I’m going to try and make this a regular every Friday occurrence. Sometimes I’ll be blogging, sometimes I’ll have a guest. Today I am pleased to welcome one of my very good friends and writing buddy, Angela Magee.
But first… Tea.
Today I’m going to highlight a recent favorite of mine. Celestial Seasonings Sweet Apple Chamomile. You’ll notice I drink a lot of Celestial Seasonings tea. They are a local company and the stores around here carry a large variety. It’s good tea for a reasonable price.
This tea caught my eye because I really like apple. And I’m a fan of Chamomile. I’ve had other apple teas that are ok, but I’ve found that so far this is my favorite. It’s light and the Chamomile complements the Apple nicely. Neither overpower the other even when steeped for a long time. It is an Herbal Tea and is Caffeine Free and the ingredients list Chamomile, Natural Apple flavor with other natural flavors and Honey. I like it mixed with a bit of sugar because I like my teas sweet.
Ok, enough about tea. Here are some wise words from Angela.
How to get free reads without being an ass.
Julie and I spend a lot of time sharing online space; we bounce writing ideas off one another, talk about our lives, etc. The other day, she showed me Don’t Steal My Books. The title of this post by Lilith Saintcrow is pretty self explanatory (so you get the idea if you don’t want to click to it just yet, or if you have an objection to four-letter words), and it’s only the most recent of the very many author rants I’ve read against e-piracy. Yet it stuck in my head, maybe because she asked a very sensible question: “Why do I have to keep explaining to people that stealing is wrong?”
There are probably lots of types of people who steal ebooks. Off the top of my head there’s
1. People who want what they want when they want it.
2. People who are broke and decide that the problem is there regardless of them; their downloading a book or two doesn’t make it any worse.
3. People who really don’t get that they’re stealing.
If you’re the first type, nothing I say here is going to matter to you. You’ve heard it all, and you don’t care. I can *almost* sympathize; take the morality out of it, and you can argue that the music industry went nuts about song sharing, but they keep making more and more money. There are just two problems with that: it’s wrong to take the morality out of it, and the music industry and the book industry are very different.
The vast majority of authors are lucky to write for a living. That’s not to say that it’s all right to download pirated copies of Nora Roberts or Stephen King books, but if you’re torrenting books thinking that you’re not doing any harm, you’re taking a product (without paying) from someone who’s maybe making their rent with the sales from their work. Maybe.
I’ve come up with a dozen or so analogies to try to explain, but I’ll spare you. It comes down to this: stories are the same as any other product, even if they don’t seem the same. Taking them without pay is only OK when the person who owns them says it’s OK.
The cool thing is, there are free reads out there that are on the up and up.
If your local library is like mine, the portal to the ebook section is obscure and annoying, but with a little digging, you can find it. (And hey, in your town, they might have hired a decent webmaster.) There may be more glitches than that….I’ve been meaning to read Nalini Singh, and they do offer one of her ebooks. Unfortunately, it’s the second in the series. There’s a lot of hit or miss, but all hits get you the books you want to read, guilt free.
Smashwords! I’m not ready to dedicate myself to promoting independent publishing. Sometimes the books are really good, but too many times you read a couple of pages and think, “There’s a good reason why you didn’t get a contract with publisher.” So I wasn’t too thrilled when I followed a link to www.smashwords.com, but since I was there, I did a search for books that were at least in my genre. Not only did I find some stuff from independents, free and otherwise, that looked really good, but I also found free offerings from New York Times bestselling author Karen Chance! Good for me because I know I like her work, and good for her (if any authors who might do the same thing happen to be reading) because that’s at least one fan who has been out of the loop and forgot to buy her last two books. When my budge will allow for it, Ms. Chance, my money is your money.
Did you think that all the free Kindle books were ancient out-of-copyright works that you read the Cliff Notes on when you were in high school? Hit the “limited time promotional offers” on their Free eBook Collections page and see how wrong you were. I downloaded Kindle for PC and a great looking book by someone I’d never heard of before. Amazon informs me that people who “bought” that book, also “bought” a free Rachel Vincent novella and other shorts, novellas, and books by authors who are familiar to me. Yes, many of these works are the kind of promos that can turn you off anthologies, but I’ve gone through a ton are the real deal.
Barnes and Noble has the same deal, and only a handful of the books seem to be Amazon repeats.
I didn’t want to leave you with just those sources, but alas, publisher promos that I’d enjoyed as recently as a few months are all done. Julie’s a YA writer, I thought. I wonder if Will Shetterly still has that free version of Midnight Girl up at Scribd? Indeed he does! I followed the trail back to the original post to make sure that it’s still meant to be free, and discovered that he and his wife, Emma Bull, have put up other stuff as well. Some of the shorts I own within my hoard of old time urban fantasy, but most of it is new to me. I’m all tingly!
Remembering the old days (and further dating myself), I recalled that Eric Flint had a very different take on book piracy. Rather than demanding that the “pirates” stop, he thought it a minor problem with a simple solution: offer some free stuff! Follow the link to find the details as well as access to a free library of sci-fi and fantasy novels.
Slower, but still useful: follow the blogs, tweets, whatevers of authors and publishers you enjoy. Your chances of winning their books in a promotion might be middling to slim, but that’s better than nothing. Better still, sometimes they post e-freebies for anyone who’s paying attention.
Bottom line—it’s not that hard to find free reads that help authors rather than hurting their bottom lines.
Angela thanks so much for stopping by. If you want to read what she has to say on a more regular basis you can find her blog here: http://anagain.blogspot.com/