions.

It was a mixed bag of responses, and while I completely agree that book pirating sucks, I feel better about it knowing that people, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to my books, found a way to read them. This is why I no longer get angry when I spot my books on sites. If I can find one true reader, take the damn book if you can find it.

Taking Action.

Since the previously mentioned site appeared to be a legitimate downloading site I sent the DMCA Takedown Notice (you can find a sample notice to copy here) to the admin, and within 24 hours, my books were removed.

Now I have a monthly routine for hunting pirates. Somewhere around the first of the month I track my sales numbers, enter them into a spreadsheet, then move on to Google and type in my name, and the names of my books to find pirated copies.

I almost always find at least one website claiming to have one or all of my books available for download. If I can find a place to contact them, I send the DMCA notice and forget it. If I can’t find contact info, it’s usually a virus download so I don’t bother.

Then I go about my day, happily writing books and not spending an ounce of energy on book thieves. Sure, I could spend hours trying to track down the hosting sites, checking and rechecking to see if they’ve taken the books down, but what good does that do? I’m wasting my time being angry when I could be writing. And after all, isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing most of the time anyway. 🙂