Hello everyone! During my last post in this marketing series, I talked about Amazon Central and how important it is to set up your profile. At some point, I’ll continue the conversation about Amazon and how reviews impact sales ranks. It’s an interesting conversation. But today, I’m thinking about pirates.
Sadly, not the sexy kind.
No, I’m talking about the type of piracy that involves torrent sites and exposure to some seriously nasty computer STDs.
What in the world does that have to do with marketing? It’s simple. Piracy has a HUGE negative impact on book sales. To that end, I wanted to talk about things authors can do pro-actively to discourage piracy.
When facing down the monolithic wave that is piracy, it can feel a bit like pissing in the wind. Nonetheless, I encourage you to do what you can and focus on those things. Stay positive. If authors and other creators of intellectual property give up, we might as well hand them the keys to the cupboard and walk away.
With that in mind, here are some tips.
- Set up a Google alert for your author name, as well as for your book titles. If you don’t know how to do that, Google would love to teach you. Learn HERE. By doing this, you will receive an email notification each time you or your books are mentioned online. Okay, not every time. But everytime a Google bot comes across your name, you’ll be notified. The bot is smart and screens out stuff like Facebook entries and Amazon reviews. But it does pick up blog posts, torrent sites, etc.
- Challenge the pirates. Don’t just say, “It sucks, but there’s nothing I can do.” Take the time to fill out the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) form or send a take down notice. Each torrent site will have their own instructions for how to do this. Some will respond to a standard boilerplate take down notice. Others will have a specific format. Others still will have a form that you fill out and submit on their website. Whatever the instructions, follow them to the letter. Some sites are very particular and will ignore any notice that doesn’t follow their exact format.
- Be charitable and kind. Here’s the truth, folks, not everyone can afford to buy books. Or, sometimes folks can afford to buy them, and other times they can’t. If you’re in touch with your readers, let them know that you are sympathetic. Sponsor some regular giveaways. Heck, I even know folks who will send you a copy of their books for free if you are having a hard time. All you have to do is ask. (Side note: We here at Women and Words enjoy setting up these types of giveaways and do so routinely. If you know someone in need, click on the “Contact” button up there and drop us a line.)
- Put some freebies up on your site. This gives folks a way to taste your writing, so to speak. Plus, it builds good will and fosters a strong community. We also have a list here of authors who offer freebies. See the tab at the top that says “Free Reads”? Click that. If you are an author who already does this, make sure you’re info is on our list. If you are a reader, check it out. We update the info periodically.
- Get your books into your local library. Libraries, just like bookstores, like to feature local authors. Go in. Talk to the librarian. Take your book(s) with you. It may be as simple as leaving a book right then, or there may be a specific process you must follow. I’m sorry to say that there is no universal way to do this. The procedure varies by library, but after you’ve done it once, you’ll be a pro. Also, don’t forget that libraries now include collections of e-books. Several of mine are available as e-book via the Seattle library. Talk to the acquisitions librarian. Figure out how to put your book(s) in their collection in multiple formats. After you do all this, let folks know about it. Include the info on your website.
- Don’t forget about your local LGBTQIA center. Most have a queer lending library and would LOVE to add your book to the collection. Same goes for the LGBTQIA club at your local university.
As with most areas of life, a little bit of knowledge can help make something seem not quite so big. That’s definitely the case with book pirates. If you have any questions about how you can pro-actively and positively approach piracy, drop a comment in the space below. I’ll do my very best to find the answer for you.
Until next time…