Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Some thoughts on ebook piracy (and some alternatives)

I recently had that common author experience: I found my book on a pirate site. To be precise, over 20 pirate sites, from which it had been downloaded for free hundreds of times. Obviously, pretty much every author has had this experience, and there have been a range of responses. Some people think piracy doesn't affect authors' sales because those people wouldn't have bought the book anyway, which can be true to some extent. But it does affect authors' careers, especially those without the backing of a larger publisher.

Here are the hard facts:
  • Piracy is inevitable.
  • Piracy can lead to more people discovering your books.
With that having been said...
  • Unlike borrowing from a library, ebook files can be copied infinite times. You send a takedown notice to one site and it pops up on another the next day.
  • Pirating can and does lead to cancelled series. Publishers depend on sales figures to decide on whether or not to continue with a series. If the numbers aren't there, the series (and author) is quickly dropped. Not all illegal downloads are lost sales, but some are, and the number can quickly add up.
  • Piracy can and does affect whether publishers decide to make review copies of books available. For instance, I no longer submit my books to Netgalley because so many people pirated copies of Darkness Watching from there in the brief spell it was available in 2013. I'm still finding copies today.
  • As for indie authors, we have to make tough business decisions about which projects to invest our time and money in. Some of you may remember my first published novel, The Puppet Spell. It's no longer in print as I terminated my contract with the (vanity) publisher who never paid me for most of the copies I sold. I've never posted this publicly, because to be honest, the experience was so depressing and demoralising, I wanted to put the whole thing behind me. But the reason I'm never returning to the series is because sales were terrible. I've since found the book on five pirate sites. People are reading it for free, but they (and anyone who bought the book legally) will never get to read other books in the series. It wasn't a light decision, but self-publishing a book costs time and money I just don't have for a book which has been stolen more times than it's been legally purchased. When you've had months of single-digit sales, finding your book on multiple pirate sites hits you where it hurts.
  • On the subject of money, I'm over £2000 in the red from publishing and far from breaking even. This is a business investment I don't regret making, but I can't afford to give my books away for free. We live in an era where anything can be accessed freely online, but someone has to create that free content. I work 15-hour days. I spend more hours trying to reach readers than I do actually writing, and each book takes at least 6 months to write and edit. You wouldn't expect anyone in another profession to work unpaid for six months.
  • There are ways to get books cheap and free legally.

So, here are some alternatives:

Wait for a sale. I often run 99 cent promotions on the first books in my series (here's a head's up: Darkness Watching is scheduled to be on a Kindle Countdown promotion on the 12th/13th May). Otherwise, my books are priced between $2.99 and $4.99 (£1.99-£3.99).

Subscribe to Scribd or Oyster to borrow my Alliance books, or Kindle Unlimited to borrow my Darkworld books.

Request Adamant on Overdrive.

Join my advance review team to get early copies of my future releases in exchange for an honest review.

Newsletter subscribers will get a free Alliance short story next month, as will all new subscribers.

Without sales, there would be no publishing industry. Of course I want people to read my books, but this is my job. It's sales figures I look at when I'm calculating whether I've made a profit or not, and deciding whether to continue with a series. Not illegal downloads. The best way to ensure I keep publishing books is to buy them legally.

(Also, check out this post from Beth Revis, which says it better than I can!)

Monday, 6 April 2015

Adamant $0.99 sale, Nemesis cover reveal and giveaway!

It's my 3-year blogoversary! *throws confetti* So I've decided now's a good time to share the cover for Nemesis (Alliance, #2)!

I have to admit, I can't decide which cover I prefer out of this one and Adamant's! They're both ridiculously pretty. :D

Here's the blurb:

Joining the Alliance might be the key to seeing the worlds she's always dreamed of, but Ada's new job causes a rift to form between her and her guardian, Nell. As she struggles to come to terms with the events of the previous month, Ada is reluctant to use magic again after the damage it caused.

Kay, meanwhile, faces his first challenge as one of the Alliance’s offworld Ambassadors - helping his colleague, Markos, investigate the mysterious death of the centaurs’ king back on his homeworld of Aglaia. When they realise magic is involved, Ada is pulled into the investigation. But tensions between humans and centaurs run high, and avoiding a bloodbath will be more difficult than any of them expect. Especially when Kay discovers something about his own magic that could affect the future of the Alliance.

Against an enemy they quite literally can’t see, Ada and Kay must face up to the power that almost destroyed their lives…

To be released: June 8 2015. Pre-order from Amazon now!
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Start the series with Adamant (Alliance, #1), reduced to 99 cents this week only! :)

Magic. Monsters. Murder. Welcome to the Multiverse. 

The Inter-World Alliance is the only force standing between Earth and the terrifying monsters of offworld. But one girl is about to shake up the balance...

Ada Fletcher is twenty-one, keeps a collection of knives in her room, and lives under the Alliance's radar, risking her life to help refugees from a devastating magical war on her homeworld hide on the low-magic Earth. But when she's taken into custody by the Alliance, her unusual magic makes her a prime suspect for a supervisor's suspicious death. 

Kay Walker, grandson of the Alliance's late founder, expects to spend his first week as an Alliance employee chasing monsters out of the dark Passages between worlds, not solving a murder. But when his supervisor dies in suspicious circumstances, he finds himself in charge of questioning a girl he arrested as a suspect. A girl with secrets that force him to confront his own narrow escape from magic's destruction, and threaten to make both of them into the murderer's next targets.

The last thing Ada wants is to help the infuriating Alliance guard who arrested her, but it soon becomes clear that the Alliance knows too much about Ada's offworld origins. More, in fact, than she knows herself. Now she has to choose between loyalty to her family, and helping the Alliance save the Earth - and the Multiverse - from a deadly enemy.

What reviewers are saying

"The world building is magical. Even though we only get a hint of what's out there, I am already in love with this world." - Lola at Lola's Reviews

"I found the book to be well written, in a pace that kept me really interested all the way through the book. I loved the kick-butt character of Ada and the almost instant chemistry between her and Kay even though they are on opposing sides... this book is a great read, the beginning of a potentially brilliant and addictive series" - Jeanz Book Reviews

"Emma has created a fantastic, brilliant world in ADAMANT. The world is filled with raw and authentic characters, whether they're human or centaur or something else entirely... This book is a unique, fun read, and I'd recommend it to everyone who enjoys sci-fi and fantasy." - Amazon reviewer

Add on Goodreads    Read the first chapter

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I'm also giving away a $10 Amazon gift card and some awesome Alliance postcards and bookmarks! :)

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Friday, 3 April 2015

Blog Tour Stop: I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen


Title: I Heart Robot
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen

Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.

Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.

Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?


I've had my eye on this book for a long time, and I was thrilled to get an advanced copy! I Heart Robot is a YA Sci-Fi set in a future where robots are common, though not considered to have the same level of personhood as humans. The story switches between two perspectives: Tyri, an aspiring musician, and Quinn, a droid who wants to prove he's just as human as his creators. The characterisation is superb, and I sympathised with both Tyri and Quinn. They come from opposing worlds, yet their shared love of music just leaps off the pages.

The sci-fi element is well-developed without getting too technical and distracting from the story. I loved all the cool details, like the way Quinn deliberately gives himself human emotions while his fellow robots believe violence is the only solution to the way humans treat them. The growing tensions between humans and robots grows throughout the novel, developing alongside Tyri's and Quinn's stories. I was hooked from beginning to end, and I'd thoroughly recommend this to sci-fi fans!


Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

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