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.