Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Guest: John Dolan

Avast, me Hearties! My Guest this week has just crossed swords with a writer's worst nightmare... and WON! I'll let him tell you about it. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...

John Dolan

YO HO HO and a bottle of Rheum

Ok, so here’s the thing. You’re a self-published author. You’ve planned out and written your book (or you just started writing without a plan and somehow got it finished anyway). You’ve read it and re-read it
Amazon Link
until your eyes bleed, done some editing, fine-tuning, whatever. 

Maybe you’ve employed a professional editor, run it past beta-readers, let your mum see it. 

It’s been formatted for ebook publication and as a hardback/paperback. Somebody (perhaps you or maybe your mum) has designed a cover. 

You’ve checked the proof copy and tweaked as necessary. You’ve planned the launch and executed it impeccably using a combination of social networks, advertising, book signings. 

You’re either working your way through your marketing plan systematically or making it up as you go along. But whichever route you’ve chosen, you’re working your butt off.

Amazon Link
Other than getting the next book written and continuing to promote your book – which includes blogging, tweeting, interacting/co-operating with other writers etc etc – there’s nothing more to do, right?


There’s something else you need to worry about.


Unless you plan to give away all your writings free and you don’t care to know how many people have downloaded copies, you need to think about pirates. And I’m not talking about the cuddly, Johnny Depp style of pirate either. I’m talking about the ones who will copy your work and offer it free (when you’re charging for it) or sell it themselves (and you get no royalties).

The first problem you have is actually finding out that someone is selling or giving away your book without your permission.

A few weeks ago I Googled my novel ‘Everyone Burns’. For the first few Google search pages, everything was well. The web addresses were as I expected them to be. Then a website popped up for some organization called Atabal Books who were offering my novel as a free download in all common file formats. Interesting, as my book is sold exclusively through Amazon and retails for $3.99.

Amazon Link
So what do you do next? Well, you could do a lot worse than reading this article:

In summary, find out who is hosting the offending website and serve them with a DMCA Takedown Notice (an appropriately-worded e-mail will do). Strictly speaking, this notice is only effective for USA-based hosting companies, but there are many international companies who are reputable organisations and do not want to be seen to be hosting copyright-theft sites. The company hosting Atabal Books, is in fact NOT USA-based but on receiving my email they REMOVED the Atabal Books site within six hours. Impressive, eh?

Lessons learned:-
  1.  Read the article in the link above, and bookmark it for future use 
  2. Google your book from time to time to see if anyone is doing anything naughty with it 
  3. If you discover a pirate, find out who is hosting them and send them a DMCA Takedown Notice (even if they are not US-based). Tweet me @JohnDolanAuthor if you want a sample Notice
  4.  Follow up and shame the host by whatever legal means are at your disposal. Threatening to summarily execute members of their family is probably not a good idea
  5. Smile while doing all of the above.


"Makes a living by travelling, talking a lot and sometimes writing stuff down. Galericulate author, polymath and occasional smarty-pants."

John Dolan hails from a small town in the North-East of England. Before turning to writing, his career encompassed law and finance. He has run businesses in Europe, South and Central America, Africa and Asia. He and his wife Fiona currently divide their time between the UK and Thailand.

When not writing, John can be located at:

Thank you, John, for a very interesting and useful article. Hope you've sunk 'em for good!

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