When artists get ripped off

I’ve got mixed feelings about this: I’ve been ripped off. On the one hand it’s nice that somebody saw fit to include not one, but TWO of my works in an anthology billed as a fan’s wishlist of holiday-themed horror stories. On the other hand, the anthology in question illegally incorporates 140 works without permission from the authors, publishers, or anybody else involved.

As my two works go, well, nobody is beating down my door and throwing fistfuls of cash at me just to reprint or adapt them. However…fistfuls of cash is what this book represents. Collectively 140 stories represent a huge amount of money, especially when you consider some of the names involved.

The thing is, if the people involved had asked for non-exclusive reprint rights free of charge I would have said yes. It’s all so silly. Instead it’s going to turn into a big deal because the toes of some motivated people were stepped on. It’ll be interesting to see how far those authors—and the organizations representing them—pursue this. Personally, and maybe this isn’t true, but I just feel that once something hits the torrent sites there’s no way to stop it. It’s self-perpetuating by that point.

If you care to help out authors trying to, you know, purchase clothes (even if they’re used) and buy instant noodles, please avoid Gift-Wrapped & Toe-tagged: A Melee of Misc. Holiday Anthology. I know, I know, avoiding Gift-Wrapped & Toe-tagged won’t buy a present for my son, or get other free-lance authors the healthcare they need, but there have been a lot of rip-offs in the spec fic scene recently, and it’s already hard enough to get people to buy books, or editors to pay you reasonable rates (or anything at all) for inclusion in anthos and mags.

And yes, of course us authors will still write. Direct marketing pays really well, and it’s easier to break into than screenwriting. So prepare for no more books and lots, lots, LOTS of spam, both the snail mail and electronic varieties.