1. vyleside
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    vyleside New Member

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    Does posting work here harm our chances of being published?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by vyleside, Jul 13, 2009.

    I like to write short stories, and I like to post them here or on my blog, so others can read and review them.

    The problem is that if I was proud of a story and wanted to then get it published, would the fact it's available, or has been available online harm my chances?

    I'm sure publishers check, and I'd hate to miss out on a great opportunity because an earlier form of the tale is available for free.

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  2. Torana
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    Torana New Member Contributor

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    Yes, it would affect your chances of being picked up by a publisher.

    If you post your work anywhere online for free, it is classed as being self published. Places will only accept it as being a reprint after that. If you ever want to get a piece published, keep it locked away in your computer or what ever and don't post it online.

    You can get away with posting an excerpt of the piece, but if you post more than a chapter of the piece, you may as well not bother trying to publish it.

    A lot of people think "But visitors can't see the posts!" No they can't, but they can see the title, they can join the forum, and they can then read the story. Why would a publisher pay you for the rights of your story when it is available for free?

    The only time they will publish a piece that has been or is available online for free is if the piece is of an exceptional standard and it is very, very rare.

    Anyways, hope this answers your question.

    Sherie
    Supporter/Reviewer
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  3. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong but what you sell (when you sell a piece) is the first publishing rights. There are magazines and such that buy reprints but this is very different affair. If you think you might want to sell a story, either only post snippets or don't post it as posting it here counts as the work being published. As a side note, more and more of the writing contracts I have signed have asked me to certify that the work isn't available on a web site.
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Also, deleting a story won't "un-publish" it, as search engines like google archive web pages, and so they may still be accessible.
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  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is important. Anyone can get an account, without providing any credentials other than an active email account. There are many accounts that have never posted to the site, yet visit on a regular basis. Any of these accounts could make archive copies of writing, even if the writing is deleted later. They may even illegally share what they pick up.

    A publisher doesn't care whether writing that has been publically distributed has been legally or illegally distributed - if it has been distributed, they will consider it published, and they will want no part of it.

    I wouldn't recomend lying about it either. If you claim it has not been previously published, and a copy of it turns up later, the publisher will have every reason to terminate your contract, demand the return of any monies paid out, and very likely blacklist you as well.

    So son't post with the expectation of deleting it later. We do not, as a rule, delete work if members have posted responses (the story is yours, but the threads belong to all who contribute!), and even if we did, it would not alter the fact that you have publically posted your writing.
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  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    To reinforce what others have already posted, here are relevant parts of the guidelines for MindFlights, where I edit/read slush:

    From the Brief Overview:
    From the Detailed Overview:
    This website (Writing Forums) requires a password (you have to be a member to sign into the general site) but there isn't a special group--restricted access.

    Full Guidelines for reference: MindFlights Submission Guidelines

    Terry
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  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I believe that special group access means that you can identify/enumerate who has access to the writing. I would certainly look askance at a "special membership" that numbered in the thousands.
  8. vyleside
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    vyleside New Member

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    Interesting. Thanks for the responses.

    The reason I ask is mainly because I want to try and submit one of the stories I have posted here.

    Now, the thing is, the version on here is work in progress and has a lower word count than the final version.

    I guess it's still going to count as self published, though.

    Darn.
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, consider taking the lessons learned from the critiques and do a full rewrite. When asked if it was previoudly published, you can truthfully say an unpolished draft was posted previously, and provide a copy for comparison. They may decide that it was previously published, or they may decide that the newer version is different enough to be considered as an unpublished work.

    You have nothing to lose by taking that approach, considering thet you cannot undo the posting of the early versions. In the future, chances are you'll decide before posting which pieces have the potential for submission for pay, and which are best used as exercises.
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A place such as Writing Forums isn't a critique group. It is a community. What is posted here is more of a discussion board, not a defined crit group with limited access. There is no 'special access,'--just sign up and you have access to works posted for review (unless you happened to have been banned for whatever reason).

    By far the vast majority of markets (novel and short story) realize that getting feedback from crit partners and readers is both legitimate and important, but the readership should be both defined and limited. More than a few established authors have been and continue to be a part of a crit group--they have had and continue to have writing partners and readers. If you doubt this, look at the dedication and acknowledgement pages at the beginning of novels.

    This topic has been discussed a number of times on this forum. Using the search option should provide in depth discussion to consider.

    Terry
  11. ILLZ
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    ILLZ New Member

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    Making ~10 copies at the local Kinko's and passing them out to your friends and family for critique/review doesn't count as being published correct?
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That is correct.
  13. eliza490
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    eliza490 New Member

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    Posting work you want to get published is definitely not a good idea. If you really want to get your work reviewed and can't find a friend who has the time or is willing to, I suggest joining a writing club or writing group. Do google search for your area, and you'll probably find something. If you can't maybe you'll be able to start your own group. Also most members here would be willing to critique work. If get some friends here on the forum, you could pm them your story or article and have them review. You'll still get a review but it's not published for everyone to see. You can feel free to send me things to review in a private message, but I have no guarantee as to how quickly I can get back to you, though it probably wouldn't be more than a week.
    Hope that helped!
    ~Eliza
  14. starseed
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    starseed New Member

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    Just don't post the finished product. If it's something you are getting critiqued on anyway, most likely it will be changed before you are done with it anyway (if you are anything like me). I have only posted 2 pieces from my novel here, they were small and not even complete chapters. But they were insanely changed anyway to something else entirely so it doesn't matter.
  15. S-wo
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    S-wo Member

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    I'm not sure about that I just copy and pasted my whole chapter from my book that I posted on my website and I just got 0 results from it.
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Google can't index our Review Room section. However, I have removed several accounts created for russian archive bots, and I'm sure there are plenty of similar accounts I haven't found.

    You cannot unpublish something, once posted.
  17. S-wo
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    S-wo Member

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    why'd you remove my link?
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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  19. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger New Member

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    I feel like I am asking a question that's already been asked, but since I'm not sure I'll ask anyway :D

    I wrote a short story that was roughly a page and a half over a year ago and put it on my website. I recently decided to do a sequel and it turned out to be six pages in length. I have literally just decided today to combine the two stories today and seek a publisher. The plot of the original story is intact but I have changed around a lot of words and the original was such a small excerpt from the completed story.

    Any chance this could be considered partially published? I take it that I should take the original story off my website lol
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Taking it off the website doesn't change matters. Once published, forever published.

    It all depends on to what degree the posted story resembles the final product. It doesn't sound like it's really the same story, if the posted story was a standalone that now comprises less than a quarter of the completed piece. However, if the editor asks about prior publication, I would be honest about it, and say that the work you are submitting is derived but distinct from the posted earlier piece.

    Anything you do to diminish the inclusion of the posted work is to your advantage, though. Incorporate elements of the story rather than actual sentences and paragraphs, for example. Chances are, if you wrote the original piece over a year ago, you could do a much better job of it today starting from scratch.
  21. ShadowKyogre
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    ShadowKyogre New Member

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    Wait, what if a piece is already published (I'm not saying mine's is) and then after it's been out for a while, you make the ebook yourself and put it up for free?
  22. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on the terms of the contract you signed with the publisher whether you'd be permitted to release the novel as a free e-book.

    Terry
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You could end up with a problem with your publisher, depending on the publishing contract.
  24. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    To help clarify my earlier statement about contracts and free ebooks created by the author:

    The first two quotes are from an early electronic verson of the negotiated the contract for my upcoming novel (Flank Hawk) with Gryphonwood Press:

    This is a section of a contract for one of my published short stories:
    No competing Publication.
    ('appearance' is explained later in the contract as three months when the story is then 'archived')

    So, in those cases I am/was barred by signing the contract from producing my own free e-book/electronic version of the novel/short story for distribution.

    What do I get from signing the contract with the publisher? Payment. It is something each author has to decide upon what rights to his work the author will grant to the publisher and for how long, and what the author will agree to in compensation for those rights to the publisher.

    In the first quote, I could in theory produce a free e-book version of my novel in Spanish or French, for example. But it also means that I can seek a publisher, say in Europe, to publish the same novel in a language other than English, even while it is still under contract/being published and sold through Gryphonwood Press.

    Hope this helped clarify things.

    Terry
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks, Terry. Excellent examples.
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