I know, I know, when you download that book illegally it doesn’t feel like it matters. It doesn’t feel like it’s hurting anyone. Authors are rich, right? No one will notice that one little book.
here’s the thing, *most* authors are not rich. I couldn’t survive on the
money I make from writing—I’m lucky to have a spouse who brings in the
income that helps us scrape by. My income? Well, it can hardly be called
that currently. With no book deals in my immediate future and my
advances from previous ones paid…this year I will be earning the least
amount since I sold my first book in 2011. In fact, I am honestly
considering not writing anymore because I cannot afford to.
today I’m just hoping to put piracy into a little perspective. I’m sure
people who steal books won’t care and I’ll still get flamed, but hey,
I’m an author. I care about this. Piracy literally threatens my ability
to feed my kids.
Here’s the hard numbers:
traditionally published US paperbacks, I make about .69 cents per sale.
Yes, not even a dollar of that $9.99 price point goes to me.
the traditionally published US ebooks, I make 25% of list, which is
anywhere from $0.49-$2.00 depending on sales and how they choose to
price the book.
On my indie books, it’s much more…but I sell drastically less. So we’re going to say it all evens out.
My kids’ lunch costs $1.75 each day.
I currently have TWO kids in school, so that’s $3.50 a day currently. When my last joins his siblings in school it’ll be up to $5.25 a day.
might not sound like a lot to many people, but it is a lot to us. Some
people might even say “Oh, well if you made lunch it’d be cheaper”…but
I’ve priced that out and it’s about the same. Trust me, I try to save a
buck when I can.
Let me throw more numbers at you. If I paid for
this school lunch for all twelve grades, what would be the cost? Well,
school here is about 180 days, so accounting for absences let’s say 165
days a year I’m forking out $5.25 for my three kids to eat lunch at
school (and it’ll probably be more when they hit Jr. High and up and
want to buy the fancier stuff).
165 x 3 kids = 495 school lunches a year
495 x $1.75 = $866.25 a year for school lunch
$866.25 x 12 years = $10, 395 just to feed my kids one meal a day
in school clothes and supplies, extracurricular expenses, doctor
visits, college funds (which I can’t even begin to create)…supporting a
family is hard. You think authors are rich? Honestly moment—I did not make 25% of that $10,395 sum last year.
Most days, I don’t even sell a book. If
I had to feed my kids on what I sold each day…they would starve. Or one
would get a meal if they were lucky. So if we’re cool with piracy
because it doesn’t impact authors, please just remember that most days, I
don’t make enough money on my writing to even buy my kids school lunch.
When you pirate my book, maybe imagine that you are taking a meal from
my kids. You’re kinda like that punk on the playground going around
stealing kids’ lunch money because you’re bigger and you can and you
don’t care. Maybe you even get away with it, but that doesn’t mean it
doesn’t hurt people.