Today, I woke up, checked my e-mail, and found this 'Google Alert' warning me about one result on my pen-name. I checked it an found my Dead Men Tells No Tales was uploaded on a pirate site.
Guess what? I felt honored.
I know, that's unfair, it should be reported, and so on. But there is not much we can do about it.
Many of these sites are in far away countries who do not respect international laws. You can't go legal against a site in Russia or Ukraine, especially if you are a broken Indie like me.
However, I had to warn Amazon. Dead Men is enrolled on the KDP Select program and that means no one can sell, share, or re-distribute my story except Amazon - including me, the author.
Funny thing, of all my books these guys pirated my pirate story!
Just two days ago, 'Dead Men' reached a total of 1000 downloads. Mostly, come from the two times I put it on freebies, but 10% come from paying customers. It became my bestseller.
Would you believe the original story was completely different?
I wrote it under 'Curse of the Black Schooner' as a prequel of 'Black Schooner', my debut's first tale. It was released on Facebook for free as a six part weekly chiller.
Well, while I was writing 'Curse' I received a request from a small press asking me to write a short story set on an alternate historical reality with zombies. It had to concur with many others to get into an upcoming (?) anthology. So, I rewrote it completely, using the same characters, but in a different setting. The schooner became a brig, and Captain Red Leg became Admiral of the League. I assure you the story took a different direction from the original one, yet it kept its meaning; the origins of the Black Brig (Schooner).
Dead Men never make it into the anthology, but, ironically, became my greatest success.
There is a dark side to this story, too.
I'm an independent writer, doing this by less than nine months. I self published six books, until now, and planning to release a new novel in July (my first non horror story) and another short based on a real experience my wife had. I'm doing all of this by myself and keeping my budget as low as possible because I don't have an actual job. I want this to become my job, but it takes time, skills, marketing, and some luck.
So, I desperately need all cents I make with my books.
Do you want to get some free stuff? OK. Besides 'Dead Men' and 'The South Will Rise Again' went free for a total of 5 days each. I'll write more free stuff to let you enjoy my stories.
But please, do me a favor. If you enjoyed your free or pirated copy leave a line or two at Amazon. Tell people what you liked (or disliked) about my story. You'll help me get more visibility, because reviews sell.
It costs you nothing.