Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Protect Yourself from Pirates: Keep Your Book Safe

Five Ways to Help Keep Your Book from being Pirated

1. Don’t give away loose files to anyone you don’t trust. What do I mean by loose files? I mean any kind of file that can be easily transferred from one place to another, for example: the Word document of your book. Obviously you’re going to give this file out to your betas, and hopefully you trust them enough not to steal from you. But, I also mean regular mobi, e-pub and PDF files. YES, these have been formatted, but just like it’s easy for you to e-mail them to your ARC readers or giveaway winners, it’s also easy for them to take them and upload them on a pirated site. If you can, instead of giving away mobi or e-pub files to giveaway winners, gift them copies from Amazon, B&N, or Kobo.

2. Add specific copyright information to each book. Sometimes following rule #1 is hard if not impossible to do. For example, when sending out ARC copies to acquire some reviews before your book is published you may need to send out “loose files”. Other times it really is just easier to give out mobi or e-pub files in giveaways than to gift them. So, if you can’t follow rule #1 then format each book for each reader. In my advanced reader copies I write "This is an ARC for Lauryn April's Use only." So each individual book has that reader's name in it. This way if I find my book pirated later on at least I'll know where it came from. 

3. Don’t use online formatters. The internet is not secure. Do not use a website to convert your files into epub or mobi. Instead use a program that you download onto your computer like the Auto Kindle eBook Converter. For e-pubs you can upload a word doc to Nook Press, they will convert it and you can download the e-pub file to use elsewhere. Check out the Formatting Resource page on the Phantom Owl Press website to help you safely format your book.

4. Do apply the DRM to your books. After your upload your file on Amazon, but before you hit publish they will ask you if you want to enable DRM. This stands for Digital Rights Management, and adds a layer of protection to your book to keep it from being pirated. B&N and Kobo have DRM as well.

5. Don’t use Smashwords. Smashwords has no DRM option. They have absolutely no mechanism to prevent piracy, and I’ve heard more than a few horror stories of authors finding the books they’d hosted on Smashwords pirated on other sites. Check out this post by Author Samantha Young and read why she no longer uses Smashwords.

Note, while these suggestions will help keep your book from being pirated, they may not prevent it. Pirates acquire books in a number of ways, probably more than I even know about. I’ve heard of authors having their e-mail’s hacked and even of pirates finding ways to remove DRM.

Furthermore, while taking these steps may help prevent your book from being pirated, they will also limit your ability to reach as many potential readers as possible. As an author you need to weigh the pros and cons of the above actions to decide what’s best for your book. Personally I follow all of the points mentioned above.

How to Know if Your Book is being Pirated Already

I know a number of sites where I’ve found my book pirated and I could list them here, but they are only a few sites in an incalculable number of sites that host pirated books. Going through them one by one and searching for your novel would be not only an endless process but a tiring one as well. Luckily there’s an easier way to do this. Google yourself!

Go to Google and type the title of your book along with your name Ex: “A Different Kind, Lauryn April” and see what comes up. Hopefully you’ll see your blog and Amazon page, maybe even some blogs that have reviewed your book. That’s all well and good, but if you see anything that looks odd click on it and see what it is. If they are hosting an illegal copy of your book to download it will be very obvious.

How to Remove Your Book from a Pirated Site

Once you've found your book on a pirate site you'll want to remove it. To do this you need to file a DMCA complaint with the site you’ve found your book on. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and is a United States copyright law that among other things heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.

Basically, if you file one of these complaints with a site they have to remove your book from their site. If they fail to do so you can file a DMCA complaint with Google, Yahoo, ect… and have the page which is hosting your book removed from their search engine.

However, it’s not quite as simple as sending them an email that says “please remove this”. There are specific things you need to say in your message, and most sites will tell you exactly what those are, but in case one doesn’t, I’ll show you exactly how I fill out my DMCA requests.

Look to either the header or footer of the pirated site you’re on for a link that says “DMCA Complaint,” “Copyright Complaint” or “Contact”. They will most likely have instructions on how to file a complaint, but if all you come across is an e-mail address, below is the information you need to include in your message.

First: Include the link to the exact page where your book is being downloaded from. is my copyrighted book and has been illegally uploaded to your site.

Second: I always include my copyright page and a link to where my book can be bought.
This book can be purchased here: and below is the information from my copyright page.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Copyright © 2014 by Lauryn April

All Rights Reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission of the author. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied, or transmitted save with the written permission of the author.

Edited by Victoria Shockley
Cover Design by Lauryn April

A Phantom Owl Press Book

ISBN-13: 978-0991576210

Next: You must include this statement.
"I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."

Lauryn April

Finally: You need to let them know how they can get ahold of you.
You can contact me at

The Ninja Wins! by Andrew Becraft

I Hope this post helps authors fight piracy. Please comment below, share your experiences, thoughts and advice.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like The Piracy Plague: Why it Hurts (Not Helps) Authors

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review for Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

Suspenseful, Captivating, and Steamy.

5 Stars. Anna has grown up so much by this book. I really enjoyed seeing her deal with more adult situations and the conflicts she faced with “working” and trying to hold on to her own morals. I also really liked getting to meet some of the other Nephs, and getting to see more of the ones we already know

The danger has been kicked up a notch in this book. There were more than a few moments that had me truly scared for Anna and her friends. Again I feel this book is building for a bigger battle, and am excited to read the next installment.

I was nervous about there being a love triangle in this book, as I’m not a huge fan of them. I was glad that while Anna contemplates a relationship with Kope, there’s no point where Kaidan is forgotten. I think Higgins did a good job of balancing these three characters.

As with the first book the scenes with Anna and Kaidan together were my favorites. Their relationship is pretty much back at square one at the beginning of this book. They simply can’t be together. As the story progresses it’s obvious that despite the distance between them Anna and Kaidan can’t forget one another. They’re given mere scraps of one another’s attention and affection as they’re forced to stay apart. But, their relationship does eventually take a huge turn for the better. Their time together is once again bittersweet as they still have danger and obstacles ahead of them, but this book ends with a little more hope than the last.

I highly recommend this series and cannot wait for Sweet Reckoning. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Piracy Plague: Why it Hurts (not helps) Authors

Piracy is just like checking a book out of a library or borrowing one from a friend...wait no...Actually piracy is more like stealing a book from the store, scanning every page, and printing thousands of copies to give away (or sell) to random people on the street. Hmm...somehow that doesn't seem as innocent as just borrowing a book from a friend. Maybe, that's why piracy is a crime.

Read John Green's "Why Libraries Are Different From Piracy" 

A whole 2 days after the release of my most recent novel, A Different Kind, I found it being illegally downloaded on a website. As usual when this happens I find myself feeling crushed and disappointed.

First I was saddened to find that one of my trusted readers had betrayed me so, and second I was enraged that the book I'd spent over a year writing and reworking was being given away like lollipops at the doctors office.

My books aren't expensive. You can get A Different Kind for $3.99 on Amazon. I love doing giveaways and I take advantage of KDP free days. Not to mention all it would take to get a free copy of one of my books would be to e-mail me and ask for one. It's not the fact that people weren't paying for my book that bothered me. It was that they were getting free copies illegally.

I'm not going to say that the sales don't matter. They do. I'm an indie author and every sale counts. I don't break the bank with my book sales. I can't support myself on them. They're just enough to pay a bill or two a month (sometimes more, but also sometimes less). Still, I'm not in it for the money. I write because I love to write. So if someone were to ask me for a book, I'd most likely send them one. I just wish they'd ask me, instead of getting them from someone who's making illegal copies behind my back.

Now, I know there are people out there who think piracy isn't so bad. Some even think it's a good thing for authors. But I disagree...

Why Thinking Pirating will help Authors is ILLOGICAL:
There are two main objections that supporters of pirating offer.

1. Exposure is an authors friend. Pirates who give your book away get your name out there and increase your sales.

2. People who download pirated books wouldn't have bought them anyway, so you're not really loosing sales.

Now, I don't know about you, but what I see here is completely circular logic. These can't both be true. If my books go up on a pirated site, then the people who will see them are those who buy pirated books, and if people who buy pirated books wouldn't have bought them anyway, then how does any of this increase my sales? Now, some will say "Well, those people then tell other people about your book!" But, lets be honest, are they going to go tell other people to go buy my book, or are they going to tell other people where they too can download it for free?

Now I could go on and on about all the different "justifications" of piracy and explain one by one why none of them are valid, but that's been done. So if you're interested here's a few links to sites that explain each and every facet of this issue well.

Myths About Pirated Books
25 Thoughts on Book Piracy

I also want to make a note that many of the illegal copies of books you find online are early, unfinished copies of the book. Often they're copies that were given to beta readers or ARC copies. Reading these books is like watching a bootlegged copy of that new movie that's still in theaters. It's stolen and crappy because the guy you bought it from recorded it on his iPhone so the screen constantly shakes and you can hear someone coughing through half the film. Is that really the way you want to experience your books?

Here's the Bottom Line Folks...

Whether or not giving your books away for free is a benefit to the author or not is irrelevant. I think giving out books for free can be a great way to find new fans, but it should be up to the author to give those books away. I give books away for free all the time, and that's cool, because they're my books. It's not okay to take that decision out of an authors hands and give their books away for free for them. It's not your place to do that. That's stealing.

Now, earlier I said that it wasn't the fact that people weren't paying for my book that bothered me. It was that they were getting free copies illegally. And I stand by this. So to prove my point I will give a FREE book to anyone who e-mails me and asks for one. Seriously, send me and e-mail and ask me for a book and I will GIVE you one. Paperback, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, whatever. All I ask is that you share this post. Simple as that. Share on Facebook, get a book. Pin to Pinterest, get a book. Just shoot me an e-mail at

Support Indie Authors!

You can find A Different Kind for sale at the following sites.
Kindle US | Kindle UK | Paperback | Nook | Kobo

If you enjoyed this post you might also like "Ten Ways to get Book for FREE (That Are Legal)"

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review for Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

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Great Tension and Completely Captivating.

5 Stars. This book has easily become one of my new favorites. It’s filled with mystery and danger, but at its core it’s a story about forbidden love. The relationship between Anna and Kaidan will take you on an emotional roller-coaster as they both find themselves questioning their beliefs and growing as people.

I was a little worried that because this book dealt with angels and demons that there would be thick, overbearing religious themes. While I don’t mind a book with good morals, I don’t enjoy having an author push their beliefs on me. I was glad to find that this book perfectly balanced religion with its own mythology and reality. For example, Anna wasn’t some “Mary Sue” role model, she felt real. She wasn’t perfect. She felt the pull of outside influences and caved to her hormones just like any other teen. I also felt like her relationships were real. I loved her relationship with her adoptive mom, Patti, and with her friends. And, then of course I loved her and Kaidan.

Kaidan is the bad boy you love to root for. From the very beginning there was this fascinating push and pull between him and Anna that made me want to read more. He got under her skin, then pushed her away. He’d act like a total jerk, then do what he could to protect her. He was a complicated character and I enjoyed trying to figure him out.

Anna starts out a little na├»ve, a little sheltered and maybe a little too “goody-goody” but she grows up throughout the book. I loved seeing her face all of the challenges that came her way. She was put into situations where she had to bend her morals just to survive, and at times I felt my heart breaking for her sacrifices. Still, regardless of the evil around her she holds on to this piece of herself that is inherently good.

Kai pushes Anna to be bad, and I felt Anna’s torment knowing she wanted to be with him, but they couldn’t have a relationship. I wanted her to give in to him, but I was also rooting for her to stay strong, and because she does you see how she changes him.

The end is a little heartbreaking. It feels a little like evil has won. But, this book sets up what I expect to be a much larger battle to come, and I’m already diving into the second book.

Indie Book Goal 2018