Breaking Your Brand

One of the following books is a work of plagiarism.

If you want to read the whole story, you can go to Robert Smartwood’s blog entry about it.

Smartwood calls this kind of plagiarism “Worse Than Pirating,” and in my opinion, he is right. Piracy takes away a sale that might not have happened, while this type of plagiarism hurts your personal brand. Of course, this is just an illustration of my opinions.

Follow these two scenarios:

Bubba goes to his friendly neighborhood torrent tracker, he downloads your book. At this point, you have (maybe*) lost a sale.

Bubba reads your book and loves it. He recommends it to his friends. He finds out you have a new book out and he buys it. He is a lifelong fan worth more than a single sale.

Or he thinks it sucks, and he does nothing. in which case, you (maybe*) lost a sale.

Scenario 2

Bubba takes a copy of your book, makes his own cover, and starts selling it on KDP.

Karl buys a copy of the knockoff book and loves it. Karl recommends it to his friends. He downloads other books by Bubba, but stops reading him because his new book “The Leonardo Code” is nothing like his earlier offerings.

Karl never finds your books, which he would have loved. Karl commits suicide.

* There is a lot of debate on whether, given no other choice or a crisis of conscience, pirates would actually buy as much media as they pirate.

5 thoughts on “Breaking Your Brand

  1. D. Moonfire

    I happen to think that piracy is just a natural form of success. Of course, let me get a book out and see what happens when it is pirated, but I know that my dad pirated music at first, then wanted the pretty CD’s because he liked the band and then he wanted to support them.

    Now, plagiarism, I mostly despise when it is a word-for-word copy or even a large copy. I once had someone take one of my stories and do a search and replace, then post it on a forum I frequented. I was… upset. 🙂


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