STEAL THIS BOOK. Oh, you did? My Stepmom Died on Facebook. I’m about to co-write a supernatural thriller.

John Ramsey Miller

Here’s one for ya. My stepmother, JoAnn, died a week last Monday. I dearly loved my stepmother. She was an intelligent, humorous, loving, and wonderful woman. She was as responsible for my writing career as anyone because she loved my writing and said so. She pulled stacks of my work out of the burnpile and gave them to me years later. (I later burned them). We shared a love of literature. She was a yellow-dog Democrat and I a Republican scally-wag, but she never held it against me, and we got along just fine. My father died several years ago and she moved out to Texas to be near her Texas-living daughter. I found out that she was sick and I asked my stepbrother to keep me posted and to give her my love. I found out on Friday when someone my sister knows saw my stepmother’s obit in the Jackson Clarion ledger. When I blasted my step-brother for not bothering to tell me she passed away he said, and I quote: “I posted it on my Facebook page on Monday.” The funeral was a private affair, and I was not invited. Holy Shit Bat-woman. Needless to say my step-siblings don’t care much for me. But I love them anyway. Well, at least I can write that book I always wanted to write but wanted to wait until all of the people who would be less than favorably portrayed were dead.

By the way, I am joining forces with Mark Tufo (one of my favorite supernaturalists) to pen a series of novels. Since I’m a long-standing fan of this guy’s work, I didn’t hesitate to agree to play in the sandbox with him. His genre and mine are in different locales on the literary map, so we are thinking we will be meet at the fence. He’ll be putting his best characters into the pasture, and I’ll be sending my gang into the same place. It should be quite a shot of ice water to the face for our fans on both sides. We’re presently working on how this is going to work on a practical level, but I’m thrilled to be doing something challenging with someone I admire.

I am using my best character or two, and taking them into a world they would have never believed existed. Can I take established straight thriller characters and put them into a bump-in-the -night world. We shall see and I intend to. The great thing about not being under contract is that one can experiment and do that which one would never ordinarily be allowed to do.

By the way, if any of my author buddies want T-shirts for promotion, my son has a new company and lots of tasty equipment. Use my name and get deals.

On Monday evening I received this from a tech-savy author friend’s wife email via my web site contact form. She runs his e-enterprises, and she is upset about how many of her husband’s novels are not being paid for.

Comments: FYI stolen books:

The Last Day, Too Far Gone, Inside Out,Upside Down, Side by Side, Smoke & Mirrors.
Downloaded average of 723 times each, last time 2 hours ago. Maybe your publisher can do something?

She went on to say: Most of the authors that you blog with on Kill Zone are on there. I wrote one of them as she had an easy contact to find. I can get you a list and you can pass it around if you so desire.

I forwarded the email to my editor and agent, but I expect if Bantam could stop it, they would have. There are more sites like this. That one site is responsible for a minimum of four thousand copies of my books being downloaded for free. I appreciate that so many people downloaded my books, and most downloaded all of them. That means dedicated fans. I have mixed feelings about this loss of revenue, which I, like most authors need in order to pay bills, which enables us to write more books for our fans–a % of which will download others of them. If we have the cow in the pasture, why buy milk. Cheese, which is hard to make, maybe, but not milk free for the tugging.

One way to look at this is that this is really no different than having a book someone buys, sharing it… often until it falls apart. If it is outside our control, should we worry about it?

Gosh, I’ve had a busy week on the farm.

12 thoughts on “STEAL THIS BOOK. Oh, you did? My Stepmom Died on Facebook. I’m about to co-write a supernatural thriller.

  1. Good morning, John. So sorry to hear about your beloved step mom. Facebook? Seriously? Oy!

    Congratulations on the partnership!! Excited for you. Of course your thriller guys can play in whoo-whoo land and who better to show them the way than their creator.

    On the stolen book front, unfortunately this is like playing whack-a-mole. Get ’em in one spot & they pop up somewhere else. I think we’ll eventually get to a point when these thieves will get found & punished for the copyright violations. Some charge money for the downloads. It’s an ugly business.

  2. John, my condolences for the loss of your stepmother. It certainly doesn’t help to find out after the fact.

    Good luck with your collaboration project with Mark Tufo. Co-writing fiction is not for the weak of heart and slightly less dangerous than playing with a loaded gun. Lynn Sholes and I are writing our 7th and 8th books together simultaneously. We haven’t killed each other yet, but there’s still time.

    I use Scott’s Lawn Service to kill the weeds in my yard. They usually get about 85-90%. The weeds always come back or move to a different portion of the yard. BitTorrent-based free ebook download websites are the weeds of the literary lawn. You can forward the website addresses to your publisher until the chickens come home. There’s NOTHING they can do about it. I guess the question to ask is: if someone downloads your book for free, would they have bought it otherwise?

  3. John, Lisa, Annalisa and I are very sorry to hear about the loss of your stepmother. The story of how you came to belatedly hear about it is very sad. I’m just shaking my head.

    Good luck on that collaborative effort. I’ll look forward to seeing the results.

    No one is bootlegging me, but Lisa found that someone was selling a used copy of a manual I wrote for a 1999 legal seminar in Columbus on And someone bought it.

  4. Post mortem family squabbling is an unfortunate yet all too common occurrence, ironically rendered more faceless by the use of that thing called Facebook. A story of our times.

    While piracy is wrong and a problem, there are those who suggest these don’t represent a large number of “lost sales.” The majority of downloads are probably by people who wouldn’t have bought the book under normal circumstances.

  5. My condolences about your stepmom, John. It’s too bad you had to find out the way you did. We had a similar situation in our family, and it was painful.

  6. By the way, I’ve had thousands of books downloaded from that website, too. After much thought, I decided that I’d rather write books that people want to steal than the alternative. Think of it as a sign of your appeal!

  7. So sorry about your step mom.

    As far as downloading books? It’s still a crime even if the person who downloaded wouldn’t have purchased the book in the first place.

    There’s no sense in getting upset, but c’mon it’s still illegal!

  8. Man, that sucks. I’ve been worried something like that would happen with my own father. My stepmom, who’s only a couple years older than me, and I have never had a bad relationship. We’ve just never had a relationship. Can’t blame her, I imagine its pretty hard to have a ‘step-son’ who was born when she was six. I find stuff out second hand all the time, usually via facebook. Just hoping its not his obit that way.

    Regarding stolen books, that’s a real bummer. I recently pulled my free podcast audiobooks from the web due to requirements with my contracts. I have no doubt that someone somewhere will be reposting those mp3s somewhere for free for those who don’t want to buy the retail version. Oh well, not much I can do about that except wish I could keep the money.

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