Why You Should Love It When People Pirate Your Books

by James L. Rubart

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman, and go crazy dirt biking with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on mind bending journeys. He’s the best-selling, Christy award winning author of seven novels (next book, The Five Times I Met Myself launches Nov 10th) as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com

Did you notice the word “should” in my title? I hate piracy. It drives me nuts when I get a Google alert (often daily) and there’s another pirate site ripping my publisher and me off with FREE download of James L. Rubart’s books! FREE audio! FREE e-book! FREE PDF!

But that’s my heart talking. My mind realizes the pirates are doing me a favor. And doing you a favor too.

Here’s Why

Last Saturday night I was at a party and a buddy introduced me to a woman as an author. The lady asked what my first novel was. I said, “A novel called Rooms.”

“Oh, are there any books you might compare it to?”

Since I’ve had hundreds of people compare Rooms to The Shack, I said. “Have you heard of a book called The Shack?”

I expected her to say, “Yes!” since she mentioned she read Christian fiction widely. 

Nope. She frowned and said she hadn’t heard of it. Here’s a book that’s sold 20 million copies, been banned from Christians book stores, and been debated from church pulpits for eight years now. But no, she hadn’t heard of it. 

What Does This Tell Us?

Was this lady ignorant? Ill informed? Not in the least. She simply hadn’t been in circles where The Shack had been discussed. (Yes, it’s possible that you’re reading this right now going, “Huh? What’s The Shack.) And that’s my point.

Just because we run in circles where we know all the Christian novels coming out doesn’t mean everyone else does. My friend, Allen Arnold said when he left Thomas Nelson, he was shocked how Christian fiction dropped off the radar for him. 

Not that he was unaware of what was going on, but how Christian fiction didn’t make much of a blip on the people at his new job. (And he works for a para-church organization.)

What’s Are You Trying To Say, James?

Our problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity. Outside a tight little circle, many authors who we think are well-know, aren’t. 

As much as I hate piracy, it spreads the word. It puts our novels in the hands of people who might never pick up our books otherwise. And if they like our books, they will talk! (Ever heard of giving a book away for free for a time, or dirt cheap, like .99 cents?)

If they talk enough, other people (yeah, I’m talking about the honest types) will hear about our books and buy them. Am I saying the more piracy, the higher our book sales?

That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Agree? Disagree? How do you handle piracy? Have you ever downloaded a book illegally? Been tempted to? 

Your turn, love to glean some of the wisdom I know is bubbling away inside your brain.