See, here’s the thing. Piracy is going to happen. It’s just a reality of the modern world. I’ve heard every line of defense of the practice there is. Here’s my completely unsolicited opinion of the situation. After you read it I would love to hear your opinion.
1) All instances of read pirated material are NOT lost sales. Just because someone read your book for free does not mean they would have bought it and read it. That said, there’s a portion of those reads that ARE lost sales and that hurts creators. Really. It does. Significantly. Exponentially more for creator owned books than for a book from Marvel or DC.
2) A portion of pirated material eventually translates into sales. That is greatly appreciated. I think we all can learn something from this lesson. I believe we need to put as much out there for free as we can afford too in the hopes that it encourages people to become invested the larger product.
3) Because of the secrecy of the comic business, the average person has no idea how tight things really are for those of us who work here. They see billion dollar movies raking in the cash and think we’re rolling in money. From that perspective I certainly can’t blame someone for thinking we are greedy bastards. Let me just put this idea forward- Comic creators are comparable to line cooks and wait staff at a restaurant, or the people behind the counter at a fast food place. While you can look at McDonalds and see the corporation is worth billions, you don’t assume the guy making your burger is living the high life.
4) Taking point 3 a bit further. Almost every creator I know of has taken a pay CUT rather than a raise in the past decade. As it stands right now if I were to do work for DC I would make a full $75 less a page than I did 5 years ago. Combine that with the health coverage that DC no longer helps provide and we’re looking at an effective loss of $100 a day, $2200 a month, $26000 a year. Is that directly attributable to piracy? Of course not. There’s a ton of factors to take into account, but piracy is a part of it for sure.
If you do read pirated comics let me first say that I understand. I get it. At an average of $5.00 an issue comics simply cost too much to buy everything you want to read. All I ask is that you preorder collected editions (trade paperbacks and hardbacks) of the books that you enjoyed. It’s easy to think “Oh, I’ll buy the trade when it comes out” to justify pirating and then to forget it when the time comes. Please make a special effort because it does really effect the people who actually put their hearts into the work you’re reading.
Trust me, nearly every creator out there wants to get their work into as many hands as possible. We do this because we are compelled to out of love for the medium and our fellow fans. We love to tell you stories, to break your heart, to bring you joy, and to inspire you. We want to make your life better with beautiful pictures and wonderful stories. All we ask is that you let us continue to do that by throwing us a few bucks now and again so we can feed our families and keep a roof over our heads.