For those writers who like to know the results of others (especially concerning Bookbub). My most recent freebie promotion (the Picture Frame) has shifted over 30k free downloads in 3 days thanks to Bookbub. To compare, my last freebie promotion (without Bookbub) shifted about 3k downloads; so Bookbub has given me 10x as many downloads (for $150 outlay) and sent the book to no 1 in it's respective genre and into the top 50 for all books on Amazon (Got to 20 in UK). Hopefully a large portion of these 30k downloads will result in new readers who will buy my other books. It usually does. The Picture Frame has also had about a dozen reviews already and will probably get many more considering the book has gone to 30k Kindles.
I know some authors don't like giving their books away for free, but I always have done and it has never hurt me. The hardest part of selling books is getting someone to read your work and a freebie is the best way to make someone take a risk on you.
On the same token, writers should stop worrying so much about piracy. Newsflash. You will not stop it. Why will you succeed where Sony Pictures, Britney Spears, and Stephen King have failed? Piratebay is down, but already it is being ressurected on other servers. The UK government have blocked EZTV; there are already mirror links to get round it. Piracy will always exist. It always has. The forged paintings of the Renaissance were piracy. The dodgy VHS tapes on the market were piracy and that was 30 years ago. Don't be so arrogant to think that your strongly worded emails or threats will make any dent in illegal sharing. It won't.
Don't waste your time worrying about piracy. It is a quantifiable section of the market that is neither growing or shrinking. It is just there and always will be - it is the wastage that we deal with in the same way as a supermarket writes-off broken eggs. The money being spent on books exists outside of this piracy segment and that is where you need to focus your attention. Focus on those who are happy to spend their money on legitimate work. Also, don't take it personally. The more well-known I have become, the more my books are pirated. J K Rowling is probably more pirated than anyone but she still managed to make over £200 million and become a celebrity. If you'e a good writer, your books will get pirated and purchased in a correlated measure. More sales-more piracy. Less sales-less piracy. Just ignore it and accept that it is linked to your fate as a writer but in no way affecting of it. YOU CANNOT STOP PIRACY. You will not stop it. In fact, piracy may even help you.
A pirate steals one of your books and loves it. Maybe he steals ten books a year but every now and then pays for one or two (maybe when he's on holiday away from his computer). If he likes you then he may spend that small amount of cash he is happy to spend on you. Maybe a pirate steals your book and loves it, tells his non-piratey friends (yargh!) how great it was, who then go and buy your books on their Kindles. Maybe a pirate steals your book and loves it. Feeling guilty he at least leaves a glowing review. Two people read that review and buy that book. That pirate has just recovered the loss you made on him plus added a profit. A pirate steals your book and loves it. He goes online and buys a signed copy of the paperback from you.
Pirates are people (pretty ordinary people to be honest), and the aim of this game is to get people reading your books in whatever ways you can. Piracy is actually helping you, not hurting you. There is no money being taken away from you by pirates, because they are not spending anything anyway. But they are becoming aware of your work and, like a virus they may spread that awareness on to others. The baseline for a pirate is that you get no money from them. That is the same for any writer and doesn't get worse. You don't lose money (you have no physical stock) but you don't gain anything, The best case scenario is all the things I listed above. So for every pirate who steals your book, there is a chance you may get a net positive result in some way at some point. There are no risks with a pirated copy, but there are potential gains.
The proof for me will be in the pudding. I have just given away 30k copies of my newest novel FOR FREE! What kind of a businessman am I? But I can almost guarantee that my sales will now go up for as long as a 3-month period. I have moved up the ranks, got a bunch of new people reading my work and am getting reviews up the wazoo. This business is about finding readers, not gouging customers. If I ever release a sequel to the Picture Frame I have over 30k people who have read book 1. If only a 20th of those people buy a copy of the new book, I am quids in.
As a final note, if you have ever pirated one of my books, I forgive you. :-)