Blog Administration, books, personal

Have I Actually Made It As An Author?

This story began with another warning about a web piracy site. One of the advantages to eBooks is that they’re so much cheaper to produce and make available to the public. The disadvantage is that scammers/book pirates can find ways to make money by getting a copy of your book, and then offering it for free on a pirate site. These sites look professionally done and appear to be a great way to get books for free – after all, isn’t EVERYTHING free on the internet somehow? The problem is the authors who have poured their hearts into their books, have spent lots of money on editing their writing and creating covers, and have worked to market their books so they can make a living from the work they’ve done, don’t profit from these sites. The owner of the site steals their work and makes their money through advertising on the site.

I posted in an author site that I belong to about the problem after looking up a couple of books and finding friends in that group had been victimized by the pirate. I almost posted something about no one wanting to steal my books, because, you know – devotional books. Then, on a lark, I went to check my books. I was amazed to discover that four of the six books in the series were listed on the site. I decided that I must have really made it as an author if somebody thought it was worthwhile to steal the hours of labor writing and editing those books to promote their site. I also thought it ironic that people would steal a devotional book, designed to help them grow closer to God.

When I mentioned that I must have “made it” as an author because my work was on a pirate site to my siblings, they responded with sincere sympathy. “Even pirates like to read.” “Way to go, Bob! Nice to expand your reading audience.” “Do they pay in gold?” “Do you get to wear an eye patch?” and finally “Aaaarrrggg!!! Pirate booty gold, but you must find it with my treasure map.” Ok, maybe more joking than sympathy. That’s ok for family, I guess. I don’t depend on writing income to eat – which is a good thing because I probably couldn’t pay for a glass of water, let alone the coffee I drink while I’m writing, from my earnings. But I have friends whose living is based on their writing. Looking at my royalty schedule and the number of times that this site claimed that my book was read/downloaded, this pirate site kept me from about $6000 in earnings based on about $1 profit per sale of each book. (But, see my proviso later.) Imagine if I wasn’t retired and married to an amazing wife who makes good money. What if writing were my sole source of income, and instead of four books, I had ten, or twenty. That could be lost revenue of between $10,000 – 30,000.

The best argument against my financial figures is that we don’t know if people would have seen or bought this work if they couldn’t have stolen, er, gotten it free. I’ll admit that. I also doubt that their figures on read/downloaded are completely accurate, or I would really be a best seller if people actually bought the books. Based on one of the authors whose books I checked to see if they were on the site, it may be a phishing site looking to profit from your info. You have to set up an account. Your account includes credit card info. Something is rotten in Denmark as another writer once said. All I know is that my books were being used in a scam and all joking about “making it” aside, I don’t like it one bit. I’ll be sending a takedown notification, probably tomorrow. But it’s sick that we have to go through all those formal procedures instead of just being able to notify someone with the power to enforce that law.

If you’ve used those sites in the past because you didn’t realize that they were stealing from the authors, then please stop using them. If you continue using them now that you know, shame on you. Most authors tend to run sales or even giveaways on their books at different times of the year. I’m doing one right now until the end of June where you can go to my Bookfunnel link and get a free copy of my July – August devotional eBook. I’ll be upfront with you about it: my goal is that you will find it so helpful to you that you’ll buy the other books in the series. (Every two months.) I think they run $2.99 in eBook format. Is that two expensive? I don’t think so, otherwise I’d price it lower. Seriously, though, if you’re drinking a cup of coffee for a dollar from a chain or buying five buck specialty coffee while you’re reading each day’s devotional, the book part doesn’t seem like the expensive part of the day. Support the authors who give you hours of enjoyment by buying their books. Those authors are trying to earn a living.

 

Blog Administration, Daily Work

January 13 – Where Does Sunday Go?

So today, there won’t be any bird pictures. If you came here looking for them, I apologize, but Sunday is a busy day. Last week I tried to get some pictures in, but right now, there aren’t enough birds flying around to make it worthwhile. What takes so much time on Sunday? We leave the house around 7:45 to go to church. I usually have duties at church that require me to be there from 8:00 AM (or earlier) until our second service lets out around noon. Of course, we talk to our church family until about 12:30 before we head out. Today, my duties included photography for a special commitment service. I used the church’s camera, so I don’t have any of those pictures to share.

When we got home, I fixed a quick lunch and did a few things before leaving again about 1:40 to go to a retirement center where I lead a Bible Study. I do that for half an hour, and then head back home where I have to do family things and write my devotional, except today, I had a rough time putting my thoughts together. Then, it’s time to prepare supper and at this time of year, it gets dark early enough that I can’t go out and take pictures.

My devotional, by the way, is called Daily Enduring Truth, and is available every day at the link in the text. I share one of the things that I learn from my personal Bible reading. This year, I’m doing something different by making the devotional an evening devotional with the idea of having people reflect on their day and see how they can learn and grow from the issues of their day. It’s a new concept for me, but I began thinking about this late last year when I thought about how the Bible describes a day. Each time, it begins in the evening. “It was evening and it was morning, the first day.” or “Evening, morning, and at noon will I pray.” My first set of devotional books is based on the same Bible readings, but meant for the morning. The possibility exists that thee will be a second set, but I have other writings to work on.

Now, one last bit of news. A short story I wrote has been accepted for a charity anthology. We will be supporting Alex’s lemonade stand. So, in addition to Bird Brain Chronicle posts showing up here, I’ll even be including some other bits and pieces of my writing and promoting the books that I have short stories in. I may even have some excerpts from the story of the journey my wife and I took as she battled breast cancer. Thanks for reading here and following here.

Blog Administration, Request

Need Recommendations: What Would You Want in a Newsletter

Greetings folks! I’m in the process of developing a newsletter to highlight my writing. What would you like to see in such a news letter? Please comment and give me suggestions. I will be sending out free Kindle ready copies of my May June edition of Daily Enduring Truth to those who comment. Thanks for your help!

Blog Administration, Rwanda Trip

Twelve Years…

I got a note that I had registered with Word Press 12 years ago today. If you know me from this blog, I haven’t been saying much lately. I’ve been dealing with “way too busy” on other projects – including one with a deadline I hope to meet. I’ve been doing that while fighting through writer’s block, sometimes ecstatic to get between 4 and 500 words written in a day. Even the devotionals have been a struggle, although they did show up on my Daily Enduring Truth blog. I did finish the deadline and will be submitting soon. I can get back to my main writing and editing of my devotionals.

This blog will soon be the site where I give reports from trip to Rwanda. They will be password protected while I’m over there, but it’s easy to get on the prayer list to get the daily password. Just go to my prayer list sign up and register. You have a choice of getting things in an email or a link (with password) to the blog post on this site. I will eventually unprotect those posts, but while I’m traveling, I don’t like to give out too much information. Thanks for your friendship and support. God’s blessings on you!

Blog Administration, Daily Work

March 17 – Eking Out Words

I write better in the morning, really I do. I had some issues come up this morning and I didn’t get to finish my devotional til noon. I won’t go into my actions, except to say that I wasn’t procrastinating. All these actions were necessary.

My Morning Devotional, March 17 – The Nature of Evil and the Goodness of God, was 483 Words.

I eked out 474 words in my back story. I did get some help with the first sentences.

Original was: “Randall Stevenson yawned. There may have been a more boring job somewhere in the universe, but he couldn’t imagine what it would be.”

Without filler: “Randall Stevenson yawned. If a more boring job existed in the universe, he couldn’t imagine it. ”

Tomorrow is a church day, and those are always busy for me. I hope I can get more writing done, though.