1. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Does my blog help or hamper?

    Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by mbinks89, Feb 20, 2013.

    I have a blog where I post my short stories. It's fairly up to date, although it is lacking some work that is unpolished and my novella (as it is too long and I want to tinker around with it a bit more). Would my stories being up there jeopardize their publish-ability? I would take them down if at one point one of the stories did get accepted by an editor, but right now I'm just trying to get my name out a bit. Will the blog help my future writing career, or hamper it? Thanks for any input.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The stories you've already posted are considered published. It doesn't matter if you later decide to take them down. You've used up first publication rights. Some magazines do publish previously published material, however, so check each magazine's guidelines.

    If a lot of people follow your blog, it might be easier to publish something in the future because it tells the editor/publisher that you have an established audience (potential customers).
     
  3. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    So, assuming I am bound by my scruples, I now cannot send any of those stories to a magazine/literary journal/what have you if they do not accept "previously published work," as they often stipulate in the submissions guidelines?
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's true. There's a big thread on this forum somewhere that talks about this very issue. Hunt it down and read it - you'll probably find all your questions discussed there.

    EDIT: Here's the link to that thread.
     
  5. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    Yes, and they do check. You might get away with it at first, but it will come back to bite you in the ass eventually. Even if you don't get sued for misrepresenting your work, publishers talk to each other.
    However, as thirdwind pointed out, it never hurts to build a fan base. Send unpublished stuff out and post what doesn't sell. Unless stuff comes back with notes on what needs to be done before they'll take it, there's no point in hanging onto it.
     
  6. davidheath23
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    davidheath23 Member

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    I would keep your blog as a separate affair. What everyone here says is true. It's a fairly simple affair for a potential publisher to take a few lines from your story, throw it into google, and see if something pops up. They do this to not only check whether it's been previously published, but also whether it is plagarised or not. This is not their only method of checking whether the story is available or not, as well, so keep that in mind.

    Instead, treat your blog as an entirely separate entity. Write things specifically for it and try to build your audience. Then, when you do get something accepted for publication, use the blog as a vehicle to promote the book or anthology that you're accepted for. At most, post a small portion of it as a "teaser" for your readers, but definetly don't post the whole thing.

    Hope that helps!
     
  7. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Okay, thanks for all the responses. This gives me some things to mull over. Do any of you with blogs write in a different manner than when writing with short stories? I've been posting my short stories there, but most other blog posts I see are often small paragraphs, flashy, lots of images, rant-based. Now I'm wondering if I should dismantle my blog . . . And Minstrel, thanks for the link.
     
  8. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Turns out dismantling it might not even get rid of the Google searches. Well, guess it's a good thing I'm still early on my writing career. :/
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you're right, deleting something already put out on the web will not erase it from the google archives... so it can all be found by anyone googling your name...
     
  10. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Do you think publishers would understand if I took down the stories and then, when I submitted them, attached a note saying that they were on my blog but have been taken down so no one can view them anymore? Or would they not care?
     
  11. davidheath23
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    davidheath23 Member

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    It can't hurt if you're really dead-set on getting those particular stories published. As many have noted, some publishers accept previously published stories. In your query or pitch letter, it'd be nice to add in what you said. Then they can make their own decision about whether it's worth buying or not. Plus, as long as you keep the e-mail, you should be legally covered if they ever try to come back and say that you misrepresented the publish status of your work.
     
  12. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    What the publishers are buying is "first rights," meaning that the story hasn't been published before. Let's say you first sold your short stories to a magazine that has been out of print for years. If you want to sell it again, you have to sell "second rights." Sending a second rights story to a first rights only publisher gets your name on their list of "writer's who annoy me." It's not a good list to be on.
    But there are second rights publishers. They don't pay nearly as well, but if you don't want to rewrite the story, it's you're only shot at a second go.
    I hope this helps.
     
  13. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    It does help, thanks. I'll just cut my losses, and henceforth will be very selective about what I post on my blog.
     
  14. Jon M
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    Jon M Member

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    It is true any story posted to your blog is considered published, but if it's a small blog, obscure, with little to no traffic, then it's probably not going to be a big deal to sub the story around. I've seen some online places even mention this in their submissions guidelines, but I've been shopping a few of my own stories around to different magazines for a while and can't remember which ones specifically.

    Anyway, I personally wouldn't sweat it. But, again, it depends on how visible your blog is.
     
  15. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I only publish stories on my website that I have no intention of offering to a publisher.
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wrote two blogs in the past, one with short stories and another where I wrote a novella, publishing between 500 and 2000 words per post. I actually got offered a publishing deal, one was to include my stories into a book of short stories (this had a specific theme) and the other, novella, I was offered to have it published by a trad publisher. First one was because someone on the blog knew an indie publisher who was actively looking for quality stories for anthology, and the second was because a journalist from a blog noticed it and then got the publisher, but the journo wanted to edit my book so it was going to be his big entry into a new line of work.
    Both happened because I had a huge following on both blogs. Still, I wouldn't be able to just approach a publisher with my blog material, they'll find you if they are interested. What you can do is put your blog stories in an e-book format and publish it on Amazon, or offer it as a pdf for download, that's your best bet to earn money off it. Otherwise, the blog should be just for practice writing. Anything you are writing with a primary goal of trad publishing, you must keep away from the net.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that would not be truthful, since as i pointed out above, anyone googling your name or a title of one of your pieces would pull up the google-archived page...

    and of course publishers know this, so you'd be seen as a fool, or worse, for making such a claim...
     
  18. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    This is a good question, and not for the reason you might think. I would ask you to consider the age demographic of your (individual) targeted audience. Let me explain.

    Let's suppose something important is hanging in the balance. You first contact a peer. You are seeking help, reassurance, a job or a sale. My guess is that this peer will find the blog worthwhile information and additional insight. They might also enjoy you "girls gone wild" vacation pictures.

    Your identical request plus blog info is then sent to me. I'd delete the thing unread along with twelve other entries offering me better mortgage rates, Asian mail-order brides and cheap Viagra.

    The reason? If you cannot formulate a cogent and concise letter without venting your spleen and including high school graduation pictures I cannot think of a reason to talk to you.

    Consider this. Remember, I talk to a lot of "old people." They are my peers.
     
  19. iWant iStrive
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    iWant iStrive Member

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    If you want to stop your work appearing in search engines you can embed it into the webpage as a picture or Word document. You can even attach it as a text file.

    But remember, it's dishonest and could come back to haunt you.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Where in the world did you hear that???
     
  21. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Wrong ... there are plenty of word documents, PDF's and text files that are available via a google search (and presumably other search engines too).

    There are meta tags you can put into an HTML page to stop them from being indexed by search engines (or you can place a robots.txt in the root folder of your website with instructions on what not to search), but I believe they are not fully supported by all search engines and even blatantly and deliberately ignored in some cases.

    If you really want to prevent the text being searchable, the only likely way is to post images - a photo or screenshot of the pages.
     
  22. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    As a suggestion for the things you've already posted on your website, you could self-publish via Amazon Kindle or something similar. Put all of your short stories together in a compendium or some such as well, that way the potential customer is getting something at least slightly different.
     

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