I write to music, and sometimes certain songs take on the feel of a soundtrack to me, adding layers to the characters and story. That’s never been more true than with The Prophet, when the music of Matthew Ryan and Brian Fallon, in particular, drove that book along. I got to know Matthew when he graciously agreed to let me use a quote from his haunting song “Return To Me” as The Prophet’s epigram, and since then I’ve taken a lot of inspiration not just from his music, but from his approach to his craft. (Read Michael’s 2012 interview with Matthew Ryan)
I don’t really have words to describe what it meant to have the chance to offer an intro in the liner notes of his new album, Hustle Up Starlings, which releases this week — and which happens to have been produced by Brian Fallon, who also plays lead guitar on every song. It was a rare, humbling, and special opportunity. I urge you to check out his work. I’ve never met a more dedicated writer…and then this poor guy has to put the words to music, too! I’m eternally grateful that he does, and in awe of his talent and his work ethic.
What a year 2016 has been for Rise the Dark! Here are a few of the “best of” lists that feature this electrifying read:
In Koryta’s latest nightmare, a self-anointed messiah capable of calling up a homegrown army of “more than 200 heavily armed and deeply paranoid white men” is preparing to shut down the electrical grid supplying energy to half the country. (“Good night, Seattle. Good night, Portland.”) To motivate the only lineman with the nerve and technical skills to pull off the job, the crazies are holding his wife hostage.
“Again proving himself one of today’s top thriller writers, Koryta creates edgy suspense not with trickery but with characters who test the limits of their courage.”
It’s been said many times that there are only about five different plots, and they all revolve around power, greed, revenge, sex and love. But it is what the authors do with those plots and the characters that makes the difference. A plot — no matter how involving — will not work if the characters are not believable.
I now have the pirated edition of Rise the Dark in hand. Notice any difference between the bootleg and the real book? It’s hard, I know, but if you’re a trained detective like me you just might be able to figure it out.
Sadly, Amazon’s system did not figure it out, and so these things were sold alongside the real book, at $12.99 a pop, for a month. I suspect I was a trial run of sorts. I don’t sell enough books for anyone to make a killing on pirated editions, but I do have the right kind of release to piggyback on with a fake edition, as it blends in nicely among hardcover, Kindle, large-print, and audio versions.
Because I believe my book was used as a test, I really hope other writers are made aware of the tactic and keep an eye out for it. I will keep everyone posted on the feedback we receive from Amazon as to how this all came about and what measures will be taken to try to see that it doesn’t happen to more writers in the future.
And if you received the pirated copy, please let me know and I will replace it promptly with a signed hardcover.
Yesterday we discovered that a paperback edition of Rise the Dark was available for sale on the book’s homepage on Amazon. Apparently, it had been available since September 2. This was intriguing, because the paperback edition won’t be out for a year, and that seemed awfully early for a pre-order page.
It wasn’t a pre-order page. It was a pirated version of my book, selling at $12.99, below the hardcover and Kindle price. It had its own ISBN, and the publisher was CreateSpace Independent Publishing. CreateSpace, I learned, is a print-on-demand, self-publishing outfit that is, ironically, owned by Amazon. The stolen copy’s product page included the real book’s reviews and blurbs. It included a photograph of me, holding up physical copies of a real book in my real publisher’s warehouse. It included everything, essentially, that is on the real book’s product page. For the buyer, there was absolutely no indication that this was pirated.
Thanks to Amazon’s wonderful “look inside this book” feature, I was able to scan the pages. The copyright page was missing, naturally. An odd floating page had been added, announcing that this was “The Second Book in the Markus Novak Series, 2016.” Then the text appeared – wrong font, bad formatting, but the right words. It was my book, but someone else had somehow managed to upload it and sell it right alongside the real formats. Disturbing, to say the least.
Thanks to swift work from Little, Brown’s legal team, the pirated edition is off the site now. That’s a good start, but obviously doesn’t answer some critical questions. I hope to know a lot more soon.
If you purchased a paperback edition from Amazon, I would love to hear from you. I will happily replace it with a signed hardcover and my sincere apologies. I’d also love to see a copy of the bootlegged book.
Fraud in the e-book business isn’t new – fake novels by Stephen King, John Grisham, Michael Connelly and other major bestsellers regularly appear, and pirated versions of classics like The Great Gatsby abound. I’d heard about that before. I’d never heard about someone selling a fake physical version of a new release right alongside the real deal – with free shipping for Prime members, no less!
For now, I’m most interested in reaching any reader who got a pirated book in exchange for their real dollars. If you somehow ended up with a bogus book, please send a private message via Facebook or use the contact page on my web site, and we will do whatever it takes to make this right.
For other writers – you might want to keep an eye on all of your editions. If CreateSpace suddenly becomes your publisher, it is a serious problem.