Of all the days that have come and gone since I released “Knight of the Flame”, this one has easily been the most unexpected, the most surreal. I’ve been thrilled about how the world has been treating my book for the past month or so; I’m actually having trouble believing what I learned today.
It started a couple of days ago when I noticed that my sales had gone up, unexpectedly. They weren’t in a slump or anything, but there had been a slight dip in the number of book I’ve been selling over the last week or so, and the day before yesterday, this slowdown suddenly corrected itself.
It wasn’t a big difference, but I’m one of those annoyingly curious people that always wants to know why such-and-such an event happened or didn’t happen. Even a small rise in sales requires investigation.
I haven’t put a giveaway up on Goodreads in awhile, and I’ve been busy enough with getting the details of book 2 together that I’ve been neglecting my blog, so why did sales increase by 50% over the course of two days?
This morning, I had the audacity to wonder if somebody had perhaps blogged about it, or if maybe it had gotten mentioned on a book review site or something. I hadn’t gotten any Google alerts recently, but I thought I should do a quick search, just to be on the safe side.
To my surprise, I found that “Knight of the Flame” has made its way on to a handful of torrenting sites!
Let me be clear about this from the start: I am not upset in any way that my book is being downloaded for free by the kind of people who know how to do that kind of thing. In fact, I’m ecstatic about it. I was having a bit of trouble trying to get this concept across to a couple of incredulous co-workers this morning, so I recognize that my opinion in this matter is not the one held by the majority. “You’re happy that people are stealing your book?! What’s wrong with you?!”
After a fair amount of discussion, I’ve realized it comes down to two major points.
First, is a generalisation that I’m willing to accept as part of my worldview. The two kinds of people who use torrents to download copyrighted content are: the ones who want to get a feel for whether they like something or not before they spend money on it, and the ones who don’t have any money to spend on luxuries, but want luxuries all the same.
The first group is going to eventually buy the book if they like it, if they come to see it has having value. They’re not out to harm anybody, they just know that good things cost money, and torrenting is a good way to get a really good feel for a product or service before deciding to spend x amount of dollars on it. I’ve been a member of the first group a time or two; the fact that I own several seasons of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” is an indicator of the kind of thing I’m talking about.
The second group? Seriously, they were never going to buy the book anyway, under any circumstances. If they read the book and didn’t pay for it, then I literally haven’t lost anything. I have, however, gained at least one more reader who just might like the story enough to tell his or her friends about it. It’s like a discounted marketing campaign, or one where you can be very selective about the campaign’s target audience, then pay for the service after its already run. I’m very, very excited to have that going for me now.
I mentioned there were two reasons I was okay with the torrenting, right? The second one is…well, I’ve kind of “made it” now, haven’t I? Seriously, how much more legitimate can a piece of creative content get than showing up on uTorrent? It’s like my little book has effectively entered the zeitgeist now. It’s proof-positive that I’m doing something right: if people are willing to break the law to get hold of my book, then it must be pretty darned good.
That’s how I feel about my particular book, anyway. I would totally understand any other author being hurt and dismayed at making a similar discovery so I am not, repeat, NOT, condoning piracy. …I just think the peg leg looks good on some people is all…
I spent a good, long time trying to sort out a big issue I was having with the plot of book 2. When I’m having trouble like that, I find the best thing to do is go back to the characters and the settings and start filling in details about them, so that’s what I’ve been up to for the past week and a half, and things are looking great. By Monday, I should have the first draft of the first chapter on a hard drive somewhere. How cool is that?