Sarah has kindly invited me over to this blog and has asked me to say a few words about posting your work online.
It’s very tempting for a new writer who has just started their first blog or website to want to showcase their work. I see it often – a synopsis – the first few chapters – or a complete short story posted for anyone to read.
Sometimes the person is asking for feedback. Sometimes they are trying to promote their self published book, but often these sample chapters are part of a Work in Progress – or something that is currently doing the rounds of agents’ desks.
If you have self published and are posting extracts as part of your book promotion then that is one thing. However, if it is something that you are hoping to sell then you should think twice about posting online.
Here are some of the reasons why:
1. If you post something on your blog you are effectively publishing it. In the case of a short story you will have relinquished first rights to that story. You will no longer be able to sell it to a magazine or anthology as technically it is already published.
2. You will also have made the story ineligible for most competitions.
3. There is no copyright on ideas so do you really want the entire world to share in yours?
4. If what you are posting is a WIP then it probably still needs work. Do you really want the world to see your mistakes?
5. Agents do not trawl round writers’ blogs looking for new clients. They have enough in their slushpile to keep them busy. (I’m sure someone will chime in with an exception to this but in general it is true).
6. If an agent or publisher is interested then the first thing they will do will be to visit your blog. If they see a large portion of the work you have submitted to them that could very likely be a deal breaker.
7. If you are looking for good quality critique on your work then a blog is not the best place. Join a good online writers’ community instead.
“Thank you, Kate, for your words of wisdom that I’m sure will have many novice writers rushing to their blogs to remove material they’ve unwittingly ‘published’. And, yes, I do have some of my short stories on my blog, but not ones that I intend to publish elsewhere! I also have posted some one or two sentence teasers from my work-in-progress, but that is acceptable.”
Kate Kelly is a children’s author based in the UK. Her début novel Red Rock, published by Curious Fox, is a Cli-fi thriller for the 10+ age group.
I look forward Kate returning to this blog in the near future for an interview about her novel and how she achieved publication. Meanwhile, perhaps you would like to check out her blog at http://scribblingseaserpent.blogspot.com
If you live in the UK, you can buy Red Rock as a paperback or Kindle edition here
If you live outside the UK, you can buy the book as Kindle edition (only) here
7 thoughts on “Points to Consider Before Posting Your Work Online: by Children’s Author, Kate Kelly”
Fortunately, I wasn’t tempted to post any of my fiction, other than a story I’d already won a prize with – although I suspected that this might stop it from being submitted elsewhere, it’s only recently that’s been confirmed, so I’m glad that by happy accident I haven’t fallen into this trap! I would be cautious about publishing any of my ideas in progress – although my experience of blogging has been only positive so far, you never know what could happen. Thanks for this reminder Kate and Sarah.
My main worry with novel writing is that someone else, by sheer coincidence, comes up with the same idea as mine, or one that’s too similar, and beats me to it in the submission process. They say there’s no such thing as a truly original idea, but I’m doing my best to prove them wrong.
As for the short stories I post online, they are so unclassifiably strange as to not fit any competition or submission parameters!
Thanks for stopping by, Andrea.
Kate makes some valid points here. Luckily my blog is more about the process/challenges of writing, not that I haven’t been tempted to post some stories. Will rethink that! Thanks Sarah.
As Kate says, it’s okay posting stories if you don’t intend to sell them. I thought it a good time to post something about this, as I’ve just started a guest storyteller slot on my blog and I wanted it to be clear to my contributors that their stories I post are being published, even though the copyright remains with them.
Glad that you’ve found Kate’s comments of interest, Gemma 🙂
Sound advice! thanks for sharing.
Of course, it would be a shame if it persuaded you to stop publishing your lovely stories, Naomi 🙂 But I don’t think you would.
If we only shared our creations with money in mind and nothing else, it would be a very sad world. It’s such fun sharing for people’s enjoyment, too. Your posts always have such a feelgood factor about them.