Yesterday I posted a poll asking my loyal readers (and newbies to JJE) whether or not I should post the first chapter of my novel here in order to invite constructive criticism. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of posting 92.31%, and only 7.69% opposed.
HOWEVER! Several commenters brought the issue of piracy to my attention.
Wait, can I call it piracy if the content isn’t copywrite protected? You know what? I am. Because pirates take stuff that isn’t theirs and that definition works for me right now.
Anyway, so my fellow writers were concerned for my well-being, the darlings that they are, and suggesting I find a safer venue to post my work for critique. Liz Hellebuyck suggested I check out Absolute Write, which I plan on doing over the weekend. Does anyone else have any safer suggestions for me? If you do, please let me know in that trusty ol’ comments section. But please don’t mention Yahoo Answers. I read a blog this morning about the work that is usually posted to Yahoo Answers and it totally bummed me out (If the author of that blog post is reading this, I’m sorry but I forget which blog I was reading because I was too busy sobbing- jk. But if you identify yourself in the comments section, I’ll be sure to give you credit for my mental anguish, haha).
Also, another blogger-buddy, Vikki, told me to be cautious about posting work here because in the UK posting your writing on your blog counts as “publishing” it, therefore you are unable to actually publish it later, or enter said work into writing competitions. She wasn’t sure if the same stipulations applied in the US of A, so thats something else for me to look into over the weekend. Again, any information in that department would be appreciated in that blank box called the comments section.
So, now I have a weekEND To Do List to add to my weekLY To Do List. I have a feeling my current list is going to bleed into next week’s list…Oh well. In between, I’ll be marking up my first chapter with a little red pen that I think is cute now, but will eventually turn into an ink-spewing devil. Wish me luck and enjoy your weekend!
(And don’t neglect the comments section!)
with all that being read… I say don’t post it!!! We can all wait just like we’d have to with any other book. (Even though you’re CLEARLY not just any author!) I was one that voted yes but like I said before, I’m ignorant to anything writing related. So… I say don’t take the chance. You not posting your first chapter is not going to deter your “true” followers and fans from continuing to follow while anxiously awaiting the arrival of the finished product. And until then… I know I can’t speak for everyone but I, being the devoted follower that I am, am perfectly happy with the little snippets I do get. So again I say… DON’T POST!
You’re so cute! You’re definitely getting one of the first copies when its done, haha
I’ll take it!!!
Good luck with your investigations hon 🙂
It might be worth emailing or telephoning a publisher and just asking the question. I know some agents will take on authors here who have self published or used their blog to show their work, but, usually they will want fresh work that hasnt been seen. It’s a minefield 😦
I know of some contests that considered a story already published if you post it on the Internet. Technically, I think anything you write is already understood to be copyrighted by the author, even if he or she hasn’t applied for a formal copyright. Which reminds me, I really need to post that copyright notice on my blog!
But I have considered writing an entire novel by blog – getting feedback on each chapter and then writing the next chapter based on that. It could be fun.
If what you really want is feedback on your story, you might want to think about joining an online critique group. I’ve belonged to a couple of them over the years. The members post chapters in a closed Yahoo or other members-only group and then critique each others’ work. A lot of loops like that have rules about “no lurkers,” the idea being that if someone is just lurking and not actually posting chapters, he might be trying to steal other people’s stuff. It’s not perfect, but the ones I’ve belonged to seemed to work pretty well. Good luck!
And another thing – there’s also a service called Creative Commons that offers different types of licenses for you to post on your blog or website. The licenses are supposed to specify exactly what stuff you’re willing to let people copy from your blog. You could post one of those notices on your site, but I’d still be careful about posting parts of your book if you hope to sell it to a publisher eventually. http://creativecommons.org/
Thank you again!
Thanks very much Lynn! Any tips on how to find/get into a writing group? None of my friends are writers. : (
Thanks Vikki. Do you think I already screwed myself over by posting the exceprts here and there?
Oooo, errrr, I feel awful putting a downer on it for you hon 😦
I think (and this is only my personal opinion), that tiny little snippets would be ok, but whole chapters is probably a bad idea, if it’s a piece of work that you would like to submit to an agent or publisher.
How much of it have you already posted?
I have a friend who’s just released her second book (she has an agent and a publisher, obviously). Next time I see her (within the next couple of weeks) I’m going to ask some questions….I’ll do a blog post on what I discover 🙂
In answer to whether you’ve screwed yourself *shrugs* I really don’t know….I think it probably depends on how much of it you’ve posted lol 😉
Will see what I can find out my end 🙂
I’ve only posted like a paragraph, not even, from each chapter, and a few synapsis of chapters. No whole chapters, nothing serious. And they were first drafts, so bound to be changed drastically anyway.
Thank you so much for all of your help. xoxo
I think Vikki has the right idea – posting a couple of paragraphs here and there as a teaser is fine. I know other writers who do that, just to give a feel for what they’re writing. I’d be nervous about putting up whole chapters too, but I’m pretty paranoid in general.
Depending on what you write, you might be able to find a critique group that meets at your local library, or there might be a local writers’ alliance that sponsors a group. Some of them can be a good resource, but some can be pretty snarky – especially if you don’t write literary fiction. So it might take a few tries to find a group that’s a good fit.
If you write anything that has an element of romance in it, even paranormal or science fiction, Romance Writers of America has lots of chapters both face-to-face and online, and many of them sponsor critique groups. Sisters in Crime is a group for women mystery writers and they sometimes have critique groups too.
I think Writer’s Digest also has a “Community” page where writers with similar interests can find each other and maybe form their own crit group.
Thanks! I don’t right literary fiction or romance. Hmmm. And I definitely don’t want to meet with snarkiness. I have a bit of a temper – Jk. But I will look into Writer’s Digest. I get their emails. Thanks again!
I don’t think you’ve screwed yourself by posting excerpts, and if you have, we’re in the same boat baby! I spent the weekend researching self-publishing on Kindle because two friends of mine have been trying to convince me that being able to show potential publishers that you’ve ALREADY sold 14 e-books on Amazon is another point in your favor. I think you’re right that publishing your stuff here or on Kindle would take you out of the running for entering that piece of work in contests, but any contest I’ve entered has been an original piece of work i’ve written according to their guidelines and theme.
Yeah, as of right now, I was planning on self-publishing first and then being like, “Look publishers, don’t you want some of this hot stuff?” Ok, that sounded sexual, but you know what I mean. I wonder about the contest thing though because a lot of times I read descriptions of books and it says the book won so and so contest or was a finalist or whatever. Or course, it could have been submitted before it became an ebook?
I actually used Fastpencil.com. It’s a free site where you can upload chapters or any kind of writing and request people to give feedback or even edits 🙂
Thanks! Thats another one for me to look into!
Authonomy.com is also good for feedback, if your at all curious. It was created by the editors at Harper Collins so there’s little worry for piracy, plus if it goes well the Harper Collins editors will look at your book. I believe you have to post a minimum of 10k words to have people read and comment on your stuff though.
Oh ok, great! Thanks for the suggestion, I will definitely look into it!