One day I was curious and decided to search for my ebooks on Google, hoping to see a few positive reviews or at least a couple of mentions on some websites. Boy was I shocked to notice the following links:
That was not the kind of mentions I had in mind…
Yes, hackers leaked my ebooks for free on some shady websites..
I remember feeling a mixture of pride that was quickly overwhelmed with doubt and apprehension.
See, I was proud that somebody bothered to hack my ebooks and publish them online (though in all fairness, probably some robot tool did it automatically). Most of all however, I feared that this stunt would impact my sales. Why buy a ebook when you can get it for free, right?
I panicked and started writing to Google to remove down those links from the search results, when I noticed something. These links were up there for several weeks. Did my sales suffer? No, they kept going up actually.
How could that be?
Support from my first fan ever
I was puzzled for a couple of days, but could not find a satisfying answer. Then a couple of days later I received this email from a person who read my first ebook. They were asking for a few more details about some code I had written:
That was one of my first “fan mails” and still my favorite to date. It taught me a valuable lesson: people who appreciate the effort and honesty you put into your work, will always go out of their way to support you. That right there is what I craved to accomplish when starting out in this business!
Since then, every ebook I put out got got leaked as a PDF version on the Internet, but I don’t mind. The way I see it, is that more people have access to my ebooks and can thus appreciate them and eventually buy the others. They also have more opportunities to share my work with other people (word of mouth, twitter, facebook, etc.).
For those finding the ebooks on Amazon, they will not really go out of their way to search for a free version. In the end an ebook costs around a cup of coffee on Starbucks, so they wil just download them directly to their Kindle.
Plus, I have a lot of print sales, so a considerable amount of people do prefer having physical books to hold and read.
In conclusion, getting your ebooks hacked is not the end of the world, so do not freak out. It will all work out for the best. I know it did for me 😉