Success in a Den of Thieves

There’s been a steady, minor surge in sales of Raw and Other Stories in recent weeks and months. It’s always placed a solid third in the hierarchy of my best-selling publications, well behind Necropolis but surprisingly close to Sex Tape.

I say surprisingly because I was warned, when I first started down this publishing road, that short-story collections don’t sell. Regardless, I forged ahead, if only because I had a backlog of stories that had appeared in various anthologies, plus a selection of new material that had yet to see the light of day. They begged to be collected, particularly since one of them—“Raw”—had been shortlisted for a Bram Stoker Award nomination.

I chose an overarching theme of “crime” for the book, with some of those crime stories getting nasty enough to cross into the territory of “horror.” I drew the line at supernatural. None of my ghost or zombie or demonic stories made the cut. They’ll be collected sometime in the future, once there’s enough of them to fill another volume.

Right out of the gate, Raw and Other Stories made more sales and got more page reads through the Kindle Unlimited program than I expected. Lately though, a couple of years later, copies—particularly paperbacks—have been moving at a much quicker rate than they probably should. It made me wonder what was up. Had someone reviewed the book somewhere or mentioned it on a podcast? I’ve seen sales correlations in the past with people doing as little as posting one of my covers on Pinterest. Every bit helps, and any mention is good promotion. But this was a much bigger anomaly.

A Google search later, I had my answer. Raw and Other Stories has been pirated by one of those book-theft sites out there. Someone is peddling a PDF and, discouragingly, it’s had more downloads there than it has ever had on Amazon—even when factoring in my free-promo days. More encouragingly however, is that even with the good review rank on Amazon, it’s even better reviewed on the pirate site. So…um…glad you liked it, I guess.

I figure some of the pirates have enjoyed my book enough to want to have a physical copy in their library. Paperbacks aren’t so easy to pirate. You might as well buy a copy. What’s your alternative? Find it in a library and spirit it away to a Kinko’s? Sounds like more trouble than it’s worth.

I guess I’ll just be happy that my paperbacks are getting free advertising in the dens of thieves and the coves of pirates. As Epitaph approaches publication, I’m working more and more on the next collection of short stories, Petty Crimes and Vindictive Criminals. I’ll have that ready for you to pirate as soon as possible, I promise.