Jerks & Irks LIV: The Perils of Piracy & How to Prevail

You never think it will happen to you…

I was riding the high of Blood in the Past‘s most recent free day. It had done well during free days past (900+ and 800+ downloads, respectively), but this time I had submitted to several promotional websites, hoping to be picked up without paying for a guaranteed spot. To my surprise, I was featured on both Free Booksy and eReader Perks! I had over 1800 downloads that day and Blood in the Past made it to #133 in the Kindle Free Store and #2 in the Kindle Free Crime Thrillers. That was a Sunday (also my birthday, if you’ll recall). The next day, I was enjoying my bump in sales (the only reason to do these free days in the first place), when I opened my email to a Google Alert that ruined my day. Like I said, you never think it will happen to you.

You see, I set up Google Alerts for my name and the title of my book to stay abreast of cheerier situations, such as unsolicited reviews, Twitter chatter about me and my events, etc. I never expected to click on the link and see Blood in the Past available for download for FREE on some shady-ass website. But there it was. And I wanted to cry. One of the 1800 people who had downloaded it the day before–SOME JERK–had uploaded to mobilsm.org, a tech website that offers free apps, programs, ebooks, etc.

After I stopped shaking and I got a hold of myself, I remembered all the advice I’d ever read about book piracy, mostly everyone says not to sweat being on a piracy site. It means you made it, consider it extra exposure, etc. Well, with all due respect to those talking heads, screw that noise. I worked hard on Blood in the Past, it only costs a couple of bucks, and for heaven’s sake, I run a free promotion once a damn month! I decided then I wasn’t going to just bend over my desk and take this piracy crap quietly (excuse the visual). So I did what everyone does when they’re lost for answers: I Googled it. And I got an answer. And I acted on it. And less than one week later I received an email that my book had been removed. Hurrah!

I bet you’re wondering how I managed that. Here’s how:

  • My Google search led me to this link. God bless anything that begins with the prefix Wiki.
  • Before I consulted the steps on the WikiHow page however, I made sure the site where my book was pirated had a copyright policy, which it did. You want to make sure that you comply with the offending site’s procedures, if they have their own. For example, mobilism.org had a specific clause that had to be included within your complaint for it to even be considered.
  • Next, I went back to the WikiHow page and basically followed the steps. There is actually a nifty little script for you to adhere to that makes it easier for you. FYI, when I sent my email to mobilism.org, I added an extra paragraph that went a little more in-depth in terms of proving my identity. In addition, I attached a couple of documents. You can choose whatever works best for you, but I went with the New Jersey Certificate of Trade for my publishing company, Blood Read Press, and the Copyright Page taken straight from Blood in the Past. I chose those two documents because the mailing address is the same, which tied my legal name to my pen name. Ta da!
  • Now, I’d like to say that I pressed send on my polite, yet firm, email and bing-bang-boom, Blood in the Past was rescued for mobilism.org’s  slimy grasp, but that’s not how it happened. Their website claims copyright infringement complaints will be addressed within 48 hours of being received. Lord knows when my little email would be received so, after 56 hours had passed, I returned to the website. Closer inspection revealed that if you became a member and directly messaged the head of the thread where the infringement took place (i.e. apps, ebooks, software, etc.), the response time would be shorter. So, after much reticence and downright nausea, I joined the site (promptly showering after) and messaged the screen name “Phex”. Sure enough, within 48 hours, Blood in the Past was free. Well, not free. For sale, on Amazon. If it were free, that would mean it was still on the piracy site…oh never mind…you know what I mean.

I must confess: this is my first brush with piracy and this only one website. I can’t promise that these steps will work in every situation with every website. But it can’t hurt to have somewhere to start, right? My advice? Start with setting up Google Alerts for your name and book title(s). If it wasn’t for that email, I would never have had the day after my birthday ruined and I would have never sprung into action, thus saving my book from being held hostage by pirates.

I Put the “Ass” In Procrastination

My critique partner, Eli Godbolt, said he was going to dedicate this past Monday and Tuesday to writing and writing only. I was inspired. I had to work at the stupid bookstore on Monday, but I vowed to do some serious writing on Tuesday and Wednesday. The weather was supposed to be gorgeous and my whiteboard was chock full of chapter outlines.

Let’s do this! Right?

Jordanna, please meet the overly played out phrase “Epic Fail.”

image courtesy of graphicshunt.com

See, what had happened was…aka here’s what my brain said:

“The last chapter flowed so smoothly because you wrote it all down in longhand first. We should do that this time. After we check our Twitter notifications.”

“Oh dear, we forgot to mention Lyla’s husband in that chapter. Remember? Now we have to check Facebook.”

“Well now the chapter is way too long. We should split it up into two chapters. But first, when was the last time you hit refresh on your email?”

“Hungry! You know that pumpkin cake we make? We should try that with those overripe bananas on the kitchen table.”

“We should check Pinterest! Right now!”

“Okay, we’ll start writing. But first we should take a few artsy photos of our notebook with Instagram.”

“Our nail polish is chipped. We should take it off.”

“Okay, we’re typing. You know what would be cool? If we could find something like Lyla’s driftwood coffee table on Pinterest. Let’s go look!”

“It’s been a while since we checked Facebook and Twitter. I’m just saying…”

“Our writing is awesome. So much better than that crappy book we’re reading. We should actually just hunker down and finish that and get it over with.”

“The cat knocked our thesaurus off the table. It’s out of reach. We can’t do a read-through of this chapter right now.”

“Let’s go write by the river! … What’s that guy doing? Look at that sail boat! We want a kayak! Oooh a butterfly! Aagh, a mosquito. Is that guy staring at us? Hasn’t he ever seen anyone take pictures with Instagram before? Ugh!”

“We want beer!”

“Dammit, there’s no beer in the house.”

“We should go grocery shopping. Wait, we don’t really need anything. We should go buy new clothes for our upcoming vacation though. Right now, before all the summer clothes are gone.”

“We still want beer! Beer helps us write!’

“We should bring the laptop to the local craft beer restaurant and sit outside and write!”

“We have to take pictures of the laptop next to the craft beer with Instagram though.”

“Anything new with Facebook, Twitter, Email? Oh my God, we forgot WordPress! What are our hits? WHAT ARE OUR HITS???”

“Ooh someone liked our picture on Instagram! We should upload it on Facebook and Twitter!”

And this is how my two dedicated days of writing went. Somewhere in there I was also sick. Heaven forbid I should try to write between bouts of losing my cookies. (That’s a euphemism. It wasn’t like, “Oh no, where’d my snickerdoodles go?“) I know, so sad. I’m sure we all have days like this. Good news is I did manage to churn out two pretty good chapters. Just have to polish them up tomorrow.

That’s right, tomorrow. Shut up.

PS: My critique partner also failed. But his reasons were infinitely better so I won’t embarrass myself by including them here.

PPS: You guys should follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Just search Jordanna East. I’m saturating the social network. Boo-yah!

Jerks & Irks IV: The Yahoo Hullabaloo…

For the fourth installment of my Jerks & Irks series, I would very much like to rant about the excruciating process of cleaning out my Yahoo mailbox and why Yahoo must think I said something about its mother or kicked its puppy. This process is especially taxing on Mondays, since I try not to really use the computer on Sundays when Hubby-pants is home, allowing the emails to really pile up.

A little backstory: my original email address, created in 1999, includes the #69 in it. I know, I know. Feel free to judge me. I was 17 years old, a freshman in college, and having the #69 in your email address or AIM screen name was the IN thing to do, so bite me. Anyway, I recently decided to get a big-girl email address with just my first name and my new married last name. How professional! So my original, immature, kama sutra email address receives coupons, Living Social deals, Victoria’s Secret sales, travel site deals, etc. My big-girl email address receives everything relating to jobs, writing, and blogging. Thanks to all the lovely fellow bloggers I subscribe to, I receive about 80+ emails a day. Holy crap! Then, when I skip Sundays, I end up with about 200 emails by Monday morning. Here’s where my griping begins…

I should be able to simply go through my emails, one by one, and decide if I want to read more, delete it, or save it. This should be a continuous, pain-free process until my inbox says there are no more unread emails. But Yahoo apparently hates me and everything I stand for as a person. After checking half a dozen emails, it freezes. Not my computer. Not the entire Yahoo site. Just the email page. What happens is this: I decide I don’t want a particular email, I click Delete, and the email stays on the page, mocking my frustration, whispering to the Delete Button, and having a giggle at my expense. When this happens, the email counter to the left that displays how many emails remain, decreases by one! Its on MY side! Its got MY back! So I click on my friend, the email counter, to bring me to the full list of emails that remain in my inbox. And guess what? The email I just deleted is gone. Phew! So I click on the next email to be read. You know what pops up? THE EMAIL I DELETED!!! NO!More snickering and giggling occur. The emails and the Delete Button are having a field day and I am pulling my hair out one strand at a time while cursing under my breath. So I close the web browser. I reopen the web browser. I return to Yahoo. “Hi AVA” it says. Don’t “Hi AVA” me! I go to my inbox and everything works as it should and all is back to normal…Until about 7 emails later when this entire process repeats itself. So when you see a notification that says I “Liked” or “Commented” on one of your posts from last Tuesday, I wasn’t walking down memory lane; Yahoo was just being a gigantic JERK! (But not the email counter, he’s my friend, but he gets bullied by the emails and the Delete Button. Apparently, I need more powerful Yahoo friends. No offense, email counter.)

 

By the way, my Twitter account is STILL suspended, so “Like” me on Facebook. If you don’t, my feelings will get hurt. I’m sensitive like that. : )