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