I love my readers. Really, I do. Even the ones with eye patches.
I’ve been known to download a thing or two without paying for it. I’ve got songs I’ve snagged because I bought the cassette two decades ago and feel entitled to own the material for life. I’ve “sampled” games and software before paying for them. I was a general scallywag when I was younger.
As I got older and started earning a paycheck . . . no, that’s not what happened. I could always afford these things. What happened is that I got lazy. The pain in the ass of finding a keygen and dealing with the viruses that came with pirated games or software, at some point the thrill of getting something for free wore off and I just wanted to spend the money, own the thing legally, be able to install updates and all that, and above all: support the people who code and create art and are trying to afford daycare for their kids.
When I became a content creator a few years ago, I used my own experiences as a guide. I wanted it to be easy as hell for other people to own my stuff. That meant never putting DRM on my e-books. This is the digital rights management protection that makes it difficult to convert my books, copy them around, all that stuff. I wanted to reward the buyer rather than worry about the pirate.
Some of my favorite game developers adopted this strategy a while back. No DRM at all, because they knew fans would reward them for making it easy to install and own the game. I always bought those games on the day of release. It was the model I wanted to emulate.
The funny thing is, it took the Wool explosion to even land me on pirate sites. I felt no small twinge of pride when I first saw that I was getting passed around by pirates. It’s a mark of desirability. And here’s the cool thing, tonight I got an e-mail from someone who stole the Omnibus, loved it, and sent me more than the retail price through Paypal. And they wanted to let me know that they couldn’t find FIRST SHIFT: LEGACY on any of the pirate sites. So I fired up Calibre, converted one of my .mobi Kindle files to .epub, and sent the pirate a copy.
How cool an exchange is that? There’s a ton of little software programs that I use daily, like VSO Resize and WinRar that I love to support. There’s probably a dozen or so apps like this that I’ve paid for after years of using them for free. Some have trial versions that allow the free use, but once I saw how much I relied on the thing, I wanted to support the creator.
Look, I’m just delighted to have readers. Especially readers as awesome as you all. People who counsel me when I’m down, who buy me a cup of joe because they think my prices are unreasonably low, who chime in on negative reviews to let trolls know that you aren’t imaginary, who order signed copies of books they’ve already read, who make this website an active, exciting place to visit, and who pay for the books they steal . . . because they liked them that much.
Arrgh, everyone. Arrrgh. I think that says it all.