PUBLISHING: To DRM or not to DRM, is that really the question?

I found that many authors, especially the self-publishing authors, are confused by Digital Rights Management, thinking that DRM is necessary in order to prevent your work from being pirated.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Let’s start with putting Digital Right Management into laymen’s terms.
Digital Rights Management is software added to intellectual property in order to limit the user in sharing the property.
Well, that sounds fine, doesn’t it? When the buyer of your e-book downloads the file from the retailer, they can read the e-book on their e-reader, but they won’t be able to give a copy of the book to their friends, who will have to buy their own copies.
Except that it isn’t ‘excellent’. What happens is that producers of content limit legitimate users from using the product across several devices. You can listen to the compact disc on your compact disc players, but you cannot rip the CD to iTunes for listening to the music on your iPod. You can read the e-book on your e-reader, but not on your smartphone, but the smartphone wasn’t registered as an e-reading device by the retailer…
Yes, but at least my book won’t be pirated!
Sure, delude yourself that clunky DRM software will scare off any pirate. Pirating sites have counter software that strips the DRM from your book in a matter of seconds. Thinking that adding DRM to your book will render it safe from piracy is like thinking a home invader will pass on your home because you installed a motion-detector with spotlight on your front door while your backdoor is wide open.
But I don’t want my work to be pirated!
Face it, if someone wants to get their hands on your book and distribute it illegally, there’s not much you can do about it. DRM certainly won’t do the trick, so putting DRM on your book will only annoy your legitimate readers who won’t be able to read your book across multiple devices.
You simply don’t care about getting pirated!
I do. I don’t think it’s fair to steal a book I worked on and hope to sell in order to free up time to write more books. At the same time, I’m a realist. I can’t stop piracy, I can’t force people to pay for my work. Still, you have the consider the following: if your book gets pirated and downloaded a 1000 times, that doesn’t mean you miss out on a 1000 sales. Readers who frequent pirate sites to get their hands on your books are not the kind of upstanding citizens who would go to a retailer and pay for your book.
They are not your readers. Your readers are the ones who go to Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Nook, iBooks, wherever, to legitimately download your book. They do so, because they hope you will write more books for them to enjoy, and they know that you need to get paid for your work, or you’ll have to get a job that actually pays the bills but cuts into your writing time, thus resulting in less frequent publications for them to enjoy.
What’s more, while the people who frequent pirate sites might not be your readers now, they might become your readers in the future.
While that sounds paradoxical, think about loss-leaders.
Whenever you go to a supermarket and someone offers you a sample of a new product, they do that with the express purpose to get you hooked on their product, hoping the sample will get you to buy the product at full price.
Like many authors, I’ve put out some work for free or almost free, with only one purpose in mind – to get readers hooked on my work. Readers like free stuff, but if they really like the free stuff and they get interested in what the author offers, they are more than willing to spend money on keeping that writer to put out more of the stuff they enjoy.
So don’t worry too much about your books getting pirated. Sure, it sucks that someone tries to profit from your hard work, but it won’t harm your actual sales, and the free downloads might actually engage a reader who realizes that you’re being screwed out of your money, and get that reader to support you by eschewing pirate sites and legitimately downloading your work.
I have a contract with my readers. At less than the price of a cinema ticket, I will tell them a story, giving them the opportunity to go on an adventure with me for a couple of hours, make them think, give them characters who will live in their minds, give them stories that will thrill and excite them. And I will keep on doing that for as long as I’m able, whether I can live on the proceeds of my work or not.
But if I can’t live from selling my work, I will have to find other means of income, which will cut into the time I can spend writing my stories.
So, dear reader, if you really enjoy an author’s work, honor the contract and pay them for their hard work, so they can continue to entertain you.
The only way pirate sites are going to disappear is when readers simply won’t download pirated works anymore.

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Authors for Wounded Warriors.

Authors For Wounded Warriors is a collective effort and the brain-child of author Ashley Mackler Paternostro.

A group of talented writers (and flat-out good human beings!) gathered to support the dream of filling one Kindle that will be part of a silent auction at the March 30th, 2013 12th annual Guns ‘n’ Hoses Charity Hockey Game played at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.

“In the final year of the Guns ‘n’ Hoses game, to hear that the charity of benefit is the Wounded Warrior Project is absolutely prolific, having the benefit of knowing where it all began back in 2002.  We are proud to do our small part in helping to raise money for such a worthwhile and important organization.” -Ashley

About the Guns ‘n’ Hoses Charity Game

The first Guns n Hoses game was played in 2002 in order to benefit a firehouse who lost its members in the 9-11 attacks.  The Wounded Warrior Project exists to honor and empower Wounded Warriors who incurred service-connected injuries on or after September 11, 2001.

WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs.  Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury-from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.

Guns ‘N’ Hoses 2013 is inviting you to be a part of this unique and historic event to honor our warriors.

More information about the Skatin’ Bacon Hockey and the Charity Game at:

About The Wounded Warrior Project

To honor and empower Wounded Warriors.
To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.
To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

More information on The Wounded Warrior Project and how you can help can be found at:

Donation Information

“When I originally put out the idea I thought maybe I’d receive a handful of donations … but the kindness of others never fails to amaze me.  The absolute generosity of authors and companies has blown me away … and continues to do so.  I’m always interested in amassing more donations — my goal is to super-load that Kindle and keep the lucky winner busy for a very, very long time.” – Ashley

Please check out the About page of Authors for Wounded Warriors here. One of the donated books is Reprobate.

WRITING: Getting Unexpected Reviews…

I got some great five star reviews of Reprobate and a couple of five star review of Peccadillo.

This is an interesting angle I didn’t realize when I wrote Reprobate: Some people are more interested in other characters than the protagonist, assassin Katla. If you read the reviews, you must’ve read this passage in the ‘Great New Series’ review by DevoGirl:

“But for me, the best part was the romance between Bram and Katla. Bram is a terrific character, one of the more realistic portrayals of a blind person that I have read in a while. He’s well-adjusted and capable, but not superhuman. He plays the saxophone, practices shiatsu on the local yakuza, and studies aikido. He’s just the right combination of strong and vulnerable, and it’s oh so sexy. With so many books appearing lately with blind characters that are totally unrealistic, I really appreciate that the author went to the trouble to do the research and get it right.”

The fact that the blind character Bram is considered ‘hot and sexy’ by this reader, led me to my WordPress Stats, where I can see if people visit me from certain websites or forums. And I found this thread on paradevo, a website for devotees of disabled persons, where books are discussed and reviewed when they have disabled characters. And the website has its own review section, on books and movies, where an extended review is given, with more attention to what makes Reprobate attractive to devotees of disabled persons.

Although I’m aware of the fact that there are people who are specifically attracted to disabled persons, Reprobate hadn’t been written with the idea that people would read the series because it also features disabled characters. And the fact that people who are familiar with disabled persons judge my portrayal of the blind characters realistic is immensely gratifying. Being a stickler for verisimilitude seems to be paying off, if readers are searching me out in their quest for believable characters.

DevoGirl contacted me with questions for an author interview with emphasis on how and why I wrote about disabled characters, which can be found here. While the interview touches on several sensitive issues, I think it might be illuminating for those who read my books, whether they read the Amsterdam Assassin Series for the suspense, the kick-ass heroine, or the blind, but capable, characters.

Enjoy the series, and please, let me know what you think!