1. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    WritersCafe?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Lucy E., Jul 5, 2008.

    I'm asking this question on behalf of my cousin. She recently posted three chapters of her novel on WritersCafe and wants to know if a publisher would still accept it. She's planning to create an account on here sometime soon, but she asked me to enquire about this earlier.
    Any help is appreciated.
     
  2. Scribe Rewan
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    I believe, although this is based on vague facts and reading small bits about publishers so may be wrong, that a publisher would not be too happy about having something they intend to buy on a website already. I think the reason is that they are paying her for the rights to publish her book, so if some of it is already available, that devalues their product. Or something roughly like that.

    At the end of the day she should remove the chapters from the internet before sending it to a publisher. In the same way you can't have the same work published in two magazines at the same time (barring minor exceptions where the same publisher owns both), book publishers dont want to buy something that's already available, even partly, for free.

    I hope that is actually true, and I am sure I have read stuff along this line, but I'm very sorry if I have actually talked crap all through my post!
     
  3. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Thanks for that, I've just emailed her your answer. I'll post her response when I get it.
     
  4. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Here's her response:

    Thx for the reply, ScribeRewan.
    To give a few details, my novel is aimed at a teenage audience. I posted 3 chapters on WritersCafe.org, but they are only viewable by members of the site.
    Thx again,
    J xoxox
     
  5. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    Your welcome! I think the main issue publishers will have it not who can access it, but that it can be accessed. I'm not entirely sure on how a publisher would react, but my advice would be to take the chapters down, along with all evidence they'd ever been there, and then if you still want them there, then if your work gets published, talk with your publishers about posting it again, although they may be uneasy with the idea.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and how many thousands of members are there?

    the thing is, each publisher has its own idea and/or rules on this subject, so my own favorite rule that i taught all my own kids and teach all my thousands of mentee 'kids' should be followed, imo:
    see the whys and wherefores that are well laid out in this thread in the 'general writing' section [which would be helpful in this section, too, if the mods can dupe it here]:


    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=12124

    my best advice to anyone is to only post brief excerpts of work that you want to submit to publishers... not whole chapters... not even in supposedly safe 'locked' areas of the site... it's far better to be safe, than sorry!
     
  7. cawalabe
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    cawalabe Member

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    It's highly doubtful a publisher would have his staff scouring the internet to find any traces of an unpublished submission they're looking at. Tell your sister that, if she plans on keeping chapters of this piece posted as is, to at least call it by a different title and not to post under her real name.
     
  8. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone, I just emailed the print-screened version of this page to her so hopefully she'll be able to take note. :)
     
  9. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, if a piece has been published/posted online anywhere, even with a different title, the publisher can still find it. All the have to do is take destinctive lines from a piece, wrap it in quote tags " " and google it. It is how you check to make sure your work doesn't appear anywhere it isn't meant to. With the work not being viewable to visitors, it does help. But maybe your friend should mention to the publisher that 3 chapters have been previously posted on that site. Otherwise she could find herself in void of the contract and I am not sure what happens then, but I guarantee it wouldn't be too nice anyways.

    Best never to post work you want to publish.
     
  10. Scribe Rewan
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    Definitley do not do this! If publishers do come across it, under a different title and with a different authors name, that's going to stop everything straight away, as they will be worried that she's plagarized. Doing this would seriously jeopardise her chances of publication.

    Torana's advice about telling the publishers that three chapters are online is very wise.
     
  11. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Thanks guys. She emailed me back.

    Heya Luc,
    Thx 4 asking, I have one more question. If I deleted the work, would it still be possible 4 a publisher to find it?
    Thx v. much,
    J x
     
  12. cawalabe
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    cawalabe Member

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    First, like I said, no publisher with a working brain is going to waste time on the idiotnet looking for posted scraps of a MS they're taking on. Secondly, if for the first time in history some publisher actually looked (and found) a MS they were planning to publish, the first thing they'd do would be to contact the author and ask them if this was their posting. You simply say, "Yes, I was looking for feedback on it." As long as it's only a chapter or two no one would be foolish enough to care. Never tell a publisher that you placed any of your work online. It makes you look amateurish. It's like saying you take your dates out on hikes. Third, as long as the MS is under a different title and a ficticious name, the chances of them bumbing into by chance are worse than getting eaten by a whale.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, if it had been acquired/cached by a google crawl [or whatever the technical terms are]...

    it would be foolish in the extreme, to bet your work's future on that wrongful [imo] assumption... with google making it so quick 'n easy now, i can definitely see some enterprising publisher's acquisitions editors spending a few seconds to check out submitted stuff, since it's no secret that new writers post their stuff on public-accessible sites...
     
  14. Scribe Rewan
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    And all universities have plagarisim software in place that search for a work online to see whether they get any matches... are publishers going to be less careful?

    They will search for the content of the peice, not the title or author, as it is highly probable that there are many peices with the same title on the internet. If they find the same content under a different name/ title, they will suspect plagarism.

    Also, they want to make sure they are not about to pay to publish somethign that someone else has already bought the rights too and is already in print- I suspect this has happened more than once.
     
  15. NaCl
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    For kicks, I just did a Google search on my pseudonym of "NaCl". Nothing...only chemistry related hits. Then, I expanded the search with a couple of key words from one of my posts on this forum. WOW! Hit! Complete with the link directly to the post.

    That should be sufficient warning for anyone to heed mammamaia's suggestion to limit internet posts to small excerpts only.

    .....NaCl
     
  16. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Thanks very much, guys. Jo says thanks, too!
     
  17. cawalabe
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    Get a grip people. Sounds like some of you probably think space aliens are secretly ruling the Earth, that 9/11 was an inside job, or that we didn't really go to the moon.

    No publisher is going to search for your work online. No way--no how. Name one book that was ever posted on the idiotnet and then stolen and passed off to a publisher as original. It's a ludicrous thought. First of all, if it was posted online in its entirety that's a pretty good indication that no publisher wanted anything to do with it in the first place, and it stinks. Publishers are more concerned that you might steal from a novel (an actual book) published in bygone days that most people haven't read. That kind of plagerism happens, but rarely. Hardly ever actually. Publishers aren't complete fools. They know damn well there's nothing online worth publishing, and they're not stupid enough to look. Kids stealing non-fiction from online political and science blogs/websites to use in school papers is something else altogether. BTW, did you know that the government keeps pretty good stats on internet use? According to them, only around 5% of all people with an internet connection will have anything whatsoever to do with forums and chats. The last thing on Earth a publisher is concerned with is your internet postings.
     
  18. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    you make a good point, but how do you know?
     
  19. cawalabe
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    Common sense mostly. I'm not going to say that I know dozens of publishers, but I know a couple, and a few more good editors (one of my best friends used to edit two major literary magazines in Germany and is currently doing translations of about 600 pages of Martin Luther's notations for Bethany House), and they would laugh at such a scenario. Ask yourself this: If you were someone looking for material to steal, would you be looking at online forums or Gutenberg? The latter no doubt would yeild something worth stealing anyhow. That's what any halfway intelligent publisher would be thinking too.

    Actually, the kind of plagiarism that happens most often is the unintentional kind, and that happens a lot more with music than literature, as George Harrison well knew.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    calawabe - I hate to burst your bubble, but it does happen. We had a situation about 8 months ago that I won't go into further except to say that it did involve one person trying to claim another person's work as her own, including threats of legal action.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and what i'm referring to is not just plagiarism issues, but mainly with 'first rights' having been compromised by the writer having posted the work on the net...

    you're being very rude, by the way... there's no need to be so disparaging of fellow posters, none of whom have been that impolite or disrespectful to you...
     
  22. cawalabe
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    I've noticed you like to play that rudeness card a lot lady. Everyone who disagrees with you is rude to you.

    Can you show me a case of a reputable publisher EVER having turned down someone's work because a chapter or two was published in an internet forum? If this is such a threat to writers everywhere then surely you must have a ton of casebook examples. Can you point me to a single newspaper article about it? Not an internet blog, internet magazine, or word of mouth story, but an actual hard copy newspaper or magazine. This must have been big news that made all the papers. Who knows, maybe you'll actually find that one needle in a haystack, but if only 5% of all people with an internet connection will go to forums and chats, then obviously there's not enough people viewing anything posted in any of them to be a threat to any publisher anywhere, and no publisher in his right mind would say otherwise. If they did, then they wouldn't have enough on the ball for me to consider for a publisher, and I'd keep looking.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    These are both disrespectftul responses, abd will not be tolerated on this site.

    Please keep your responses less confrontational in the future.
     
  24. TWErvin2
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    This is from an imbedded link in this thread, but I figured I'd repost it here as it seems relevant to the direction of the discussion.

    This topic cropped up previously in this thread: http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=7602

    So, to some publishers it does matter if something was posted online. Others not so much, if at all. The Sword Review did require someone to submit a piece as a reprint for publication as it had been posted originally on a blog. It can be seen in more detail in the thread (link) above.

    Some of it may have to do with the market and the market's target readers. The Sword Review (now merged with another ezine into MindFlights) certainly isn't in the same league as Jim Baen's Universe, with respect to pay to its writers (1/2 cent per word vs. 6 to 25 cents per word), and sales/profits, and even arguably status--SFWA Membership requirements, for example.

    I guess another view to consider would be ethical. When you are selling a piece to a market, who is paying for first electronic rights (or any first rights), if those rights have been used...even if it may not be traceable--such as the author going back and deleting/covering tracks, or it is not something that a major publisher would do (google search a key title or phrase to a piece to see if it shows up)--doesn't make it the right thing to do. Is it ethical to sign the contract, taking the pay, knowing you're already in violation of the terms of the agreement?

    In the end, I don't believe a publisher is going to drop consideration of a good novel if a chapter or two of that novel, or parts here and there, have been posted online for review/feedback. If someone had posted it completely online (ie serial in a blog), it would be another issue. Although that has proven successful at least once, I believe, with the John Scalzi novel, Old Man's War, sold to Tor. But that's another topic.

    As an aside, I do know for a fact that editors and slush readers do occasionally google the names of authors whose work they are giving serious consideration to. I've never had one tell me that they cruise forums looking for talent.

    Whatever the case, I personally would recommend being prudent with posting work online which you intend to submit for publication (or may want to some day).

    What a writer considers prudent, is part of what the discussion centers on. I don't post anything to an open forum I plan to submit, nor do I post post such works to one that requires only a password to gain access. I do belong to an online crit group, whose access is limited to a closed group of members and the administrator of the forum. I know it's a conservative view, but it's what I am comfortable with. Some folks would not even be comfortable with that.

    Terry
     
  25. cawalabe
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    I agree about magazine articles in their entirety. Obviously having them available, especially in a well-known website as opposed to a forum, would make a magazine publisher think twice if he thinks people can just download it for free.

    But, we're talking about posting a chapter or two at most from a novel in a forum, and it's very hard to believe that any reputable publisher would care about that.
     

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