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  1. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    Let's Kill A False Rumor Now

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Carly Berg, Dec 18, 2016.

    Sometimes strange, false rumors take hold on writing forums and become repeated ad nauseum and hurt writers.

    On this writing forum, lately there seems to be a stubborn FALSE rumor that posting work here on the workshop (it IS behind a password) for critique is considered "published" and burns your first rights so therefore can ruin your chances with publishers.

    As one who has had stories and articles published at over 100 places, and hung out on numerous writer forums and been around the writing scene for years, I will tell you this is NOT TRUE.

    Let's just kill this false rumor and NOT keep leading writers to fear getting workshop help by not posting stories at all or only posting partial or disguised stories because they fear ruining their chances. That's quite a damaging rumor. People not getting help with their writing because of a false rumor. Wow. New writers are coming here for help in improving their writing getting published, and instead, hearing that?!

    My challenge: If anyone is going to keep repeating this, please state:

    (1) YOUR actual publication credits or other experience in connection to that statement (not "what you heard somewhere" or "what you think makes sense" but something more substantial than basically just repeating the rumor) and/or

    (2) LINKS to any actual publications that consider posting work in a workshop, behind a password, for critique, to be "published" work... (And of course let's use common sense and not believe, for example, that even if one of a zillion little newbie-owned e-zine pubs can be found that says so, that means it is so).

    And... when people innocently repeat the rumor on here all the time, believing that they are looking out for others, please nicely tell them that is incorrect?

    Damn. :(
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I don't think I feel quite as emphatically as @Carly Berg does, but I agree that this shouldn't be an issue. (Credentials: more than 20 novels published with a range of publishers including a couple with Big Five). I don't post for critique much, but when I do I have no concerns about having a rough version of one chapter of my novel available somewhere on the 'net.

    I don't have many short stories published, so I can't speak to that. But for novels at least, I've never had a problem with having portions posted for critique, and never heard of anyone who has had a problem.
     
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  3. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Honestly, I've neglected to post short stories in the workshop because of this rumor. I don't know whether or not it's true, but I would absolutely like to have some work critiqued.

    So, I think it's fair to say that posting a portion of a novel is safe. But what about short stories specifically? Maybe it's not a completed draft, but what if it's close and not much changes before submission, does anyone believe this damages chances to be accepted?
     
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  4. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    No, not one iota. To get the most out of workshopping, you should absolutely feel free to post your very best effort of your story, which includes the full version of it. :)
     
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  5. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    That's always been my biggest hang-up. I wouldn't want to post something I know is not my very best work, but sometimes I'm too close to a project and don't know how to improve, or if it's ready. And, because of a lot of the talk on here, I've feared giving up first rights if I don't wind up changing the story drastically.
     
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  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I'm not tech-savvy enough to know for sure, but I assume that the main purpose of the password protection is to keep search engines from finding the stories? In which case I can't imagine how a potential publisher would ever know the work had been posted here... or how anyone outside the forum would know the work had been posted... in which case I can't imagine it counting as published.

    But I don't have much experience with short story publishers.
     
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  7. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    Right, when it's behind a password, it does not come up on search engines. Also, publishers and agents recognize the purpose of writing workshops and that it is not nearly the same thing as publication.

    Now if you posted it on your blog, for example, and it was not behind a password (freely available to the general public) that is considered "published" even if you only have a very small audience. That's something you'd have to explain and they'd have to consider if they wanted make an exception for it.

    Also, when online writing workshops were a new thing, nobody really had any way to know which way it would all go so many writing forums opened up workshop sections that were not behind passwords. These days, that would be very unusual and would only occur on the smallest, newest forum where the owner didn't know any better.

    Here, the general forum is not behind a password but the workshop section is, so it's just fine. If anyone is in doubt, log out, then go to the site. You'll only be able to see the general forum entrees, not the workshop entrees. :)

    ETA: I've been on several forums where people post entire novels for critique, one chapter at a time, behind the workshop password. There too, same thing, no problems with publishers or agents. Again, an agent or publisher most certainly gets the difference between putting your work out in public (self-publishing it) and workshopping it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
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  8. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    I fully agree that posting in the workshop will not hurt your chances at getting published. It is a new world.

    The tech you are discussing is a bit wrong, most likely (haven't bothered to delve behind this site).
    I was actually thinking about this the other night, from a publisher's standpoint. Interesting to see all the stances on this.
     
  9. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    If I'm entirely honest, this "rumor" has been so long ingrained in my head, that I will never post anything that I hope to one day publish, even though I would love to have a chapter of my WIP be critiqued.
     
  10. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think I've only ever posted one thing for critique on here--the opening chapter of a romance novel I was working on a while ago--and I've just been told that novel is accepted for publication with a reputable mid-sized publisher, so... I don't think posting here got in the way at all.

    Again, I only know about novels. But for them, at least, I really don't think there's reason for concern.
     
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  11. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    Surely it must depend on just how much of your novel you post, similarity of the posts in comparison to the final product, and publisher discretion.

    If it *were* an issue, couldn't you comply with the publisher by finding the posts in question and editing them, removing the content of the story?

    Also, in any of the aforementioned cases, did your publisher / editor (or whoever) ever inquire if you'd previously uploaded anything related to the novel? If they never asked, and if it isn't mentioned contractually, I see no reason why it would matter.
     
  13. B93

    B93 Active Member

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    One must be quite careful about what is and what is not behind a login. You can log out or use a private window in your browser, and google will find discussion threads of this forum. It's not all protected.
     
  14. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    ....dun dun dun...
     
  15. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    I can only post what I know. If people keep perpetuating ignorant, unfounded untruths, I can't help you. It is a shame on a writing forum, of all places though and it does bring the whole level of the forum down.
     
  16. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Great posting @Carly Berg :superidea:

    I operate that it is easier to epub, considering I am 99.9% sure no real publisher would look at what I have.
    Rather to flush it down the tubes with all the slush pile.

    So I want to start a fun rumor that has absolutely nothing to do with writing.
    Trump is going to make 'Taco Tuesday' law of the land. Whoo Tacos! :supergrin:
     
  17. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I've posted this before but this is a perfect place for a repost.

    I posted my first novel on LJ in its entirety. My friend Cordelia Kingsbridge did the same with her novel. As did C.S. Pacat. And we all got published traditionally in the end. Our original versions have been removed, but hopefully the links below will be enough for folks to believe that they really did exist in a free and open format at one time. And it didn't scare off our publishers at all.

    Me:
    LJ: http://laurinkelly.livejournal.com/
    Published Novel: https://lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=90&products_id=1127&zenid=ljj8fmv70a04sbr4s15tta3bl2

    Cordelia Kingbridge:
    LJ: http://ckingsbridge.livejournal.com/
    Published Novel: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/cant-hide-from-me

    C.S. Pacat:
    LJ: http://freece.livejournal.com/
    Published Novel(s): http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/series/149/the-captive-prince-trilogy
     
  18. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    Just to clarify... Laurin, while it's sometimes possible to post something publicly on a blog and later have it considered for publication anyway, that's up to the publisher and many of them will not accept that because that is considered "published." So, I would not suggest anyone post their story or novel online themselves if they want to be considered for trade publication, regardless of how it happened to work out for you.

    In any case, that is a different issue from posting behind a password for the purposes of critique, which is not considered "published" in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
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  19. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I used it as a selling point for my first submission. "My novel gained a small but loyal following on LiveJournal so I think that's an indication that people might want to buy it." Worked like a charm.
     
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  20. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    I don't think that's typical and I would not recommend it, regardless of the fact that it worked out okay for you.

    Writers, if you want to be trade published, please do NOT publish that piece yourself first. You will likely put yourself out of consideration with many publishers and agents if you do.
     
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  21. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Well, you did have to be a member of LJ to see my story (which would require a password), though I can't speak personally for Cordelia or C.S. Pacat. On LJ you can control if only LJ member can see your story or not. And I got a lot of critique on LJ, which contributed a lot to the second draft that was ultimately submitted to my publisher.

    I can really only go off of my own experience and those of my fellow authors who have successfully published after posting in other mediums online. I've yet to have someone give me a specific rejection letter that states "We would love to publish your book but we can't because it was published online first."
     
  22. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    The industry standard IS that your work would usually not be considered by agents or publishers if it was published online first.
     
  23. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    The industry standard IS that your work would usually not be considered by agents or publishers if it was "published" online first. If it was posted behind a password for the purposes of getting critiques on it, that is NOT considered "published" and would not be a problem.
     
  24. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I get that anecdote does not equal data. But I can only speak to my own experience and those of the authors I've linked to above, who have found plenty of success and sold not a few books.
     
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  25. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    I think you are mixing up or not differentiating between "self-published" and "posted behind a password for the purposes of critique." They are not at all the same thing.
     
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