Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To Post or not to Post... Excerpts. Continued.

Good morning gentle readers, before I start this morning's discussion I need to clarify one small error that I made in yesterday's post.

Chuck Sambuchino pointed out to me that his band rocks in Cincinatti, not Jersey. My apologies to Chuck. For those of you in Cinci, go see him, I hear by midnight, they totally smoke!

On to the discussion.

After reading all the generous comments on yesterday's post concerning the con's Chuck had presented about posting work online, I decided that I would also do the same for Jane Friedman's post, which says to do just that. And here I've taken her reasons and put them forth for all to see. (Getting to their website was harder for me than breaking into Monster Baby's piggy bank.)

Anyway, Jane says that it's perfectly fine to post work online, and

Here’s why:
1.Test marketing is one of the best things you can do to improve your work and build an audience. Agent Michael Larsen even recommends it in his classic, How to Write a Book Proposal.

2.Getting feedback on your work (whether you’re specifically asking for a critique, or just hoping for reader comments) can be critical to a writer’s development. No writer should ever be discouraged from posting their work online in a critique environment, EVER.

3.No sane agent or editor would disagree with points 1 or 2, since doing these things advance the quality and marketability of your work. Hiding your work in a closet until you feel it is “ready” for a “professional” to consider it? Folly. Hasn’t anyone told you that the gatekeeper era is coming to a swift end?

4.If we’re talking about novel-length works, then sharing pieces of it, or even serializing it, over a long period is NOT going to affect its market value. (Anyone who says it does has a very antiquated view of online media, as well as where traditional publishing is headed.)

5.Offering a work online, whether in serialized format or in an alternate media (e.g., audio), can increase interest and demand for a physical, print product. This is proven out by people like Scott Sigler and Seth Harwood who serialized their work as podcasts, made them absolutely free, and secured traditional book publishing deals after developing a significant following.

People who post their work online can do so in a very smart, strategic, and targeted way that feeds into demand for a traditional book that a publisher would love to produce (or that an agent would love to sign). *****(all work taken from Friedman/ I'm sorry I can't link this, I don't know why.)

And there we are. Both sides of the fence, and I think most of us are sitting in the middle. Sure we're all paranoid, this is what we've slaved over the last year or so, maybe longer. How would we feel if it was stolen? But, for those people who do steal other's work, I like to think that Karma would have a very firm grip on the situation.

What you do to others, comes back to you, therefore if you steal someone's book, when you go to publish that book, it will fail, miserably. At least I'd like to think so.

So you decide. Post online or not?


Christine Danek said...

I think I still would just post snippits now and again. I'll only post things that will not give away the whole plot. I do believe it does help further your craft. Getting feedback is always helpful.

Christine H said...

It's a tough call. I didn't post anything out of paranoia for a long time, but then got so desperate for feedback that I went ahead and did it anyway. The feedback has been enormously helpful. I really couldn't keep writing without it.

One thing I did was put my first three chapters on a separate blog which is not publicly listed on Google. So only people to whom I provide a link can find it. You can also make it readable by invited readers only if you like.

I read somewhere that as long as you don't post more than 10% of your total work, blogging won't interfere with first publishing rights.

And, regarding the link, you have to use "" If you forget the "http://" it doesn't work. Also, many websites nowadays don't have "www" so that can mess you up, too. I've tried and failed multiple times until I figured it out.

Thank you for bringing this up. I think it's really important for all of us wannabes in the age of social networking.

Bish Denham said...

Good job Anne. Now I've got even more to think about! :O

Ryan said...

I think it would be really cool to be able to do a podcast or something like that of my novel. I would have no idea how to go about setting one of those up (lol) and reading the work out loud would help to improve the writing because your bound to change things that don't sound good. Lol. I will have to look into that.

On a technical note, however, work that you post on your blog is still protected by copyright, because it is in print format. It is a technical sense sort of thing. Its like two people writing the exact same thing, whoever can prove that they wrote it first (good reason why its a good idea to date your material) is going to win the lawsuit court case whatever. At least that's the way I understand copyright laws.

Then again, you could always swing the 25 or 30 bucks to go ahead and copyright the dang thing. Lol. You're going to have to eventually anyway.

Jen said...

I think we've proved that it really is based on one's opinion, I am still going to post small snippets, only for myself and other to enjoy. Sometimes you must live life on the edge!

Matthew Rush said...

As I said regarding the last post about this, I don't see a problem with it, as long as it's not the whole project and doesn't give away the entire plot.

You do make some very valid arguments in support here too.

Paul C said...

I marvel at how some writers are creating a careful presence online and sharing some of their work. They build interest in their perspectives and talents.

Joanne Brothwell said...

I'm a little paranoid about the issue of what constitutes "published". I thought that if it's posted online, it's "published" and then the big guys won't touch it.

Piedmont Writer said...

Christine D -- I also think it helps further your craft.

Christine H -- Thanks for the http:// I forgot all about it. And yes, I believe 10% is the correct number.

Bish -- That's what I'm here for, to make you think.

Ryan -- Yeah, copyright on a blog is a tricky thing, sort of. It's a crapshoot really.

Jen -- Yeah me too, danger is my middle name.

Matthew -- I was on the debate team in high school, I have to get both sides of the argument to be fair.

Paul -- That's what the agents say we have to do, so that's what I'm doing. Or trying to do.

Joanne -- As long as it's not the 'whole' thing, and only marginal 'snippets' or pieces of the work, it's not considered published. I think if you got paid for it, the big guys won't touch it. At least that's my understanding. Such as an e-zine or e-publisher.

laurel said...

And some agents do trawl blogs looking for projects of interest. I might or might not have experience with this.... So, if you do post work, make sure your e-mail addy is on the blog somewhere.

In response to Joanne's concern: short stories you hope to publish should not go on your blog--lit mags will consider them already published. They are looking for brand-new content only. But excerpts from a novel-length work are okay.

Piedmont Writer said...

Laurel -- Thank you so much for your input here. And you have me intrigued that "you may or may not have experience with this..." Hmmmmm.

Summer said...

I'm one of Scott Sigler's followers. I used to have a really boring job at which I was allowed to listen to my iPod, so I started downloading audio books. Found Sigler pretty soon and listened to 3 of his books, and now I'm a life-long fan, PLUS I feel extra connected to him when I see his books in the store.

So there's always that to consider. (Not podcasting, but having that special connection with people that would push them over the waffling bridge into buying territory.)

Falen said...

i guess i'm less worried about someone stealing my work and more worried about having squandered my first electronic rights away.

Angie Paxton said...

Hey, thanks for these posts. I've never given this much thought, but these posts definitely made me see that I need to.

Elana Johnson said...

At this point, with an agent and my book out to editors, I'm going with "not." Unless it's a short story or something totally unrelated to what I'm doing with my novel.

I'm not worried about someone stealing my novel. I'm not worried about rights. I just don't want my words out there for the general public to see when I've got industry professionals considering them. Does that makes sense?

Talli Roland said...

Right now, I'm just not ready to post because I'm not 100 per cent confident myself with my NS yet. I will post a teaser once I'm ready, though!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What we're selling to a publisher is first publishing rights. And as Christine wrote, if we keep our excerpts posted to under 10%, we are safe.

As for being safe from being stolen from. When are we ever safe from that? But if you keep to the under 10% ceiling, I believe you are fairly safe. Imagine trying to tell a new joke from having only heard 10% of it!

Have a great mid-week, Anne. Leave the mid-life crisis to the thieves, right? Roland

Piedmont Writer said...

Summer -- I LOVE Scott Sigler!

Sarah -- Good point.

Angie -- Just doing my job.

Elana -- I'm sure it's different for pubbed authors, or authors with agents. It makes perfect sense. I don't suppose I'll be posting when I get representation either. I'll have a web-site by then.

Talli -- Can't wait for that teaser, that's for sure. Can't wait for the book!

Roland -- I mean, we're never truly safe, but I rather err on the side of caution.

MT said...

I'm still leaning toward not, but with an open mind for the future ways of publishing. So far, I've never posted my stuff (almost did). I just don't feel right about it. Follow the gut.

Piedmont Writer said...

MT -- Follow the gut.

Dominique said...

I, personally, do not post online. I just don't know if my work is ready to be seen by persons unknown just yet.

Anonymous said...

Just like any controversial subject, it has two obvious sides and a bunch of hidden sides. I'll probably continue what I'm doing. It seems to be working for me. :o)

Palindrome said...

I don't plan on posting any excerpts until it's getting published then I will definitely be a tease.

sarahjayne smythe said...

I've posted a few snippets from the WIP, but I'm nowhere near as far as you are. I love seeing you post your snippets on Genna and Tony and would hate to have to stop seeing them.

DL Hammons said...

A snippet here and there is all I'm comfortable with. Anything more would be pushing your luck. All it takes is one rotten apple.

She Writes said...

I've been given this same advice by a trusted source. I post online things that may be published at some point.

Susan Fields said...

Thanks for presenting both sides of the argument. I'd have to agree more with Jane's viewpoint - I see more positives than negatives.

Lady Glamis said...

It's definitely a personal decision, and one I've made to only post on a private blog. However, in the future, I may post more in public places, we'll see. I've learned a lot by sharing my work with others, and I didn't need to do it online to get that feedback. I do think it's an excellent option, though, especially with how many writers are blogging right now.

Thank you for sharing both viewpoints. This was excellent. :)

Crystal Cook said...

I honestly feel like I have nothing to contribute, it's all pretty much been said. But right now I would say, like MT, I go with my gut :)

notesfromnadir said...

It's an interesting dilemma about posting or not posting online. Nothing wrong with a brief excerpt or summary. But I save all the detailed descriptions for the queries/summaries.