My “Lowbrow” “Low Cost” Response to Megan Greenwall and Laura Miller’s Articles.

Recent articles in the New York Times and Slate have enlightened me to the levels of elitism that still exist in the publishing industry. I will do my best to be as gracious as I can.

You can read Ms. Greenwell’s article here.

You can read Ms. Miller’s article here.

My response to each:

Dear Ms. Greenwell and Ms. Miller:

After reading both your respective opinion pieces on “lowbrow” and “low-cost” independently published books, I feel I must warn you to lower your nostrils a bit. If rain is in the forecast, you could risk drowning. 

Your articles were condescending, to say the least, and I was stunned to see such a high level of disdain for indie authors. Are you truly of the belief that any author who is not with one of the big New York publishing houses isn’t worth your time or energy? It seems you wouldn’t deign to blow your nose with one of our ‘lowbrow’ and ‘low-cost’ paperbacks. 

That’s fine. 

You’re entitled to your opinions, as am I.

Your articles started out discussing the Susan Meachen case. But, somehow, you both managed to denigrate and insult the entire Indie Publishing community. 

I have published over thirty novels in my twelve years as an independently published author. My books are available at many of the same places yours: Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and, yes, Amazon. You can even find them in local libraries in most English-speaking countries. Additionally, my books have been translated into several languages and are also available in audiobook formats. 

I’m not allowed to play in your Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani-filled pond because I am self-published.

I sell a lot of books. And I do mean a lot of books. I’ve sold enough books in one week to make the New York Times Bestsellers list, but you won’t find my name there. The NYTimes suffers from the same brand of elitism and ignorance as you two do. I’m not allowed to play in your Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani-filled pond because I am self-published. 

That’s okay. I prefer playing in the ocean.

According to my research, Ms. Greenwell has not yet had her first novel published. Therefore, it’s impossible for me to compare my writing style to hers. Until today, I hadn’t heard of either one of these women. But I live in a tiny hamlet in the midwest and don’t get to the big city very often. I’m too busy writing, helping other independently published authors, and writing checks to Uncle Sam. 

At the risk of sounding overconfident, I believe I have written some pretty damned good novels. At least, that is what my readers and my peers tell me. If my writing sucked, I doubt I ever would have sold 750,000 ebook copies around the world. And, yes, I have my reviews and my sales reports to back that up.

The Indie Community is our book world. It is filled with countless wonderful, successful, and talented authors, some of whom have hit the New York Times Bestsellers list on numerous occasions—before that newspaper decided to change the rules. Authors who make more in one month off one novel than many of the traditionally published authors make in years. 

We work hard, from sunup to sunset. Some of us work seven days a week. You see, we do more than just write. We run our own businesses. Many, like me, had to form S-Corps for tax purposes, because we were making well over a quarter of a million dollars a year. We employ cover artists, editors, proof readers, narrators, and translators. Some of us also have full-time assistants to help us with the day-to-day business stuff. I myself have a team of accountants and a full-time bookkeeper, in addition to the cover artist, editor, proofers, narrators, etc.

I have two important goals each day:

  1. To make each book is better than the last one I published.
  2. To give back to the Indie Community in whatever way I can.

Maybe it was the way I was raised, but I firmly believe in being kind to others, in helping people who need it, and in never turning my nose up at anyone.

Perhaps, instead of insulting an entire community that you know nothing about, you might want to climb down off your gold-plated high horses and try reading something written by a successful indie author. I’d even be happy to send you a free copy of one of my books. Perhaps, if you accept this challenge, we could talk over lunch sometime, when you’re in my neck of the woods. I know a great local place that will let anyone in. Even highfalutin folks from New York. 

You’re welcome to hang out with us low-brow, low-cost authors any time. You see, we welcome everyone. We help each other wherever and whenever we can. We share ideas, we share marketing tips, and we share ourselves. 

As it pertains to Susan Meachen: I can assure you that her story is a rare one indeed.

As it pertains to Susan Meachen: I can assure you that her story is a rare one indeed. In my estimation, only a fraction of indie authors actually pull stunts like this. It’s beyond rare. In fact, this is the first time in my twelve years that I’ve heard of anyone doing this. 

Yes, we do have plenty of drama to deal with. But we also deal with book pirates, plagiarizers, copyright infringements, and various other ne’er-do-wells and scam artists. But you’ll find that in any career or community.

What sets people like me and my author friends apart from the Susan Meachens of the world is the fact that we don’t mind working hard. We’re genuine and honest and kind. We believe in giving back. And, the vast majority of the time, we all get along quite well. 

What Susan Meachen did was beyond the pale. It was a kick in the gut to many of us. Especially to those people who, like me, suffer from depression. To fake one’s own death and attribute it to the bullying in the book world was another slap in the face. Especially since there is no evidence of actual bullying towards Ms. Meachen. The accusations of bullying were just another layer to her lies and intricately-woven web of deceit. 

Ms. Greenwell and Ms. Miller, I challenge you to look at the big picture. Re-read what you wrote pertaining to the indie author community. Maybe take off your diamond-encrusted Dolce and Gabbana glasses and take a long, hard look at yourselves and your opinions of us. I am perfectly willing to take the time to get to know one or both of you a bit better. Are you willing to do the same?

New Year, New Goals!

The last two years have been difficult for all of us. For me, personally, it seemed my universe was tipped upside down, dunked in cold coffee and liver juice, wrung out, and left waving in the frigid wind. 

But recently, something shifted. I don’t know what or why. But I woke up one morning and realized it was all going to be okay. I actually felt hope for the future. 

I’m writing again, which is something I haven’t been able to do for quite some time. I have my mojo back! And, for the first time in a very long while, I am getting up before noon, getting dressed, and showing up to work. Yes, I realize my day job is just a few short steps from my kitchen, but still, it’s all about attitude, right?

I am very nearly finished with the next book in my The Daughters of Moirra Dundotter series! Book three is Muriale’s story, titled, of course, Muriale. God willing, I’ll be releasing her at the end of March or the first part of April. As soon as Muriale is in the hands of my beautiful and talented editor, I will begin the final book in that series: Orabillis.

After this series is completed, I will be back to writing big books again! I’ll make announcements on those later in the spring.

There are so many books that I want to write this year! Right now, I think I could live to 110 and still have books left in me to write. That’s a good thing. It’s better than not having any ideas at all, right?

So, I’m sending a big THANK YOU to all of my beautiful readers who have patiently waited and encouraged me to continue this journey of mine. Without all of you, none of what I do would be possible. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. 

Now, I’m off to work on Muriale’s story! 


Kamel & Lauren Perez

I received word this afternoon that my KDP Rep, Kamel Perez, and his beautiful wife, Lauren, were killed in a hit and run accident Tuesday. They leave behind two precious children.

Kamel has been my KDP rep for many years. Seriously, he was one of the nicest, kindest souls you could ever meet. He was always there to help whenever I needed it. I never had the pleasure of speaking to his wife, but I do know he loved her very much. He also adored his children.

Lauren was 35. Kamel was 38. This news is devastating. Many of the authors that Kamel helped over the years are reeling from the news.

The loss of these two wonderful people will be felt for a very long time. I am simply gutted by this. It was a senseless accident apparently caused by someone who was driving while impaired. I won’t say anything else about that, at least not for now.

A go fund me campaign has been set up. If you’d like to contribute, click here.

Kamel and Lauren with their two children.

My heart breaks for their children and their families. Please, keep them all in your prayers.


In my mind, this is worse than the battle we had with the Amazon book stuffers from a couple of years ago. Way worse. Because this time, it isn’t the ‘get-rich-quick’ scam artists who are scamming authors; it’s the company itself who is doing it.

Yes, I said it.

Audible is running its own scam under the guise of a legitimate company. For those of you who are unaware of what is happening, let me break it down for you: authors, once again, are getting screwed over. It’s really that simple.

Here is how the scam works. You – an audiobook listener – can become a member of audible for $14.95 a month. With that, you get two ‘credits’ wherein you can ‘purchase’ two audiobooks of your choice with those credits. Of course you can outright buy as many audiobooks as your little heart desires. But why would you when Audible’s return policy is so ‘user friendly’?

Audible says they monitor the number of returns closely and if someone has returned too many audiobooks that member risks losing their membership. The question is how many is too many? 15? 50? 100? 10,000? Who knows and apparently no one at Audible really cares. This is one of those wink and a nod, look the other way, I know nothing, nothing! kind of things. If you don’t ask what the hard limit on returns is, then there isn’t one.

What’s wrong with returning audiobooks you might ask and why are you so pissed about it? The cold hard truth of the matter is that an audible member can listen to an entire audiobook, leave a review, and then return it. We’re (authors) are pissed because when that happens, we aren’t paid for the book.

We. Owe. Them.

Oh, it gets worse. Keep in mind authors are paid royalties from Audible every 30 days. Example: royalties from books purchased in January are paid to us in February; February is paid to us in March; you get the idea.

Here’s how it gets worse. Let’s say a listener purchases an audiobook in February but doesn’t get around to listening to it until March or April. They listen to the entire book, leave a nice review, and then they decide to return the audiobook in May, exchanging it for another book. When that happens, the author now has to pay back the royalty for the returned book. We owe Audible. You heard me. We. Owe. Them. Because we were already paid the royalty, but in order to keep the exceedingly liberal return policy afloat, we have to pay back the royalty earned.

Yes, it gets worse from there.

Accountability? There isn’t any.

We have no idea how many audiobooks have been returned. Audible doesn’t provide us with that information. Amazon lets you know every single ebook that has been returned, but Audible doesn’t. We have absolutely no way of tracking it. The reader/listener can. They can go to their audible dashboard and see exactly which book(s) they’ve returned over the last year or more.

But the author of that audiobook? We don’t get any of that information. We are once again at the mercy of a huge corporation who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about those individuals who are providing content.

Could it get any worse? Of course it can.

I’ve recently learned that you can purchase an audiobook, download it to your device, such as your phone or tablet, return it, and the audiobook remains on your device forever. You can listen to it later.

It’s a never ending cycle.

Audible is nothing more than an audiobook library at this point in the game. A quasi-library whereby authors aren’t allowed to opt in or opt out as we can with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. We have no choice, or at least we didn’t used to have a choice.

How much does it really cost an author?

It can cost thousands of dollars for an author to have an audiobook created. It’s especially expensive for those of us who write really big books. We pay for the finished hour. A book that is 10 hours long can cost $4,000 or more. We have to pay the narrator and the producer/sound guy.

In the past, before the ‘return at will’ policy, an author could reasonably expect to earn back the cost of producing an audiobook in a month or two. But now? Now it can take months, if not an entire year to earn that money back. Even though authors are adding more content, we’re earning less money. Royalties have been on a continual downward trend for the past several years. I couldn’t figure out why until I was made aware of the current Audible scam. Now it makes sense. More and more people have caught on to the fact that they can use their credits to grab a book, listen to it, then return it. I am 100% certain that readers/listeners were unaware of the fact we weren’t being paid in the process.

So for the low, low price of $14.95 a month, you too can screw an author!

So for the low, low price of $14.95 a month, you too can screw an author. And not in the way that leaves a smile on their face.

Supposedly, Audible is changing its return policy and putting a max of 7 days from date of purchase. But that doesn’t mean jack squat. Authors have lost millions of dollars in revenue due to Audible’s Return Policy Scam. Millions upon millions. They don’t apologize, they don’t listen, and they sure as hell aren’t doing anything to make it up to us or to actually fix the problem. They’re still not providing us with information on returns. And repeated requests for an audit go largely ignored.

They are, after all, the big corporation and we’re just the little piss ants who provide content. They don’t care about us, the author. They simply don’t.

How can you help stop it?

Author Susan May has done an incredible job bringing this ugly scam out of the darkness and into the light. She has worked tirelessly with The Alliance for Independent Authors, The Authors Guild, and countless others on this issue. I commend her and thank her for her hard work and due diligence. She’s united thousands of authors in this fight. Tap here to learn more about Susan May and this fight.

For readers/listeners: If you want a better way to get your audiobook fix at lower prices, might I suggest Chirp? Chirp has the best audiobook deals without a monthly membership fee. They have really awesome audiobook prices and sales.

Because Audible controls our prices when we upload directly to them, we can’t run a sale or offer our books at lower prices. I’m using Find A Way Voices now to make my audiobooks available at many more places than those Audible limits us to. Find A Way also allows us complete control over pricing and we can even run sales.

Stay tuned for more important updates over the next days and weeks. The fight is far from over.

We're All in This Together

We’re living in a very strange time, where we aren’t quite sure what to make of all the information regarding the coronavirus. We’re constantly bombarded with information; some of it is good and sound, while some of it might not be. It’s a very dynamic situation that isn’t just changing day by day, but also minute by minute. I for one am quite grateful for the rapid dissemination of information. Being informed can help you make decisions that are best for you and your families.

Some of us have loved ones who are at a higher risk of getting very ill from this quite terrifying bug. They’re in that scary category of ‘compromised’. Take my family for instance.

Both of my daughters had to have open-heart surgery when they were babies. My oldest also had kidney surgery when she was six. And two plus years ago, my husband had a heart attack. Yes, each of them are in that ‘compromised’ category. Meaning, if they get the worst strain of this virus, it could be deadly. That isn’t a gross exaggeration as has been proven in other countries around the world. And this isn’t something new for us, this ‘compromised’ status. We deal with this every day and especially during flu season. It is magnified a hundred-fold right now because we simply don’t know enough about this nasty bug. What little we do know is quite terrifying. 

Sometimes, the world can feel far too large and at other times, far too small. There are times when we might feel like we’re totally alone in the universe, like a meteorite drifting endlessly across the dark sky, just looking for a place to land. Yet at others, it can feel as though we’re crammed in together like sardines. So squished together you struggle to breathe. 

We see people fighting over toilet paper and hand sanitizer. We see news reports coming out of Italy with death tolls that make me want to weep. Major sporting events not only cancelled, but postponed indefinitely. Colleges sending kids back home to finish the rest of the current academic year with online classes. Book signing events cancelled altogether or rescheduled for the end of the year. Any ‘large’ gatherings of 100 or more people cancelled. Grade schools extending spring breaks to the end of April.

Some people are upset and believe all the cancellations are sheer madness. “Why are you shutting down schools if no one has even been diagnosed with the virus yet?” The answer to that is simple: we’re trying to keep people from getting sick. This is a pandemic we’re dealing with. A virus that has no cure and no vaccine. Sometimes, it just isn’t enough to spray Lysol or bleach down surfaces. Sometimes, the best offense is a good defense. 

I encourage each of us to check on our neighbors and offer support whenever possible. If you’re going to the grocery store or Target, see if anyone on your street needs something. Maybe check with local food pantries or homeless shelters to see if they’re in need of anything. Also, be extra kind to those cashiers and workers. It’s not their fault the store ran out of toilet paper. It isn’t their fault the governor just called a state of emergency. It isn’t their fault someone decided to buy fourteen packs of TP. 

As we hunker down and practice ‘social distancing’, don’t forget that at the heart of it all, we’re still members of the human race. We really don’t know what battles our neighbors or strangers might be facing. Simply put, be kind to one another. Remember, we’re all in this together. This is affecting every one of us in one way or another. Let’s not get so ‘distant’ from one another that we forget that. 

Be kind, be safe, take precautions, wash your hands, and together, we can hopefully help quash the severity of this virus.



Suzan’s Top 21 List of Things You Must Do While Visiting Scotland

Lots of people have asked me “What do you recommend doing when in Scotland?” Oh, that list is endless, but I’ve narrowed it down to my personal top 21 favorite things.

Suzan Tisdale’s “Must Do When In Scotland” List:

  1. Edinburgh. Every inch of the Royal Mile. We were there for several days and still didn’t see it all.
  2. You must have lunch at Edinburgh Castle and try their tortellini! Out of this world delicious.
  3. Have dinner at the Witchery by the Castle Restaurant, in Old Town Edinburgh. Have the Cranachan for dessert and you’ll get to experience a wee bit of heaven on earth.
  4. Old town Edinburgh and New town Edinburgh… both have lots to offer. Visit the museums, the shops, and restaurants. You just can’t go wrong. 
  5. Blackwell’s Bookstore. That’s all you need to know.
  6. Have dinner at the Scotsman Hotel in Oldtown, Edinburgh. The food is amazing. 
  7. Dunnotar Castle. I recommend standing on the cliffs and looking out at the sea while the wind whips all around you. Yes, I cried. 
  8. Culloden Battlefield. Take Kleenex because you’ll need them. 
  9. Eilean Donan Castle, for all the obvious reasons!
  10. Applecross is lovely.
  11.  Stay at the West Highland Hotel in Mallaig. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to the 1800’s. Try the venison. 
  12. Take a long walk around Mallaig. Visit the shore. I think this was my most favorite village out of all the small villages we visited and I wish we could have stayed longer. 
  13. Go to the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore. Plan on spending a few hours there. 
  14.  Aberdeen was wonderful! We highly recommend the Carmelite Hotel. The food is out of this world. 
  15. We loved Inverness. When we go back, I plan on spending a few days there. 
  16. St. Andrews: Amazing little town! We loved the castle ruins, loved walking around the town. Yes, it’s a bit ‘touristy’ but the history there is amazing. 
  17. Inchmahome Priory… OMG. I’ve never felt so connected to any ‘place’ in my life as I did this island. The book ideas… the history … If I could have camped there with my laptop, I would have stayed for weeks. 
  18.  Inverary Castle was BEAUTIFUL! 
  19. The Clachan in Drymen. Lovely little pub with great food.
  20. Foods you MUST try: Cullen Skink, meat pies, Scotch pies, Cranachan, Fish and chips, tablet, Irn Bru, salmon – I’m not a salmon eater. HOWEVER, the salmon you get in Scotland is unlike any salmon you will have anywhere else. Try any of the seafood; seriously delicious. The potato scones are soooo good. Splurge and have a real ‘tea’. You won’t regret it. 
  21. Loch Lomond. Plan on spending a few hours in this sweet little village.

Things to keep in mind: There are LOTS of hills in Scotland. We did find a bit of flat land: it was a 4 foot by 4 foot square out in the middle of nowhere. (LOL) Whilst in Edinburgh, we took an Uber UP the Royal Mile and walked down. I cannot begin to tell you how important comfortable shoes are. Forget style. You’re going to do a lot of walking. 

Hire a Private Driver

You must hire a private driver to take you into the Highlands. Why not drive it? The roads are one lane in the Highlands and if you have zero experience driving on ‘the wrong side of the road’ you can cause traffic jams or worse yet, accidents. It is worth the money because you won’t be worried about driving and you’ll get to SEE everything. It is worth the money because the driver is used to those one lane roads and they know what in the hell they’re doing. 😉 You just have to trust me on this. Use Ross Shand with Your Scotland Tour. Seriously, he takes care of everything from booking hotels or B&B’s to putting together a unique tour just for you. Just tell him where you want to go, your budget, and he’ll take care of the rest. Worth every penny. This is not one of those ‘big bus tours’ type things. This is a private driver in a car who has personalized everything to fit your needs. Bonus: He wears a kilt every day. 😀

Don’t be afraid to rent an apartment. Unless it is during the summer months, then I recommend a hotel. They don’t have AC in 99.9999% of the apartments. Most buildings do NOT have elevators. Be prepared to do a lot of stairs. We ended up having to check into the Hilton Hotel (VERY NICE hotel) because the apartment was a kiln. 

Scotland’s ‘first floor’ is our ‘second floor. 

Apartment vs. Hotel

If you do rent an apartment, keep in mind the electricity and how you use it is totally different. In the first apartment, we had to flip a switch OUTSIDE the bathroom, near the floor, in order to get the shower to come on. They don’t do ‘water heaters’ like we do; it’s all tankless water heaters. 

Wait until you get to Scotland to do your money exchange, or at the very least, only exchange $50 here until you get there. Scotland’s money is beautiful, it really is! Be prepared to keep some back for souvenirs. 

Do not, under any circumstance go into any of the red telephone booths in Edinburgh. These are often used for public toilets by the drunks and STINK.

Take your time. Enjoy every moment. Don’t be afraid to visit the smaller diners and restaurants. We didn’t have one bad meal the entire time we were there. 

Pack lightly! Most of the hotels have laundry service. Or, if you rent and apartment you can do laundry there. When we go back, I’ll do one small carryon and one very small suitcase. 

Please, be respectful and don’t litter. 

A Thousand Shades of Green

There is nothing more beautiful than Scotland’s Highlands. A thousand shades of green that will at times, leave you breathless. I cannot wait to go back.

Somewhere in the Highlands…

Be kind and gracious because you will not find anyone nicer than the people of Scotland, no matter where you go. 

Inverary Castle
CRANACHAN… Proof there is a God. A good, kind, gracious God.

You Might Be On An Illegal Book Downloading Site if…

“How do I know if I’m on a legitimate book site?”

You’d be surprised the number of times I get asked that question. As in at least five times a day. I get asked lots of questions every day as it pertains to books and audiobooks. So, I decided to put together this handy guide for those individuals who are ‘uncertain’ if they’re on a legitimate book site or not.

Q: How can I tell if I’m on a book pirating site?

A: You might be on an illegal ebook downloading site (AKA book pirating site) if all the books are free. That is your first give away. No legitimate book vendor has 100% free books. The only exception is your local library’s website. Other than that, if every book is FREE then you’re not in the right place. You’re in the wrong place. As in ‘you’re on an illegal book downloading site’. As in please report to your local author.

Q. I belong to a private FB group where they share ‘free books’. Is this legit?

A. The answer to this one can be tricky. If none of the people are sharing links to legitimate book sites, ie: Amazon, Kobo, Nook, AppleBooks, or GooglePlay, or the author’s own website, then no, this is not legitimate. Legitimate book clubs will share links to BOOK STORES where you can grab a free copy. Again, to places like Amazon, Kobo, Nook, AppleBooks, or GooglePlay, or the author’s own website.

NON-Legitimate groups will have all the book files located somewhere outside of the group, using file sharing sites such as Drop Box or One Drive.

If there are no authors in the group who are sharing LEGITIMATE store links, then you’re probably in an illegal file sharing group. Run far, run fast.

NON-Legitimate groups will have all the book files located somewhere outside of the group, using file sharing sites such as Drop Box or One Drive.

If the administrators of that group are asking for ‘monetary donations to help offset the cost of Drop Box or One Drive’ then you are in an illegal book downloading/book piracy group. This is NOT LEGITIMATE. This is ILLEGAL on so many levels. And yes, YOU can be held criminally liable for participating in these kinds of groups.

Q. My sister and I share books with each other all the time. Is that wrong?

A. No! That is perfectly acceptable because you purchased the books first. The piracy sites never purchase the books (they’ll purchase, make a copy, then return. The author is never paid.) I used to share ebooks and paperbacks with my mom all the time. Perfectly legit.

Q. I just want to support my favorite authors. What can I do?

A. You can purchase books from legitimate sites, such as Amazon, Nook, Kobo, AppleBooks, and GooglePlay. A lot of authors these days also allow purchasing directly from their websites. Try following your favorite authors on Facebook or BookBub. Most authors I know have monthly newsletters with information on upcoming releases, pre-orders, sales, etc. They will almost always have links in those newsletters to the vendor of your choice.

Q. What about audiobooks?

The rules are the same regardless of format. Yes, audiobook piracy is a thing and yes, we’re working on trying to solve the issue. Yes, I’m aware that all of my audiobooks have been stolen.

My tips for readers are as follows: “Follow” your favorite author at Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. Sign up for your favorite author’s newsletters.

My tips for readers are as follows: “Follow” your favorite author at Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. Sign up for your favorite author’s newsletters. Stick to those places you KNOW are legitimate book purchasing sites. Avoid everything else.

Ignore any ‘invitations’ or links you might see on social media that say things like: ‘Thousands of FREE ebooks from Thousands of authors!’ or ‘Download All The Free eBooks You want!’ Chances are those are scams, phishing sites filled with malware, and/or book piracy sites.

When in doubt, DON’T! If you’re still not sure the site you’re on is a piracy site or not, reach out and ask. Most authors love hearing from readers and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

Book Thieves Suck

I just can’t call them pirates. Pirate, in my mind, conjures up an image of a tall, handsome devil with long hair and a swashbuckling personality sailing the seven seas.

We’re talking about thieves. Individuals or groups of individuals who openly steal copies of books and upload them to websites where anyone who is a member can read it. They like to claim they’re offering a service to the public. They like to claim what they’re doing is no more different than a public library.

You’re NOT a Library. You are a thief.

There are a few succinct differences between libraries and book thieves. Libraries, you see, actually pay for books. Most libraries have a limited number of members. Yes, some libraries are bigger than others, but that isn’t the point here. The books were first purchased before they were loaned out to anyone.

The pirates will argue that someone originally did buy the book and they’re simply sharing it with the rest of their friends. Again, no, no you’re not. First of all, nobody has that many friends. Secondly, these thieves might actually buy the book, only to return it an hour or two later after they’ve stripped out everything they need to upload to these disgusting sites.

Some of these sites like to say they’re doing us a favor. One guy likes to argue that it is no different than offering a free sample. If the reader likes that book, they’ll go on to buy the others.

Again, that is a bunch of BS. Why would anyone who has access to literally hundreds of thousands of stolen books actually buy one?

That old argument of you should feel honored we stole from you; think of it as free publicity is also a bunch of BS. If I called a plumber, had him fix my leaky faucet or install a completely new bathroom, and then told him “I’m not going to pay you, but I’ll tell everyone what a wonderful job you did” I’d probably end up with a black eye and a law suit.


Every day, hundreds if not thousands of authors spend countless hours sending out DMCA’s or ‘take down notices.’ Some of us either have to hire a personal assistant to do that or use programs like Blasty. It isn’t cheap keeping up with these idiots.

Where the hell is my book?!? If you find that the book you’ve been assured is there, in fact isn’t, chances are it’s been DMCA’d into oblivion. Simply request the book again. These things happen, heck, that’s life.

from a book pirating website.

So why even bother with DMCA’s? These sites will take the book down for maybe an hour or two. But as soon as they believe the coast is clear, they upload that book again.

This is a never ending game of whack-a-mole. Even if we manage to get a site taken down, they reopen under a new name in just a few short hours. And the entire process starts up all over again.

Additionally, a lot of authors use the KU program at Amazon. This requires their books be exclusive to Amazon. Amazon does check to make certain these books are not available anywhere else. When a book that is in the KU program comes up as available at these pirate sites, the authors get into trouble. They’re accused of violating the rules and are often threatened with losing their accounts altogether. Imagine losing your livelihood because of these idiots.

But the thieves simply don’t care. There are plenty of books to choose from.

George RR Martin, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Courtney Milan, even Michelle Obama are all victims of book piracy.

It isn’t just indie authors they steal from. At most of these sites, they have stolen from the likes of George RR Martin, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Courtney Milan. Hell, they’ve even stolen from Michelle Obama. No book, it seems, is left ‘un-stolen’. No author is out of bounds. Nothing is off limits.

Want a new release? Go to one of these sites and request it. You can have your copy within an hour of it going live.

If DMCA’s are time consuming and expensive, why bother sending them? The answer is simple: it’s the principal of the thing.

Imagine you have worked hard all week long. Pay day rolls around and your boss says, “Sorry, Bernice. I think you’ve already made too much money this month, so I’m not going to pay you.”

Or imagine you own a bakery. Someone comes in and demands free bear claws. Because it’s just a bear claw and you bakers are all filthy rich and live in mansions. They don’t care that you work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don’t care that you have a mortgage, a kid that needs braces, car payments, student loans, utility bills, or anything else. Damn it, you have earned enough money. Or, you make enough money off those people who did buy your donuts and cupcakes.

Their arguments are idiotic at best. We work really hard to bring our readers good, quality books. We have editors, cover artists, final proofers, and other business expenses. It isn’t up to these thieves to decide if we’ve earned ‘too much money’ or not. It isn’t up to them to decide if we will offer a sale on one of our books, or even make it free for a few days. It is our decision to make. It is our book, not theirs.

It is our book, not theirs.

If these asshats want to write books and give them away for free, let them have at it. But I shouldn’t have to be forced to fight these idiots because no one either has the financial wherewithal or the political clout to tackle this issue.

I’m getting a little tired of having to explain to the ‘readers’ who use these sites and argue ‘there is nothing wrong with what they’re doing’ that is in fact against the law. They are violating numerous copyright laws.

Enough is enough already. I do believe it is time we take action as a collective to combat these low life, scum sucking, arrogant thieves and put a stop to this nonsense.

Just think about the Napster lawsuit and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

Book Thieves Suck.

An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg:

While we can appreciate your need to ‘protect’ the public from ne’er-do-wells, political deception, covert Russian spies, things that could potentially be found ‘obscene or offensive’, round-earthers, and aliens from planet Zenon, I do believe you’ve gone a bit too far with some of the inane rules you’ve set forth on Facebook. (I’m beginning to believe that the same people who handle Amazon’s customer complaints are the same people who run Facebook’s customer complaint department. Because nothing either company does makes a damned bit of sense.) 

I know what I am about to say will sound a bit ‘cliche’, but here goes: This is America. And in America, people are considered innocent until proven guilty. But that message apparently has not yet reached you or those individuals working for you.

I’m not even certain you are aware of some of the things that happen on Facebook. I’ll give you a run down on one item in particular: reporting profiles.

  1. It takes absolutely ZERO evidence to ‘report’ an individual on Facebook for ‘impersonation, violent behavior, objectionable content, etc.’ All I need to is report it using your ‘community guidelines’. 
  2. But once an account has been reported it can be frozen and suspended without any form of due process. When that happens, your requirements to get a profile reinstated are, to say the least, ridiculous. 

This business of ‘reporting’ someone is getting way out of hand. All that need happen is for someone on FB to ‘offend’ me, and with one click of my mouse, I can ‘report’ them to the FB police. That is all I need to do. One. Little. Click. But this scenario ONLY works for individuals on FB, not the thousands and thousands of ‘group pages’. ONLY the individual profiles.

Currently, there is an individual on Facebook who has numerous profiles. He’s pretty smart and knows how to manipulate his IP address. Apparently, this person, let’s call him Dylan C, has got a bee in his bonnet and is very upset over something that happened three years ago. He can’t seem to let go of this innocuous comment made on some post that no one can even find now. So, he has targeted the individual who made that innocuous comment. Let’s call her Samantha. Samantha is an author.

In the past six months, Dylan C has ‘reported’ Samantha’s profile no less than six times. Twice now, he has been successful in getting her profile suspended for ‘impersonating’ herself. Each time, Samantha has had to provide as much information as she’d need if she were trying to get a job with the FBI. Such as documentation from: the IRS, US Copyright office, the RWA and NINC – both internationally recognized organizations. She must also provide her birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, banking information, and a photo of herself HOLDING that information, and anything else that proves she is who she says she is. At this point, the only thing that hasn’t been requested from her is a urine sample and DNA swab.

The images Samantha sent to the Facebook police per their request were rejected because they couldn’t “read the information” that was clearly visible on the documents. Then, after being told three times to take an even clearer picture, which was virtually impossible, Samantha voiced her frustration and asked specifically what they couldn’t read in the image. At that point, FB stopped ALL communication with her.   

Now here is where is gets reallycrazy: DylanC has begun to report other authors who have similar names as the original Samantha. He’s also begun to report profile pages of some individuals who have commented on the original Samantha’s FB posts. 

Enter Samantha B., an author. Samantha B. has no idea who DylanC is. She’s never heard of him and as far as she knows, she’s never had any kind of interaction with this person on Facebook. But DylanC, in his kindergarten-esque tirade, has reported Samantha B. for impersonating the original Samantha.

Now, Samantha B. has to provide all the same information as original Samantha just to prove she is who she says she is.

Samantha and Samantha B., are authors. They have author profiles as well as their personal profiles, a practice quite common amongst authors. Both women are, to say the least, quite upset, as is the rest of the author community.

In America, the burden of proof lies with the state. The state (the accuser) must prove the defendant’s (the accused’s) guilt. The defendant does not have to prove his or her innocence. 

Yet, in the world of Facebook, it is the exact opposite. I do not have to ‘prove’ anything in order to report someone. All I need do is make the claim. This is very reminiscent of Nazi Germany back in the day. (Yes, I said it.) But the person I’m ‘reporting’ has to jump through more hoops than a circus lion in order to prove their innocence. It can take days, if not weeks, to get it all sorted out.

There is something inherently wrong with this picture and your rules.

Perhaps the next time you’re getting a seaweed-wrap and massage while you sip a non-fat soy, two-pump, caramel mocha latte with sugar free whip, you could take a moment to read the Constitution and perhaps a few letters from authors who are quite angry with all the nonsense we have to put up with at Facebook and idiots like Dylan C.

I’ll save my thoughts on the dozens of “Download Free PDF’s and ebooks” groups on Facebook who share thousands upon thousands of stolen/pirated ebooks with each other or the hoops we authors have to go through to get an ad approved, for another time.

Offendedly yours,

Suzan Tisdale – Author