Back in 2012, there was a fiasco between Lendink (an eBook lending/piracy website) and hundreds of authors (myself included). Until now, only one side of the story has been heard. We orchestrated a “witch-hunt” if you’re to believe those who were on the outside looking in. Back porch detectives bloomed like weeds and they were all carrying screenshots of authors and their websites. I’m proud to say that I’m one of the very few authors who never caved in. I never offered an apology, nor will I. Now it’s time for the other version of the story to be told. By me (not Claire the makeshift reporter who “interviewed me” back in 2012).
Thanks for the info, Claire. Actually, I didn’t remove the page. I added links to my books and transformed the page into a “buy my books” page. It’s what us indie authors do when a blog page is landing thousands of hits each day. As I’m sure you gathered from our interview (which is fancy talk for you trying to preach KDP service terms to me), I had no problem standing by my decision to help shut Lendink down.
I respect your belief in the matter, even if you had absolutely no clue as to what you were talking about. I went through many hoops to secure the cover art of my first book, Gunship. It wasn’t just some second-hand stock photo that is so common among authors. This was a photo that I chased for many months and called in a heap of favors. I finally got permission to use the photo, legally, with the understanding that I would be the only person in charge of said photo. I also explained to you (more than once), that, after contacting the web host directly, the photo was stored on a server (not mirrored from Amazon). In fact, I sent multiple emails to Lendink asking that it be taken down. Just the single book cover. Not too much to ask, right?
Wrong. Not only did I not receive a reply, but after contacting Amazon I was directed (by Amazon) to send a cease and desist to the web host as it was the only avenue to pursue. I, along with several authors, sent our notices to Lendink for various reasons. Some considered what they were doing to be piracy. Others disagreed with the eBook lending system in general. We had to bend over the table and take it from Amazon in order to sell our books on the Kindle. I get that. But this was our chance to thumb them in the eye, make a statement in the world of digital media and take Lendink (or its ownership practices) offline. So we did.
As death threats began coming in from online trolls who apparently hoarded up every free book they could find, many of the authors who stood with me either deleted their accounts or apologized in the face of an angry online mob. But I didn’t. I just sat back and listened to Lendink’s owner talk out of both sides of his mouth through Facebook. He “was” an associate. He “wasn’t” an associate. He “wasn’t” earning income from the site. We were ripping his “only income” away from him. No. We were getting someone away from the realm of lending digital books that had no business being there in the first place.
I stood pretty much alone when the smoke cleared and I’m proud of that fact. As hundreds of hate emails flowed into my email inbox each day, I had an assistant of mine read through them and cherry pick the actual emails out for me. Sad, but true. I would do it all over again. Why? Because I’m a man of principals, that’s why. It’s not OK to operate a website that deals with other people’s writing and fail to reply to emails. It’s not OK to send death threats to female authors because your honey hole of free books has been stripped away from you. And to the authors who jumped to the other side of the fence after the shit storm began, it’s not OK to take the path of a coward. I’ve never been one to cower to any sort of mob when I believe I’m right. I’ve no problem standing up for what I believe.
So, to the dozens of “angry readers” who resorted to trolling my work online and leaving 1-star reviews in an attempt to stall my career. You lost. Three years later I penned a best-seller and have 23 books (and counting) to my credit. In the end, Lendink is no more and those who made the death threats against my fellow authors still reside in their parent’s basement somewhere. Meanwhile, I’m launching a small publishing company with people that I’ve grown to trust. People with integrity. Perhaps the back porch detectives should have studied that word just a bit harder, rather than piling onto those who displayed it. But, just in case…