Piracy, Bullying, etc.

Every now and then these things flare up, so here are my standard responses:


I try not to get upset about people pirating my books. I accept the idea that not all of the downloads are actual lost sales, and I think that the measures I’ve seen to combat piracy do more harm than good. So, since I can’t do anything about it, I try to ignore it.

But, for the record: I do NOT give people permission to upload or download copies of my books. If you want to share with a friend, like you would do with a print copy, that’s fine with me (as long as it’s fine with my publishers). But if you don’t know the person with whom you’re sharing, if you’re making the book widely available or are downloading it from some random internet site for free: that’s piracy, and it bothers me.

So. I can’t stop you, but I ask you not to. And if you go ahead and do it anyway, please don’t call yourself a fan; please don’t justify your decision by saying that you’re doing me a favour (!) because of the publicity; and please don’t say that it’s all fine because you’re not stealing a physical item. You’re engaging in piracy. It hurts authors. I wish you would stop.

Bullying (of/by/around authors online):

It should go without saying.

But, as recent nonsense has shown us, it apparently doesn’t. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, save yourself hours of aggravating reading and don’t ask!)

So, for the record, speaking as an author: Reader reviews are interesting. Reader reviews are useful. Reader reviews are occasionally truly touching and gratifying, and sometimes quite painful. But, mostly, as an author: reader reviews are none of my damned business.

I appreciate positive reviews and have made several good online friends because of them. Negative reviews can really sting. But that’s not the readers’ problem, it’s mine.

Readers write reviews for themselves, for their friends, for a circle of readers with common interests, for strangers… it’s none of my business if you’re writing reviews in order to please your pink Martian overlords. The one person the reviews are not for is me.

So, positive or negative, formal or flippant, benign or cruel – your reviews are not a form of bullying. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to buy (hopefully) and read my book, and however you want to express your thoughts on that book is absolutely up to you.

Like I said, it should go without saying.