Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Post or to Not post -- Which way do you lean?

I've been going back and forth with this issue for some time now and I've been wondering whether it is a good idea to post my work online or not. I've seen this topic pop up on several blogs I've read lately, and to tell you the truth, I am even more confused now than ever. It does seem that there are more views leaning toward not posting than there are in favor of posting.
On the positive side; I've read on one blog in particular; Stop Being Afraid of Posting Your Work Online

The author suggests that you shouldn't be afraid of posting your work online.I believe this includes websites. She claims that test marketing helps improve your work and aids in building an audience while getting feedback is critical to a writer's development.

I agree. I would also go on to say it is so important to developing technique, voice, etc. Also, getting the assurance that your MS or short piece has any appeal. And what better way to do that, than to post it on your website or blog? Maybe.

On the negative side, I've read--let me just lay it out here--writers steal. Really?

Check out these two blogs:
Be Slightly Afraid of Posting Your Work Online

Posting Your Pose Online--Don't

It's always been in the back of my mind, but hey, then I think, who in their right mind would want to steal my writing? (Okay, so it sounds like I have a self-esteem problem, I don't, just saying). Anyway, not all, in fact, I would hope most writers don't steal, but I'm sure there are those shady characters out there that have a nasty habit of taking your very creative idea and tweaking it just enough to call it their own. They're just lurking around writing groups and checking websites for that phenomenal story that might just have that golden ticket. And how do we know if this happens? I would think, we don't. I'm sure you can't possibly look at every book title out there and find one that you think might have been your idea.

If you're posting your MS on your website or blog hoping some agent will see it, well the author of one of those blogs reminds us that agents and publishers are not surfing the net looking for aspiring author's blogs and websites (yes, there are exceptions, but as a rule they don't).
I wouldn't think they'd have time to do that anyway.

Another argument is that some publishers might ask if your work has ever been published. And some will argue whether or not posting on blogs and website is a form of epublishing.

Well now I'm really confused.

I personally don't think it's a bad idea to post small amounts of my writing in critique groups, (I need all the help I can get) but I think I'll keep pieces of my MS off my blog and website, until after their published. :) But what do you think?

Another thought, I don't believe I've ever seen a sample posting by a published author (well known or not) of work they are in the process of creating on their website.

So by presenting these ideas, I ask; should we or shouldn't we post our unpublished, pieces or full MS on our blogs and websites? And, does posting an unpublished MS, short, or chapter on a blog or website qualify as epublishing? Hmmm...

Thanks for reading and I'd love your comments.


  1. For me, I'm fine with posting tidbits on Scribd where I can mark traditional copyright and even take it off when I want, But I reserve that for my short stories.

    For anything that really matters to me (my novel for instance) I keep it close. I have the first draft of the preface, which has since become the first part of chapter 1, of my novel on Goodreads, but that's all other than a snippit here or there (300 words or less) when it applies to a question.

    I'm a nobody, true, but someday, I hope to publish. So I'm thinking better safe than sorry.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Wendy and no, you're not a nobody. I know this for a fact.:) I said that once at my stepson's wedding during a speech in front of many people, and everyone awed. Then I felt bad that they all felt sorry for me. What I'd meant was, I wasn't a family member yet. I will never say that again. But anyway...

    I have to agree with you, better safe than sorry. I'm not real familiar with Scribd, but when you post there, what are you hoping for? I mean, why post at all, unless you have a network of readers that you know will read it? And then, why not just email it to them?

    I guess my concern here is that I read in those blogs that some publishers and agents ask whether or not your MS has ever been published and won't even consider it if it has. I guess some of them now consider epublishing published. Isn't posting on Scribd epublishing?

  3. You are right, I didn't mean to elicit "poor me"s. I merely meant to say that I am not published...yet. Working on changing that. *wink*

    I suppose it's fun to post stories and get feedback, but if I hoped to publish something for real, I wouldn't have it on Scribd. I look forward to what others think.

  4. Susan, Glad you raised the question. I have been told it's good marketing but to be careful. I would never post a lot on line. Yet, if you go to a writers' conference or a workshop. You read parts of your material for feedback. I was at a conference in Colorado and you or the moderator were only allowed to read five minutes from your work. That would only cover about two pages. So maybe that's a guide. Cheryl

  5. Cheryl, that's really interesting. Five minutes, huh. Two pages seems like a reasonable amount. Enough to show you can write, but not enough to give away any important details. Thanks for the info.

  6. Hi Susan,

    I agree with the idea of posting short excerpts on line. And once our books are published, or 'soon to be released', I think longer excerpts on line can stir up interest.
    But, for a work-in-progress, I think it best to just share with trusted friends.

  7. I agree Jeanne. Those trusted friends, though, the ones willing to read, are sometimes hard to find and many writers are stuck with what to do. But after reading those other blogs, I don't think posting unpublished work that you intend for publication, should be posted.

  8. Good post, Susan. A question I wrestle with too. I like posting my work on Scribd, as mentioned somewhere before. I don`t post on my blog, not often. I guess I do occasionally. For longer works I often see authors posting excerpts, and they seem to rotate those excerpts. Every now and then there is something different up. So I guess be careful is the only advice to give. Never post a full novel, that`s just my opinion.

  9. Hmm, this gives me much to think about. Thanks for bringing up the topic.

  10. I posted a snippet for critiquing on my blog. It was worth it, my followers guided me in the right direction. I will not post anymore, it was a one off.
    I would never put up the full novel. I gained a private email from an editor. They told me to polish up and keep working on it. I had a good premise. Now that was an ego boost to say the least. They are not in my genre, but it certainly helped this aspiring writer sitting at her desk.

    Happy Scribbling

  11. Wow, Glynis,

    That must have been a huge ego boost. If that happened to me I'd be doing the happy dance for sure. I peeked at your blog. Very nice. I'll definitely spend some time there.

    Thanks for commenting.

  12. I thought about the thieves out there when I created my blog. I post portions or all of my writing. I (c) Patrick Sean Lee at the bottom of each (on the advice of an attorney friend of mine, a wonderful writer herself). I see hits coming from the weirdest places...Moscow, Brazil. Strange. But nobody can write my story like me. And if they steal it, I'm calling my attorney friend, lol.
    Chances are probably slim anyone will (gulp. I hope). I have half my writing life in that book, and it's almost finished. Again. I'll be like Henry...or is it Paul. Finish the damned thing at light speed.
    Then comes the agent thing. Drat.


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