A Raven Rant on Digital Theft @RavenMcAllan

Hi all, and welcome to a Raven rant,

Now let’s face it, this subject will be covered by a lot of people much better qualified to chat about it. And there are a lot of thoughts about it at the moment. (Check out Doris O’Connor on www.naughty-quills.com today and Ravenna Tate on there yesterday)

Why? Well lets be honest it’s a subject very close to the heart of any artist—and I use that word to cover writers and musicians—who has work that can be stolen at the click of a button.

Stole do I hear you ask?


Yeah, that’s the work. Stolen by thieves. Pirates. Those who feel they are entitled to something for nothing.

And sadly, often those who would be aghast if you suggested they went into Waterstones and picked up a couple of paperbacks and just walked out with them.

“But that’s stealing…” they would cry. “Like shoplifting in the supermarket.”

So why is stealing an eBook any different? Because you cant hold it in your hands?


Sorry but it is. Actually, no I’m not sorry. I’ll tell it like it is. And when the pirate-thief pulls the ohh poor me I’ve got no money well sorry sunshine, nor have a lot of people but they don’t resort to stealing.

Think for a moment. This is a very simplistic maths sum. But as a for instance.

Let’s say A N Author has a short novella out. About 20 thousand words.

Now in a perfect world those 20k would take oh say 30 hours to write. (Let’s ignore kids wanting fed, the dog being sick, the cold callers on the phone very half an hour, hubby wanting his dry cleaning picked up, the enormous pile of ironing staring at you, the people who think that if you are in the house, you’re not working, all that stuff).

Let’s concentrate on those 20k.

So once they’re written they need editing by A. N. Then sent to a beta reader. Then edited again. So all that is another oh at a conservative estimate, 60 hours. And don’t forget the synopsis and blurb.

And if it’s accepted there’s edits and revisions and all the bits and bobs that go with that.

So were looking at anything from 120 hours upwards.

That’s well over 3 weeks work at 7-8 hours a day, and believe me not many authors get the chance to do that on a regular basis.

Now lets talk $ and £. (I know you should never discuss money but bear with me)

Ms. Author if she was in a ‘regular’ job, could earn oh I don’t know $10 or £10 an hour maybe. (That’s a nice rounded number for me to work with.)

Her 20k Novella is on Amazon for $1, or £1.00

Now for the sake of argument and to stop everyone’s head spinning, I’ll just use $ and Amazon (other book buying sites do exist…)

On Amazon if a book is under $1.99 they take 70% of each sale.

So our $1 dollar book is work only 30¢. The publisher—I’m talking publishers here—take their cut for all their hard work, covers, editing, formatting, etc., of around 55-60% or in some cases more. I’ll work on a publisher taking 60%.

That leaves A. N. Author with 12¢ for every book sold.

Now if my maths is correct, and don’t shoot me if it isn’t, that means to break even over 3 weeks of non stop working on that book that poor A. N. needs to sell 1,000 books in 3 weeks to make what she/he would have made in a ‘regular’ job. Some do. Lots do not. Nowhere near it.

But hold on…what about everything else? Like something to work on? You have to have a computer of some sorts and the net. Lighting, heating and electricity, which if she were out of the house, wouldn’t be used. The lack of sickness benefits, national insurance, paid holidays?

Yeah you’re on your own as an author.

So maybe now anyone who thinks ohh I’ll just pinch this book, why not, might think twice.

But on reflection, seeing what they write on social media, etcetera, probably not. And you know? They’ll be the first to bitch when the number of eBooks shrinks because A. N. can’t afford to carry on.

Rant over. Have a nice day, and if you can afford to one click legally, thank you.


(Raven’s latest book, from her alter ego dark side, Kera Faire, The Dispatcher is now out legally from Evernight publishing, Amazon, Are and Bookstrand.

She is now eating chocolate and drinking coffee, both purchased legally.)


5 Responses to A Raven Rant on Digital Theft @RavenMcAllan

  1. Kimberly T

    Tell it Raven!! Tell. IT!

  2. Sandie Buckley

    Absolutely excellent rant! Tells it like it is. I live on disability and my husband is a mechanic. We live paycheck to paycheck. I get an “allowance ” every week and have to ration out what I spend on books. When I hear of someone stealing, it just pisses me off. I love my authors and hate to see them get ripped off. Wonderful words Raven!

  3. Thank you both. As I limit what I buy to what cash I have available, my blood boils as well…

  4. Excellent post! Wonder what these folks would do if we went into their workplace and told them they wouldn’t be getting paid that week because we were claiming their salary?