Folks, this is why the box set of the Raven Cycle was canceled.
Maggie, I love you, I love your stories and I completely agree with you BUT
I believe that excluding people from art because of financial issues is the same as not allowing access to education. Money shouldn’t be something to keep one from reading and mind that libraries don’t offer the same books worldwide. Maybe these books are accessible in the US or in the UK but it’s improbable that non anglophone countries will have that book. Artist do what they do (I hope) for the pleasure of producing art, money should be a background. I completely agree on the point that artists deserve to get an income from a work they’ve probably lost half a life on but basing an artwork on money is just… terrible to hear? Shouldn’t art trade in sensations and emotions and education?
Yes, if you have the money to buy books but decide to pirate them, then you have no excuses and are taking advantage of a person’s work. If you can’t afford books but still crave them, I don’t think you should feel bad if you pirate them. Access to art shouldn’t be a privilege and I really don’t feel like suggesting someone not to read a book because they don’t have the money for it.
If this was about anything else, I would agree 110% but when it concerns art I think we should be more elastic on judging someone and pointing fingers at people who don’t have the money to pay for books.
“I believe that excluding people from art because of financial issues is the same as not allowing access to education.”
Well, here’s the thing.
I haven’t had a book come out since 2014 because my regular job is as a high school English teacher, and that takes a lot of time and energy and attention. I work in the public high school system. I get paid by the Ministry of Education.
I love my job. I take pleasure in it. I definitely enable people to access education.
If the school said, “Karen, we love your work, it’s great, but our funding has been cut and we just can’t afford to pay your salary,” should I keep turning up and doing the job anyway? After all, if I really loved teaching, if I really cared about educating kids, I’d still be prepared to do all the planning and teaching and marking without any compensation in the form of filthy money, right?
Come on. I want to teach people. I want to write books. I need to pay my rent. If I couldn’t do it with either of those, I’d have to find work elsewhere. I love both those jobs, and I wouldn’t do either if I didn’t, but I can’t live on love.
I spent the last several years too poor to buy new books.
But guess what? LIBRARIES will buy books FOR me.
If there’s a new book coming out that I want, I put in an acquisition request as soon as I know it’s on its way, and let them know what format I want. (I normally go ebook or digital audiobook, because I struggle to get to a physical library branch and find those easier to read.) Then I put a hold on the book as soon as it’s in the system.
Voila! Within a couple weeks of the new book being released, it’s IN MY HOT LITTLE HANDS. And the author gets paid for it. No piracy required.
Libraries like it when you request new books. They have to spend their acquisition budget somehow.
This article from Kate Elliott is very much worth sharing around to remind everybody of all the many possibilities…
Question for you. Possibly a stupid one, but I can't get the imagery out of my head. Is there, or could there ever be, a circumstance wherein a wizard, in the course of their fight against entropy and the Lone One, must willingly relinquish The Gift in...
Sure. And yeah, it does sound awful, doesn’t it? But it could happen.
There’s already a reference in canon to something similar: where you give up your life – and inherently, all the wizardly power you will use or accrue in it – for one specific working against the Lone One. Nita very nearly goes there in Wizards at War. (Don’t think it’s a spoiler to mention that at this late date.) Ronan also mentions this option at the very beginning of Games Wizards Play.
This particular intervention, the use of the so-called Last Word, isn’t exactly a happy option. But if your allegiance to Life is in place – particularly the part that involves preserving others’ lives, even at the cost of your own – you do what you have to do to preserve it, or them. You are, of course, the final arbiter of whether “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few: or the one.” Your call. At the end of the day, it’s all about Choice…
maggie-stiefvater: I’ve decided to tell you guys a story about piracy. I didn’t think I had much to...
I’ve decided to tell you guys a story about piracy.
I didn’t think I had much to add to the piracy commentary I made yesterday, but after seeing some of the replies to it, I decided it’s time for this story.
Here are a few things we should get clear before I go on:
1) This is a U.S. centered discussion. Not because I value my non U.S. readers any less, but because I am published with a U.S. publisher first, who then sells my rights elsewhere. This means that the fate of my books, good or bad, is largely decided on U.S. turf, through U.S. sales to readers and libraries.
2) This is not a conversation about whether or not artists deserve to get money for art, or whether or not you think I in particular, as a flawed human, deserve money. It is only about how piracy affects a book’s fate at the publishing house.
3) It is also not a conversation about book prices, or publishing costs, or what is a fair price for art, though it is worthwhile to remember that every copy of a blockbuster sold means that the publishing house can publish new and niche voices. Publishing can’t afford to publish the new and midlist voices without the James Pattersons selling well.
It is only about two statements that I saw go by:
1) piracy doesn’t hurt publishing.
2) someone who pirates the book was never going to buy it anyway, so it’s not a lost sale.
Now, with those statements in mind, here’s the story.
It’s the story of a novel called The Raven King, the fourth installment in a planned four book series. All three of its predecessors hit the bestseller list. Book three, however, faltered in strange ways. The print copies sold just as well as before, landing it on the list, but the e-copies dropped precipitously.
Now, series are a strange and dangerous thing in publishing. They’re usually games of diminishing returns, for logical reasons: folks buy the first book, like it, maybe buy the second, lose interest. The number of folks who try the first will always be more than the number of folks who make it to the third or fourth. Sometimes this change in numbers is so extreme that publishers cancel the rest of the series, which you may have experienced as a reader — beginning a series only to have the release date of the next book get pushed off and pushed off again before it merely dies quietly in a corner somewhere by the flies.
So I expected to see a sales drop in book three, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, but as my readers are historically evenly split across the formats, I expected it to see the cut balanced across both formats. This was absolutely not true. Where were all the e-readers going? Articles online had headlines like PEOPLE NO LONGER ENJOY READING EBOOKS IT SEEMS.
There was another new phenomenon with Blue Lily, Lily Blue, too — one that started before it was published. Like many novels, it was available to early reviewers and booksellers in advanced form (ARCs: advanced reader copies). Traditionally these have been cheaply printed paperback versions of the book. Recently, e-ARCs have become common, available on locked sites from publishers.
BLLB’s e-arc escaped the site, made it to the internet, and began circulating busily among fans long before the book had even hit shelves. Piracy is a thing authors have been told to live with, it’s not hurting you, it’s like the mites in your pillow, and so I didn’t think too hard about it until I got that royalty statement with BLLB’s e-sales cut in half.
Strange, I thought. Particularly as it seemed on the internet and at my booming real-life book tours that interest in the Raven Cycle in general was growing, not shrinking. Meanwhile, floating about in the forums and on Tumblr as a creator, it was not difficult to see fans sharing the pdfs of the books back and forth. For awhile, I paid for a service that went through piracy sites and took down illegal pdfs, but it was pointless. There were too many. And as long as even one was left up, that was all that was needed for sharing.
I asked my publisher to make sure there were no e-ARCs available of book four, the Raven King, explaining that I felt piracy was a real issue with this series in a way it hadn’t been for any of my others. They replied with the old adage that piracy didn’t really do anything, but yes, they’d make sure there was no e-ARCs if that made me happy.
Then they told me that they were cutting the print run of The Raven King to less than half of the print run for Blue Lily, Lily Blue. No hard feelings, understand, they told me, it’s just that the sales for Blue Lily didn’t justify printing any more copies. The series was in decline, they were so proud of me, it had 19 starred reviews from pro journals and was the most starred YA series ever written, but that just didn’t equal sales. They still loved me.
This, my friends, is a real world consequence.
This is also where people usually step in and say, but that’s not piracy’s fault. You just said series naturally declined, and you just were a victim of bad marketing or bad covers or readers just actually don’t like you that much.
Hold that thought.
I was intent on proving that piracy had affected the Raven Cycle, and so I began to work with one of my brothers on a plan. It was impossible to take down every illegal pdf; I’d already seen that. So we were going to do the opposite. We created a pdf of the Raven King. It was the same length as the real book, but it was just the first four chapters over and over again. At the end, my brother wrote a small note about the ways piracy hurt your favorite books. I knew we wouldn’t be able to hold the fort for long — real versions would slowly get passed around by hand through forum messaging — but I told my brother: I want to hold the fort for one week. Enough to prove that a point. Enough to show everyone that this is no longer 2004. This is the smart phone generation, and a pirated book sometimes is a lost sale.
Then, on midnight of my book release, my brother put it up everywhere on every pirate site. He uploaded dozens and dozens and dozens of these pdfs of The Raven King. You couldn’t throw a rock without hitting one of his pdfs. We sailed those epub seas with our own flag shredding the sky.
The effects were instant. The forums and sites exploded with bewildered activity. Fans asked if anyone had managed to find a link to a legit pdf. Dozens of posts appeared saying that since they hadn’t been able to find a pdf, they’d been forced to hit up Amazon and buy the book.
And we sold out of the first printing in two days.
I was on tour for it, and the bookstores I went to didn’t have enough copies to sell to people coming, because online orders had emptied the warehouse. My publisher scrambled to print more, and then print more again. Print sales and e-sales became once more evenly matched.
Then the pdfs hit the forums and e-sales sagged and it was business as usual, but it didn’t matter: I’d proven the point. Piracy has consequences.
That’s the end of the story, but there’s an epilogue. I’m now writing three more books set in that world, books that I’m absolutely delighted to be able to write. They’re an absolute blast. My publisher bought this trilogy because the numbers on the previous series supported them buying more books in that world. But the numbers almost didn’t. Because even as I knew I had more readers than ever, on paper, the Raven Cycle was petering out.
The Ronan trilogy nearly didn’t exist because of piracy. And already I can see in the tags how Tumblr users are talking about how they intend to pirate book one of the new trilogy for any number of reasons, because I am terrible or because they would ‘rather die than pay for a book’. As an author, I can’t stop that. But pirating book one means that publishing cancels book two. This ain’t 2004 anymore. A pirated copy isn’t ‘good advertising’ or ‘great word of mouth’ or ‘not really a lost sale.’
That’s my long piracy story.
This is worth reading for about a hundred reasons. Including the brilliant publishing-day exploit.
In 1997, nine year old me was in the school library looking for a book to read. I hear a dull thump behind me, and turn around to find SYWTBAW had fallen off the shelf. I was instantly hooked. Moving forward 20 years, and 29 year old me has just...
You’re completely welcome. :) And the news that (as for a surprising number of other people) the books continue to hold up over time is always good to hear.
…It’s also surprising how many people have had these “The book came for me” moments that seem to parallel Nita’s experience. Don’t ask me what to make of that. I just work here. :)
Are there like… any other parents on Vulcan? Like are Sarek and Amanda single-handedly raising every single child they encounter? Every child who sets foot on the planet now belongs to them? Like they meet some other Vulcan’s kid and go “hello, I’m your parent now” and then just take off with them? Is that what happened?
Sarek at the mall: “Sir, madam, I do not know your name, but but I see your son/daughter seems unfulfilled by your bond, constraining his/her philosophical development. As our offspring’s relationship with us is demonstrably superior, would it not be logical for you to surrender custody?”
Other Vulcan: “Your reasoning is cogent and flawless. Live long and prosper, son/daughter. I shall use the funds that were to pay for your schooling to purchase many plush robes in which I will ponder existence more comfortably.”
Vulcan child: “An excellent plan. Thank you for begetting me.”
I know it’s been a while but the funniest part of this for me is still “Sarek at the mall”
Crossing the streams here a bit and imagining Mark Lenard strolling through some Vulcan city followed by a vast horde of Vulcan children of all ages. And looking a bit like an extremely bemused Jedi master. (I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him sigh in carefully-suppressed exasperation in person. I can just hear it now.) :)
Fergal O’Connor reinterprets the stories of Kildare for Ireland’s Ancient East
In 1900, stud farm (horse farm) owner Colonel William Hall Walker used to draw up a horoscope for each newborn foal and, if he didn’t like the stars, immediately sold it irrespective of lineage or physique. Amazingly, he became the most successful racehorse breeder of the age using this technique.
To this day, Tully-horses have won five Classics for the British Royal Family and if you head to the Irish National Stud between February and May, you can see newborn foals.
I haven't read all the side books, though, so I might be mistaken. :P I think Nita has great things in the future.
I wouldn’t argue. Certainly her immediate future is extremely interesting… :)
Just re-read SYWTBAW (the original) and darn if I didn't find myself crying at the end when Fred blew his quanta. (Last time I read Wizards at War, I cried at Ponch's "going away" scene too) I guess I wanted to know: does this happen to you too?
With other people’s work, it happens all the time. With my own, hardly ever. There have been very, very rare moments when I tear up a little bit on reading some piece of character business I’ve written. But routinely this only happens when it’s been quite a long time since I’ve read a given piece of work.
I think this is probably because for me it’s impossible to immerse as deeply (at the experiential end of things) in my own work, as in somebody else’s. If the other writer is good enough I can completely lose myself to what they’re doing. But when it’s my own stuff, on some level I’m always taking it apart to see what’s going on with it and whether it can be done any better. It’s just the price I pay for doing what I do, and I can’t really bring myself to be too upset about it….
What's the current YW reading order counting the short stories (Uptown Local, Not My Patch, Lifeboats et alia)?
- So You Want To Be A Wizard
- Deep Wizardry
- High Wizardry
- A Wizard Abroad
- The Wizard’s Dilemma
- A Wizard Alone
- Wizard’s Holiday
- Wizards at War
- A Wizard of Mars
- Interim Errantry [Not On My Patch, How Lovely Are Thy Branches, Lifeboats, in that order]
- Games Wizards Play
While there’s no specific hard data to support it, I tend to think of “Uptown Local” as fitting in between Deep Wizardry and High Wizardry.
Interim Errantry 2: On Ordeal is all “prequel” material that chronologically happens before So You Want…. But since it deals with Roshaun, Ronan and Mamvish, it’s probably best read d some time after AWOM, when all those characters have had some time on stage.
Holmes pondering things while gazing into the fireplace.
I really love the fact that the young wizard series has been so continuous and smooth over the years. I remember coming into the series in elementary school and still love it just as much in my senior year of college. The background research you put...
You’re very welcome. :)
Believe me, keeping the tone “even” from book to book is an ongoing challenge, and something I’m aware of every time I sit down to work at these books. I’m glad it seems to be working. Thanks for letting me know.
I am not going to tag the name of the bird, because I’m pretty sure I would get tagged as NSFW if I did, but I assure you their beaks are getting longer and it’s probably because of the UK’s obsession with bird feeders.
This is the poster I painted for Sherlock NYC’s drawing at their Season 1 screening event in New York; check out the prizes here: http://www.sherlocknyc.com/?p=116 The poster is 13x19 and printed on pearl premium photo paper, and their copy has the Sherlock NYC logo in the bottom left corner.
I won’t be able to make it to the actual event but if you live in the area you should go; they’re working really hard to make it an awesome event, and it sounds like a lot of fun!
Oh my gosh this took a long time to paint. Although I initially created this for Sherlock NYC, I’m planning to sell a few prints of it later next year at FanimeCon, and maybe a limited number online if there seems to be any interest. For now though the only place to get it is in their drawing!