Good Morning gentle readers, this topic has been on my mind since last Sunday when I was cruising the blogosphere. I was bouncing around reading a bunch of posts when I spotted this one by a newbie blogger. (Funny, after I commented on her blog, she took the post down. Go figure.) Anyway, I also ran across this same topic, whether or not to post excerpts of your work online, on several other blogs last week. I believe, the whole conversation was started by Chuck.
Chuck Sambuchino, from the Guide to Literary Agents blog. If you don't know who he is, go NOW to check him out. He's one of the smartest dudes I know, has fab blog posts about everything, and is a guitar player for a band in Jersey! I so wish he was an agent. I would be sooo stalking him. (Just kidding Chuck.)
Anyway, Chuck stated on his blog post from Sunday that he didn't think it was a good idea to post excerpts from your current novel on your web-site/blog and he gave a list of reasons why.
I agreed with all of them. I don't think it's a wise idea to post excerpts. He's right. Someone can steal them, or the idea for a story. He said he's seen it done. I believe him. Some secrets you have to guard. Please go read his article. It's totally spot on!
However, he posed the question -- What Are You Trying To Get Out of It?
So I will answer. The reason I post excerpts, (never the whole chapter), is not so much to get feedback/critiques, but to share what I've written with my friends. I believe that in showing some of my work, I'm dangling a little nugget for my friends, and with the way I'm doing it, a short excerpt from my WIP a little at a time, I'm creating a time line of sorts. Something like a soap opera in progress.
You know you can turn on any soap this afternoon, and even if the last time you watched it, you were in high school, you can follow along with the new events, people, old plot lines. (I mean Gawd, look at Sammy Brady. Now she's in love with EJ. Cripes I just wish they'd let that poor girl find someone who will love her back so she'll stop being such a weirdo. I digress but you know what I mean.)
This is what I'm trying to do with posting my work online. I began with Genna arriving home from being gone for 10 years. Little by little over the last few months, I've shown what has happened to Genna, her thoughts, feelings, issues with her family. I think no matter where you came into the story, it makes you say, "Gee, I wonder what will happen next." (Well, at least that's what I'd like you to say.)
I'm trying to build a sort of following for this book, so that whenever it gets published (not IF it gets published but WHEN -- I have high hopes for Genna) People will remember reading portions of it on my blog and say, "Hey, I remember that, I wonder whatever happened to Genna? I'll have to buy the book and find out." (Because as much as I love you all, I'm not posting the end. Sorry.) And when they read the book, they'll say, "Oh, this was so great, I'm going to buy a copy and send it to my sister-in-law in Dayton, and my best friend in Wisconsin."
I'm trying to create something word of mouth, that may or may not last. I'm hoping it does and doesn't backfire in my face. Sure, I'm afraid, (scared to death, totally freaking paranoid) that someone will take my baby from me and I'll find it two years from now in B&N with another author's name on it, but I think I've taken some fairly good precautions.
1) I don't post whole scenes, or chapters, just little blurby bits of dialogue with some setting thrown in so we know where we are.
2) I don't leave my post up longer than two days. I know it only takes about 10 seconds to cut and paste but, it's what I do.
3) I try and make sure there is enough time lapsed between scenes so that you can still follow along, but there's way too much stuff I haven't posted so if the plagirist wanted to write it, it couldn't be the same story.
I know Chuck is probably shaking his head and muttering, "Newbie, when are you going to learn?" But I like posting my work. I like sharing with my friends. I like knowing that I can get 17 people to my blog on Thursdays to read what I've written and comment. Besides, how would you know if I was a real writer if I didn't?
Sure I could write my blog and spew all kinds of information at you about rules of grammar and paragraph structure but that would just make me boring. And I am anything but boring. Don't cha' think?