Warning: rant ahead.
I love writing. I wouldn’t give that up. But sometimes, like this past week, I have wanted to quit publishing. Today, I’m very close to my breaking point, and the temptation to say, “Enough. I’m done. I can’t take it anymore,” is at its peak.
I suspect a lot of other authors feel this way from time to time. Our writing is often not regarded as “work”, and the reason it’s not regarded as work is because reading isn’t work. Reading is for enjoyment. People can read a book in a couple of hours that took months (sometimes even years) to write. Authors put time into their books, they put money into putting the books together (editing and covers), and then they have to figure out a way to get the books out into the world so people know these books exist. That isn’t cheap. Granted, some stuff can be bartered, but most of the time it’s not. When people pick up a book, they want a great cover with a book that is well-edited. They want the book to be professional. Well, professional comes at a price.
Which makes me angry as all get out when some thief, or a group of thieves, takes my books and tries to claim they own the copyright to them to do whatever they want with them. I heard an expression recently that pretty much sums up how disgusted I am with these jerks, and that expression goes something like this, “There aren’t enough middle fingers in the world to adequately convey exactly how I feel about you.”
I’ve had ebooks and paperbacks stolen. Now some scumbag thief is going around trying to get audiobook narrators to make audiobooks off of my ebooks. You’d think audiobooks would be safe since authors usually have to pay a pretty good sum of money to have those made. I guess narrators are offering to do books for free in return to splitting royalties. That’s the only reason I could think that a thief would pull this scam because I can’t see a thief being willing to shell out a few hundred dollars to have one audiobook produced.
Note to narrators: please charge upfront for your service. If you’re offering to narrate books for free, stop. Over the past week, I’ve had three of you contact me as if I can magically make these scamming low-life thieves go away. I can’t do it. It’s like playing whack-a-mole. There’s a lot of them, and they keep coming back. I know you mean well by contacting me, but I can NOT get rid of them. I’ve contacted ACX like you wanted, but that is all I can do. I can’t go further than that. I am only one person. I have no one representing me. There is no publisher I can run to. This is the downside to self-publishing. Authors are on their own. What would help is if narrators charged for their services instead of offering up freebies to these people.
If I were to ever make an audiobook, I would pay for it because it’s the right thing to do. I believe in paying people for a service they provide. I never ask to get anything for free. I pay my editors, I pay my cover artists, and I give my beta readers a free ebook or paperback. I make sure the people who help me out get something in return.
But I’ll make it clear to everyone on this blog that I am NOT going to make audiobooks. Ever. It would be a huge waste of money. My ebooks don’t sell that much. I keep losing income. If I have trouble selling ebooks, what makes you think that I can turn a profit on audiobooks? This isn’t the golden age of self-publishing anymore, and I am NOT a big name author who is consistently on the bestseller’s lists. I can NOT provide for my family off of my income anymore. I used to be able to do that in 2014-2017, but I can’t do that these days. My husband has his pension and his job that keeps us afloat, and we live in a trailer with a couple of used cars. So what do you thieves think you’re going to make off of my work?
Contrary to what you’ve been told by some authors, not every single author is making “a six-figure income”. We are not all rolling in the money. I wish these authors who brag about their money would quit it because it’s making the rest of us deal with thieves who think they can steal our work and get rich from it. That’s why these thieves steal. They’re looking for easy money. Well, there’s no money in my books. I am not one of those authors who is bringing in a ton of money every month. I used to be, but I’m not anymore. That ship has sailed, and you thieves are too late.
The reason a part of me wants to stop publishing is because chasing after these scumbags is NOT worth the time or the stress I have to deal with every time this comes up. I know authors who’ve never been subjected to this, and I wish I was them. It must be nice to not have a bunch of thieves constantly coming after your books.
So I put in all this time into writing my books. Then I put in the money to get it ready for the world by paying the cover artist and my editor and arranging for my beta readers to give me their input. I don’t get a return on my investment these days. I have nothing financially to show for all the time and money I put into these books. And then I get slapped in the face with thieves who believe that they have the right to steal my books. My books are not about money. My books are a part of me. They mean something to me. I’m emotionally attached to everything I write. I’m not writing these books to get rich. I’m writing them because I love to write.
And for you, you scumbag thief, to come in and just steal my books like you are the one who wrote them is like someone coming into my house and stealing my children from me. I know you don’t care. You only care about yourself. It’s probably funny to you that you do this. All I can say is thank goodness there is a God in Heaven who knows everything that is going on and will balance the scales someday. You are going to reap what you’ve shown.
To everyone else, this is why I’m tempted to quit publishing. Sometimes I think it’s not worth all the headache to put books out into the world. I could get a job that pays better and not have half this stress I have to deal with in publishing my books. I love to write. I’d keep writing. But I dream of keeping those books to myself so that the thieves of the world can’t come in and grab them from me.
I’m not threatening to stop publishing. I believe God has called me to do this, and I believe I’m under a spiritual attack right now. Why? Who knows? Maybe it’s to discourage me from publishing more books. But I’m old enough to realize that if God has called you to do something, you should do it no matter what happens because in the end, there’s a reward waiting in Heaven for those who faithfully pursue His will. This isn’t about me. This isn’t about my books. This is about doing the will of God.
I’m just ranting in this blog post to get this stuff off my chest. It’s been building up all week, and when I received word that a thief (or thieves) were trying to get yet another narrator to make audiobooks based on my hard work, I just lost it. I had to write my thoughts down in order to put things in perspective. Which I did. In the end, the only thing that matters is that I stay the course and keep running the race God has placed before me. In eternity, this stuff with the thieves won’t even matter.
I do feel better, but it still ticks me off that thieves go around doing this kind of thing. It’s going to take time to calm down completely from this.
Wow. Didn’t know all that strife is going on behind the scenes. I’m sorry you have to be on the defensive so much. It seems very unfair, and just plain wrong. When I buy I book I expect that the author is getting a fair share of the profits because that book is their hard work. I hope you don’t stop writing and publishing. I enjoy your books tremendously. They can pick me up when I’m having a bad day or just add to a good one. When life gets overwhelming it’s nice to disappear into a good story and visit with fun people. Hang in there. You do have fans who love and appreciate your hard work. Thanks for writing.
I have no intention of stopping. It’s tempting at times when stuff like that happens, but I would miss the interaction I have with people like you. 😀 If it wasn’t for the support and encouragement of you guys, I would have given up a long time ago because it’s a pain to fight against the scammers. So thank you for sticking with me! It makes me feel a lot better!
I love your books. I’m praying for you
Thank you! I can use all the prayers I can get. 😀
This is horrible. I’ve had my books put on pirating sites, but no one has ever tried to make an audiobook out of it. I’ve done one audiobook, and I didn’t come close to getting back that money I paid the narrator. And I paid the low end of the spectrum for narrators.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to worry about people stealing our books. I can’t understand how people can justify stealing someone else’s work. It boggles my mind how they don’t feel guilty about it.
The ‘like’ isn’t a like. I’ve been there, seen these rats, and see more and more every day. Everyone thinks to make money off the people who want to tell stories. And if it’s only one dollar, it’s a dollar they didn’t have to work for. Multiply that by the number of authors they steal from …
I know what I’d like to do to them.
They are rats, and it seems like there’s more of them all the time. You’re right. If they steal enough, that would add up in the long run. Ugg. I wish there was a way we could eliminate theft completely.
block-chain? Maybe one day.
I have to change my email address. The new one will be- firstname.lastname@example.org
Please change this for me. I donât want to miss your emails.
Hi Linda! Is this for my email list for when I have a new book out? That email goes out six times a year or so. In that case, I think I can update the email.
If it’s for these blog posts, I don’t think I have any control over who is following it. On the top right column of this blog (right under my banner) is a “Follow” this blog option. If you put the new email in there, it should update it.
Keep me updated on what you’re looking to do. I’ll try to help you if I can.
I love your books, and I have all your romance series on my computer. I have re-read them many times. Ethan and Chris are my favs… I will keep buying if you keep writing…
I hate what these scumbags are doing to you
Thanks, Gail. 😀 You’re like me! Ethan and Chris are my top two favorites, too! I have so much fun with those two. They are the reason I enjoy Regencies so much.
I do plan to keep writing. The thieves can set me back, but I have to remember why I write. The writing has to come first. I can’t let fear that my books will get stolen stop me from getting them out into world. If I do that, I’ll regret it later on in life.
Wow! That is insane! I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this! 😦 Political issues are the reason I’m pretty much done with the whole publishing scene, though thieves and scammers don’t make things any better.
I didn’t even think of the political landscape. That’s a nightmare in itself. I fully expect that eventually my books will be banned for my Christian content. But who knows? There might be something else that pops up that I’m not expecting. It seems that everyone is on edge these days, and anything is up for grabs. The atmosphere is destructive toward the creative arts. 😦
Dear Ruth Ann,
I just sent this to ACX
“I have received this message from the supposed rights holder for a novel by Ruth Ann Nordin.
benjamin anyanwu 23 Jun 2020, 22:40 UTC
Hello Zimmerman, thanks for asking.someone listed my book without my consent so luckily I found out about contacted acx . that was why the book was removed by acx.i have now decided to create my audio books do as to avoid scammers.thanks for your concern.if you have a good voice, I might choose you to narrate my book.thanks
This is NOT RUTH ANN NORDIN and this is an ongoing problem with this author’s books. I have already wasted time auditioning for one of “her” books. This Benjamin person is a scammer. You should be paying much more due diligence in screening books. I have been scammed before on ACX and am now wary and suspicious of the books on your site. ACX has a responsibility as distributor of audiobooks to the authors and narrators, publishers and readers not to just take your money and run.
I hope it might help just a little. I auditioned for one of “your” books and got the contract but ACX did close that one down. Then I saw there was another one posted so I enquired and the reply I got above is so illiterate I was warned! If I can help in any other way do let me know.
Stevie Zimmerman, narrator
Thank you, Stevie! That helps a lot. I’ve contacted ACX twice in the past week and told them both times that I am not making any audiobooks. In the second email, I also included that I have registered my books with the US Copyright Office to prove ownership of them. I have not handed over my rights to anyone else. So it should be clear to the ACX team that anyone who has my books up there is a scammer.
I’m sorry you wasted that time auditioning for one of my books. It’s just terrible these people are doing this. I feel sorry you and other narrators since you have to wade through all of this mess. How can anyone tell who is legit anymore? ACX needs to figure something out to clean this mess up.
Ruth, we all feel like this at times. There are days I wonder if I should just give up. It takes a lot of time and effort, and you often don’t see any headway. God bless.
I think it goes hand-in-hand with being a freelancer. While it’s great to have the freedom to do your own thing, it can take its toll on you when it feels like things aren’t going as you hoped. I don’t know what to tell others who might want to give up. They have valid reasons.