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  1. ruskaya

    ruskaya Member

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    not a pro, yet very curious

    posting online = publishing?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by ruskaya, Apr 14, 2020.

    I am somewhat confused about whether posting a story or portions of a novel online in forums, blogs, etc., is always considered like "publishing". I read somewhere a while ago (I think somewhere reliable) that if you post online a story and then try to submit it for publishing to a magazine or to an agent/publisher, it might get rejected because considered already published, because readers might have already had access to your story losing exclusivity and profit.

    does anyone know how it works?
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    you're talking about first rights... there was a long thread about that - i'll go see if i can find it (the short version was maybe)
     
  3. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Pretty much. Check with the submission guidelines for whomever you're planning on sending it to. Most of the people I send to tend to state explicitly something like: "We do not accept works that have been previously published elsewhere, in any venue, including all forms of digital self-publishing." And from experience, that generally means blogs and the like, but again, check their submission guidelines.
     
  4. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    I have not kept up on this concern for a few years--not since I was actively submitting short fiction.

    That said, in general the point was, posting a rough draft of a chapter or two of a novel for critique is not going to be considered published. But posting it, chapter by chapter on a blog or elsewhere, would be a concern. There are also websites where people post whole stories or novels to get opinions and ratings. That would be considered published by most publishers (check their guidelines).

    Short stories are trickier, as 2 chapters of a 4o chapter novel is different than a short story being posted that may only be 3000 words long.

    You are better off working with a crit partner or two and exchange chapters or portions of stories via email or some other form where it is not posted on the internet for all to search and see. Of course, finding quality and reliable crit partners or a crit group can be a challenge.

    In the end, if you self-publish, it doesn't matter, because you are the publisher.
     
  5. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Senior Member

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    I believe it's not considered published if it's on a private forum, but anywhere else - yeah.

    I believe some publications would consider work even published behind a log in wall to be 'published.'

    I think it's basically a grey area and it would depend on each publication.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  6. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    Etymologically they do come from the same root word. To publish is to make public. So I suppose even skywriting would be a form of publishing, assuming more than a couple of people have seen it.

    Also, if you think about the etymology of the word to Post (on the internet), it originally meant to paste or staple or tape or nail a note onto a post in the town square, on telegraph or telephone posts or something similar. That's also a way of getting your message out to the public.
     
  7. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Senior Member

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    Yes, although it could be argued if you workshop it on a private forum for writers critique you are not trying to make it public but asking for feedback before making it public.

    I mean, if I invited a small group of writers over to read my story and give me feedback, would that be published? I suppose you could argue other writers are not the public.

    Anyway, it all goes down to the publication. I have read that if it's online and free for anyone to read, like on a blog or personal website, then it's considered to be published.
     
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  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    I only consider it public if the general public can see it. Workshopping like we do here, which you can't see unless you're a member, doesn't constitute what I would call publishing, even though we still use the generic term 'posting'. It's more of a select or private posting, I suppose like putting notices up on a bulletin board in a writer's club where the general public isn't allowed. Yes, same as with your second example. Sharing with a small group of associates or other writers doesn't make it public. Those are both examples of private sharing, like a small poetry reading in someone's house.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  9. Cephus

    Cephus Senior Member

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    Posting anywhere publicly accessible is publishing your work, whether it's for sale or not. Trade publishers want the right of first publication. They want NOBODY in the general public to have seen it before.
     
  10. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    Here's where I'm conflicted.

    I post a lot of short fiction on my site. Sometimes in the scale of flash fiction, sometimes long enough to be a short story. Generally they're throw away.

    But every once in awhile, I have a shower idea that can expand them into a full blown novel. So, this 200 word nucleus is technically published, but the 75k word novel could be a manuscript worthy of pitching.

    What I *don't* know is whether I've screwed myself over and kiboshed any chance of first rights for the potential agent/publisher.
     
  11. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    No, you're fine. They're talking about the actual drafted pages.

    . . .

    I've seen many publishers answer this question of "is it published?" I've never seen any say that a private site (i.e., a critique site) counts as publishing. Some even say that they prefer your work to go on there because then they get better submissions. If it's a publicly accessible blog, that's very different though. Don't post finished stories there and expect to sell them.
     
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  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    This is from the guidelines at One Story (one of the top short story publications). Once you put your work out there first rights to it are gone and that's what these places are interested. It might be a little different when you're seeking feedback on small section of a novel, but it's not something I would personally play around with. You can argue that the feedback section is password protected, but there are no restrictions on who can obtain a password and see your work. This is a public forum. When you post work, you are publishing it or losing first rights in the eyes of short story editors at least.

    "Does One Story accept previously published material?
    No. One Story is looking for previously unpublished material. However, if a story has been published in print outside of North America, it will be considered. Stories previously published online—on blogs, personal websites, online literary magazines, or forums—will not be accepted."
     
  13. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Senior Member

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    It depends on the publication. Most do not have a specification like that, so you'd have to contact them either before submitting or check with them at some point.
     
  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Actually, I would say this is the standard or industry norm when it comes to the places that buy short fiction what they are looking for. For magazines and literary journals, they want first rights. And maybe some of you think that it's a little fuzzy, but these publications don't see it that way. And pretty much every contract I've ever signed makes you agree that it hasn't appeared anywhere in any form. Personally, I wouldn't post anything I planned or thought about publishing. And this is based on my knowledge of how the publishing world works more than anything else.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
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  15. Cephus

    Cephus Senior Member

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    Just because 200 words got published doesn't mean the entire book did. It is not the same thing. From what I've heard, they look at 20% as the number they don't want you to exceed, but I'm sure that varies by publisher and is probably an unofficial number anyhow.
     
  16. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Senior Member

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    Yes, you're certainly more actively engaged in the publishing world than I am. I'm mostly writing based on other reports I've read online. I will be getting in touch with a few journals to see what they say just for my own interest more than anything else.
     
  17. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Senior Member

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    I contacted one story and asked them whether work that had been put on a writing forum for feedback constituted published, and they said no.

    I think it's always best to ask for clarification of the guidelines.
     
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  18. ruskaya

    ruskaya Member

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    that will be helpful too in addition to all the comments above. thank you!
     

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