Sunday, 24 March 2013

Author Stephanie Lawton Speaks Out on Book Piracy and Bullying


Allow me to paint a scene for you: 
A mousy girl in glasses sits alone at a table in her school library, minding her own business, lost in a world of words. She hears a noise close to her ear and her head snaps up. She ducks just in time before another girl rips the book off the table and hurls it across the room. She plucks the glasses from the mousy girl’s face then crunches them under her boot into the noise-dampening carpet. 
Here’s another scenario: 
A debut author devotes years of her life to creating characters that live and breathe, to giving them a story and making it come to life. These characters haunt her dreams. They speak to her. She diligently puts it all in writing, painstakingly revising, revising again, and revising once more when one of the characters whispers a final revelation in her ear. She ignores her children’s pleas for more of her time, disregards invitations from friends, and spends what little extra money she has on research trips. The story is finally published, she holds it in her hands and memorizes the feel of success. 
She soon discovers her story has been stolen—given less consideration than a ninety-nine-cent pack of gum in a convenience store. She’s heartbroken, then frustrated, angry, and discouraged. She researches ways to battle book piracy, but it seems like a lost cause. She entertains the idea of giving up writing, even though it brings her satisfaction like she’s never known. 
In the first scene, the bully has picked on someone minding her own business, and in tossing her book, she’s taken away her current joy. In destroying her glasses, she’s taken away the girl’s ability to find joy in the long term. She cannot see, therefore she has no method of losing herself in a good book. Being attacked for no reason has also left her with a constant sense of unease, wondering when another attack will come, and if it’s even worth fighting to get her glasses back. What’s the point when they’ll likely get destroyed again? 
Hopefully, you see the parallel I’m drawing here. Having your book stolen is akin to having your heart ripped out and stomped on—not so much because of the money, but because it denotes a lack of respect. However, publishers care very much about the money aspect. If a book doesn’t earn well, there’s no reason for them to take on a new title or sequel from that author. It’s a lose-lose-lose situation for the author, the reader and the publisher. 
The answer? Don’t do it. Don’t put up with those who pirate. Very simple. Go to your library and if they don’t have the book, ask them to get it. That’s a win-win-win. 

About Stephanie Lawton: 
After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.
A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.
On her thirtieth birthday, she mourned (okay bawled) the fact that in no way could she still be considered a “young adult,” so she rebelled by picking up Twilight and promptly fell in love with Young Adult literature.
She has a love/hate relationship with Mardi Gras –where does all that money come from?–and can sneeze 18 times in a row.
Stephanie Lawton’s YA novel, SHRAPNEL, can be found at Evernight Teen and most major online book retailers.


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