Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bootleg Books

I've gotten better about worrying. I don't mean that I worry more. I mean I worry less...Until today, that is.
I received a text from a friend in Atlanta marked urgent, "Call me, now!"
I excused myself from a meeting and found a quiet place to make the call. During that two minutes, several scenarios went through my head.
Potential horrid thing #1. Maybe something happened to my friend. (No, her husband would have called. He doesn't text. Well, maybe he does but he wouldn't text me.)
Potential horrid thing #2. Maybe something happened to my kids. (How would my friend in Atlanta know that?) Maybe they fell off the cover of my new book, I Stand Accused, and hurt themselves. Shameless plug and bragging. Sorry.
Potential horrid thing #3. I missed something good on Oprah. (No, it was only 2 pm. Thank goodness.)
I ran out of stuff after that. See, I bet you can think of a million more things to worry about. Anyway, I called her during off-peak hours which attest to our level of friendship and she said, "Guess what happened. You're never gonna believe this."
"Moe, aren't you going to guess?"
"Hmmm, no."
She huffed. "Remind me again why I'm friends with you."
"I dunno. I think you owe me money. You're using up my minutes. What's up?"
"I just bought your book for five dollars from a street vendor."
My legs buckled. "You what?! Tell me Barnes and Noble CNN Center has street vendors. Five dollars? Are you kidding me? I'm self-published. I can't take a hit like that."
(This really happened. I'm not making it up.)
"No," she said, laughing at my gasping sounds. "I got it from some guy wearing a Rocca Wear shirt. Your manuscript is printed on typing paper and bound up with one of those curly, black things. The guy has a lot of good books and all of Tyler Perry's DVD's. You're famous now, girlfriend. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
"No, I'm fine thank you."
"I'm talking to the security guard. He wanted to know why I was on the floor. Imitation my as--sets. Angel, tell me someone who is not related to me by blood is not selling bootleg copies of my debut novel on a street corner in Georgia."
"Yep. Five dollars. Two for eight."
Well, that explains why I have more enthusiastic emails from readers than royalties. The bootleggers must have been kind enough to include my website in the stolen property.
Now, I have a new worry.