Anything This Pirated HAS To Be Good!


Christina Engela author picTen years ago, Christina Engela latched on to the emerging self-publishing ‘print-on-demand’ trend on the internet and began to upload her series of sci-fi/fantasy novels onto Lulu.com. The platform was then a groundbreaking enterprise, offering design tools to authors and a free market place for their works. From there they were available for customers to order as either a hard-copy paperback print which was sent to them via mail-order, or to download them as e-books. Both forms would provide her with payment for her books.

Sadly, and perhaps predictably, some of the e-book versions of her stories have ended up being uploaded and shared on other renegade sites, where they continue to be made available for free – and even for payment which does not go to the author.

Aside from the illegal aspect of the situation, where piracy is taking money out of the pocket of a writer who is not a big name in world literature – or wealthy – this is making older versions of her works linger while better, newer versions have long since replaced them. At least officially.

Blachart

Blachart 2013 sml The 2005 first edition and 2012 second edition covers of Blachart.

Blachart JEA

The 2014 JEA re-release cover of Blachart

Christina Engela was signed with a traditional publisher in August 2014. J.Ellington Ashton Press (JEA) is what is referred to as a new-generation publisher, being a few years old, and snapping up all the hot up and coming international writing talent in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, horror and splattergore and others. Since she signed with JEA, the publisher has included 2 of her short stories in the anthologies ‘Autumn Burning‘ and ‘Inanna Rising‘, and the first two titles in her Galaxii Series ‘Blachart’ and ‘Demonspawn’ have already been re-released under their ‘Hardwired’ label.

When Christina signed with JEA she had just uploaded her 8th Galaxii Series novel to her Lulu shopfront. Knowing this would conflict with the titles being made available over time with JEA, she removed all of these from the site. In the meantime, she had also performed several revisions to these books, everything from text edits to adding newer and more attractive covers. The two new re-releases through JEA have also had the added benefit of this treatment, with a two-stage editing and new cover design process additional to that. The result is a much better, more satisfying result.

In about 2010 Christina allowed several free e-book services to host a selection of specially re-formatted first edition titles as a promotional tool. This worked to a degree, providing the author with a small cult following and several very good reviews. The problem came in 2014 when Christina began asking these free e-book sites to take down her works. The ones who had obtained direct permission from her to host her books – about four sites in total – complied without any problem, but when she dug deeper via web trawls and searches, she discovered quite a few more supplying some early versions of her books, who had not obtained her permission to do so!

Some have simply uploaded the downloaded e-book format books specifically intended for Lulu.com, possibly bought and downloaded from Lulu in the first place, and then simply redistributed illegally.

She has found up to 7 different sites supplying earlier versions of some of her works for free downloads, with at least 3 providing them as PAID downloads – with the monies collected not benefiting the author in any way, but going instead to the site owners! This is not only unethical but also illegal as well! Additionally, these sites are hosted in countries where legal action cannot succeed against the pirates, and there is no visible way to contact the site admins.

Aside from the financial setback to the author and ultimately also to any publisher, it is also a soul-destroying experience for any struggling newly published author to see people praising her work on public forums – while passing around download links to obtain free copies of it!

Christina remains hopeful that the trend of piracy of literary works will draw to a close as more and more of her previously unreleased works become available via the correct channels. The books being offered by JEA via Amazon and Barnes & Nobel are after all unquestionably of far superior quality, and in the process the author receives a well-earned reward for her hard work in creating them. Writers write because they love to write and create and tell stories – but they publish because they need to go on being able to do it. Face it, financial reward makes writing a viable activity.

“Anything this pirated HAS to be good!” She smiles.

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