This week we would like you to meet one of our Individual Creator Members, USA Today Best-selling Author Koko Brown
1. What was the inspiration behind becoming an author? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
I never wanted to be a writer. I’ve always been a voracious reader. During a six month teaching sabbatical, I was picking up any and everything to read. Between books, I found myself lying in bed daydreaming. In popped this casino-owning vampire in love with a mortal, who didn’t quite feel the same way about him. I wrote Charmed in two weeks. I submitted it and received interest from several third-party publishers. I cleaned the manuscript up and sold it to Ellora’s Cave, one of the pioneers of erotic romance.
I’ve always been a huge daydreamer, so it’s pretty exciting to put them down on paper. Even better to have someone else appreciate them.
2. Can you take us through your process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
I’m half plotter and half panster. I visualize all my books from beginning to end. However, I rarely write a synopsis which would make me a true plotter. With the bones of the story in my head, I dive into the story and allow it to develop. Characters always get in the way, so the story can take a drastic turn but usually the book stays pretty identical to how I visualized it.
If I’m not on deadline or working with an editor, it can take months to write a book. However, I’ve written entire books in less than 30 days. I write full-time now, so all my books are published and I receive monthly royalties.
3. Have you experienced copyright infringement and if so how has it affected you personally and financially?
Internet piracy is an ongoing issue. Searching for your titles and sending out DMCA letters can become a full-time job. I can make more publishing a new title than running after someone stealing and sharing an old one. I will say that I don’t think the problem is as bad now compared to five years ago when the European Union began to crack down on pirates by pulling the cord on their sites and giving them jail time.
My pocketbook hasn’t been hurt as badly as others only because I haven’t found my titles on many file sharing sites. I know scores of authors who’ve claimed losses in the thousands, including one who had an advance reader copy shared before it was officially published.
In the long run, many authors have found that the most effective way to cut down on piracy has been to let readers know that sharing books cuts into our livelihood. If we can’t make a living writing, then we have to procure part-time/full-time employment. In turn, our creative output would suffer and they wouldn’t get the next book in a series as quickly as they would want it. In laymen terms, when we suffer you suffer.
4. What is your best piece of advice that you would give other creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?
Speak up about internet piracy. Let your readers know that you don’t tolerate it. If I gift free stories, I always ask they do not share the book with anyone else. Obtain an ISBN number, which is a unique numerical ten digit book identifier, for any book you publish. For $35 You can also register your book with the U.S. Library of Congress Office of Copyright Registration. Unfortunately, none of these suggestions will prevent someone from buying your book and uploading it to a file sharing site. Also stay abreast of legislation and developments. The copyright alliance is an invaluable resource of information. They provide artists with a voice and they are advocates for EVERYONE. No medium takes precedence over another and I really appreciate that.
5. What is your biggest copyright-related challenge?
Amazon has a huge plagiarism problem. It’s extremely easy for someone to take your book, slap a different cover on it and put it up for sale. It’s harder for an author to go after the offending party and convincing Amazon you’re actually the original copyright holder. On top of that, Amazon doesn’t award damages in the form of profits from the illegally copied title. The Atlantic recently wrote on this budding problem: “Stealing Books in the Age of Self-Publishing“
USA Today Best-selling Author
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