Guess what does not make me happy: people stealing my stories.
And yes, if someone hosts any of my works anywhere without my explicitly given consent – especially works that have cost me A LOT of work and that I have taken offline in hopes of publishing them – that’s stealing, too. Also it’s ruining a possible business opportunity for me – an opportunity I think I have deserved by working hard.
It’s not just “some stuff that’s only for free”. It is – in case if “Campus” – countless hours of work over a span of seven years that I have chosen to share for free for a very long time, and they I have taken offline because I hope to turn it into a book. And because it is my writing, and my decision, and I would expect everyone to respect that.
Now and then, I google my work or my name – tonight, I was looking for a link – and there are occasions where I wish I hadn’t because it would have saved me the ire and the sadness and the feeling of vulnerability and helplessness. Tonight, I discovered that someone is hosting the entirety of “Campus” as a .doc file on their blog – it’s not linked from the surface, but do a google search for my name and “Campus”, and it’s on page 1. There is no direct contact address, but there are various accounts/pages linked to it and I still have to make my way through it in chances of finding an email address and asking the person behind it to kindly leave my work alone, but right now? Right now I’m just mad and want to vent about it.
I know that Campus has been available for so long that it is still circulating on various fileshare sites. Of course I grit my teeth at it, but it’s not the same as putting it on a personal blog. This is not some bot, this *is* someone.
At best, the person in question is (or was) young and hasn’t through this through, but it does not change the fact that it is NOT. OKAY. When people wonder why I don’t grandly advertise my work, why I enjoy to use various aliases oe post stories on obscure boards run in other languages, or why I like to put up passwords protected posts: that’s exactly why.
And no, it’s not “no big deal” and “just fanfic”. a) even if it were just a little canon-linked PWP, it would still be my decision to share for any length of time I deem fit. b) “Campus” is, by all means, an independent novel (you can debate its fanfic-like qualities, which it is has, no doubt. But it’s not twenty pages I wrote one week when I was bored between exams). “Campus” is huge, and those of you who have been reading my stories for years (many years, in that particular case) know that many tired, sleepless nights went into it, as well as nights and hours shaved off of the tight work schedules of my beta team.
When something like this happens – until now, thankfully, rarely – I just want to take all my writing, place it behind a sonnet cycle of passwords and make it “by invitation only”. But I know that’s unfair to the overwhelming majority of you, many of whom may not feel like checking and and giving feedback or interact at all (much like me in my only fandom years). And, yes, I *do* love sharing my stories – after all what is a story without listeners? (Well, still a story, I suppose, but where is the fun in it?) – but is it really asking too much to leave the hosting and sharing to me, on my terms?