Pirates: hot or not

Pirates: hot or not

Book pirates

It is time for us to talk about book pirates. No, not the smexy fun kind of romantic book heroes but the filthy, scamming, thieving kind.

The book pirates who steal books from authors and publish them on piracy sites.

Ebook publishing facts

Before I delve more into the piracy sites and why they are bad for both readers and authors, let me share some sobering facts with you.

I'm a part-time author. I also have a day job that helps me pay the bills, put in my time as a volunteer, and have a busy family life. Thank goodness I don't have to live from my writing efforts. Without exaggerating I would starve! Many of my author friends don't have a paying day job, writing is how they make a living and support their families.

An example

For this example I'm using Conflicted (Club Indigo Seven) (approx. 50,000 words), sold for 3,99

To write a novel like this, I'm personally investing about one hundred (100) hours of writing, self-editing, and co-editing with my editor. I'm not counting all the other time I and others spend on formatting books, showing up on social media, creating newsletters, blogs etc.

For an indie book, I have to pay for:

  • Editing
  • Formatting
  • Cover design + cover picture
  • ISBN
  • Copyright
  • Marketing
  • And so on

On average, this amounts to about 300 USD for a single book before it is even published.

I also have overhead costs:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Newsletter provider (yearly subscription)
  • Website provider and hosting (yearly subscription)
  • Bookfunnel provider (yearly subscription)
  • ARC website provider (yearly subscription)
  • etc. etc.

When I sell an Indie book, depending on the price and the retailer, I receive between 35% and 70% revenues  minus delivery fees.

When I sell a book through a publisher, I still have my overhead costs but not the individual book costs. In return some part of the above mentioned revenue goes to the publisher. 

If an author is lucky (like I am with Red Hot Romance as my publisher), they'll get an honest split. When unlucky, a writer will get in the clutches of another kind of predator (if you like this blog, I might consider sharing more about that in another writing) and they won't get honest pay for their book(s).

Some math

So, for easy math if I receive 50% of the sales (it is less but let's roll with it) and get 2 USD for each copy sold through a retailer, this is what I make per hour.

sold copies

average revenues minus costs

hourly rate


- 298.00


- 290.00


- 280.00


- 250.00


- 200.00


- 100.00










In short, if I didn't have overhead costs and if I didn't have to spend time on other author related business than writing books, I have to sell between 500 and 1,000 books to make minimum wages in most US states.

Why do I still bother to write?

I love writing, I love my characters, and each and every time a reader lets me know (through a review or a message) they like a book of mine I remember that is worth so much more than money.

Why shouldn’t you use pirate sites. It’s free, right?

If you read or download from these pirate site, you not only dismiss me and other authors, editors, publishers, etc. hard work. You also make yourself vulnerable for computer viruses, scams and expose your email addresses and online profile to criminals (news flash: if they have no qualms to steal from authors, they will happily steal from you). So even if you don't think our work is worth enough to borrow or buy our books legitimately, you should bother about your own safety and protection.

The alternative

Personally, I have several free books for newsletter subscribers. Yes, you’ll be giving me your email address but you’ll know I only use it to send my weekly bulletin. Also, if you don't like my books or don't want my emails you can unsubscribe with one click.

I also discount my books at least 2-3 times per year. Sometimes even make them free for a limited time. Without asking anything in return! Just because I hope you will read and enjoy my books.

Finally, all my paid books are either available through KU, or other free or subscription reading apps and at the library.

And leave the pirating to Jack Sparrow 😁.

What are your thoughts? 

Please comment and share this blog, and support your favorite authors. 

Keep safe and keep reading.