Home > Writing > On blogging: to post our writing or not

On blogging: to post our writing or not

November 13, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

To post or not to post, that is the question.

You see, I’m confused. I seem to have gathered conflicting advice on what to do with what I’ve written. Some say never post anything, some say post what you want. So what is it? Is it ok to post just flash fiction? Or short stories? Maybe excerpts from our novels? Or chapters? The whole book? Or maybe this kind of stuff belongs somewhere else, like Scribophile?

Part of me wants to post my writing so I can get some feedback, and to see if anyone actually likes what I write. But the other part of me is worried that by posting anything, I will lose the opportunity to submit to publications who restrict themselves to unpublished work, where unpublished means it can’t even have appeared in my own blog.

Anyone have thoughts one way or the other on this subject? Any experience with posting your own writing, either positive or negative? Using online writing groups, like Scribophile?

–dp

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  1. November 13, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    From this Writer’s Digest item http://bit.ly/1hHCH9n , it sounds like your caution might be warranted. I guess you need to explore the policies of the outlets you might want to publish with to avoid a problem, or only post work that you don’t think you want to submit anywhere. I doubt that you’d run into trouble posting excerpts, though. Of course you can’t get adequate feedback based only on excerpts.

    I’m inclined not to post original work on my blog, but not because I’m worried about future publication. I’d just prefer to self-publish it eventually or use trusted friends/colleagues for feedback.

    Let us know what you learn!

    • November 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      That Writer’s Digest article brought up some great points … All of them were against publishing anything on your blog that you are seriously interested in publishing. Apart from flash fiction or excerpts, the consensus is don’t do it. Thanks for the comment and the link. I found it useful.

      • November 15, 2013 at 6:40 am

        You’re welcome! It’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t have thought would be a problem, but now I’m glad I know it’s a little tricky.

        Good luck when you submit your work, Dave!

  2. November 14, 2013 at 4:10 am

    I’m asking the same questions, Dave. I’ll be interested to see what others have to say.

    • November 15, 2013 at 12:48 am

      Well, Jill, it seems the consensus is “don’t do it!” 🙂

      The other thing passed along is the use of online writing groups that have strict requirements about who can log-in and read what’s submitted. I think I like the idea. It sounds like these places are good for getting constructive, thoughtful feedback, and not of the kind that says “you suck!” I’ll have to look into these further.

      • November 15, 2013 at 4:13 am

        LOL! Let me know if find a good online group. Have a great weekend, Dave!

  3. November 14, 2013 at 6:50 am

    It seems to me that if the unpublished part is critical to you, then you shouldn’t share your work online. But I know how critical feedback is for developing this craft. I have used an online historical writers group- and found it helpful. The key thing is making sure the site is monitored by a dedicated individual. They will give permission to who may join and enforce proper critiquing conduct. I’m not part of that group right now- just too busy crafting and not focused on editing. This group, like many others, requires you to critique 3 of the other writers chapters in order to submit one of yours. I don’t know about the site you mention in your post- sounds like one of the bigger ones, which could be tricky to navigate. Have you searched for one specific to your genre- or is this site that kind? Feedback is so important- but it’s important to know what to do with it. I meet once a month with a local writers group. Last night, we had 5 different takes on the same topic (to backstory or not to backstory- THAT is the question). It’s a very subjective process. I hope you find some writers you can share with, Dave, I know I’m a better writer for it. Good luck!

    • November 15, 2013 at 12:52 am

      Hi Sue – thanks so much for your helpful reply. I know you’ve had some great firsthand experience with online writing groups. After hearing about some of them, I’m thinking I might pursue them as an avenue to get useful feedback on my writing. I like the idea of a local writer’s group. We have one here where I live, but so far I haven’t gotten the courage to join up with them 🙂

      Thanks for the well wishes, Sue. Hope all is well for you.

  4. November 14, 2013 at 7:26 am

    For me, I don’t usually post anything that I plan on submitting for possible publication. The exception being the 2 or so pages I posted the other day, obviously! Because that’s a draft and will very likely change (or even go away entirely, you never know with drafts), I didn’t feel too worried about it. But I don’t post short stories that I’ve submitted or want to submit, and so on. I think if it’s a full, finished piece and you want to possibly submit it, don’t post it. And if you are looking for feedback, or to just get better, then definitely post! You have to hone your craft somehow.

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Yeah, it’s pretty much looking like the right thing to do is hold onto my writing and find a useful online critique group. That will probably give me the most help. Really did enjoy reading your small excerpt from your book, though!

  5. November 14, 2013 at 7:46 am

    It is definitely a tough call to make. I’ve made the decision to post an excerpt every once in a while on my blog but never a full story. I also mention when I post that I reserve the right to make the post private or delete it if I do end up deciding to submit the story somewhere.

    A lot of magazines, anthologies, etc., consider a story on a blog to be ‘published’, so like some other commenters said, I think your caution is warranted. I know some writers will post whole stories (flash or short, not novels) if they have been rejected and the writer has no plans to submit it elsewhere. I think that is a good policy also. But I don’t think there’s one solution that suits everyone!

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      Based on everything I’m hearing, I don’t think I’ll post anything but small excerpts from books or short stories. I’ve posted a few pieces of flash fiction in the past, but I’m not worried about those. Though I enjoyed writing them, they were very much out of my usual genre.

  6. November 14, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Personally, I don’t post my fiction online. Partly because I’m not sure anyone wants to read it, but mostly because I’m never satisfied with what I write until the bitter end. Plus there is that issue of publishing as you mentioned. But that’s me. Other people thrive on it and I admire their ability to do so. For honest opinions though, I suspect a writing forum might be the most useful.

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      I think you’re right, Carrie. I’m going to get myself into an online writing group (for now all I know of is Scribophile) and use that to improve my writing. Eventually I’d like to get a few beta readers, but for now I don’t have any.

  7. November 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I wouldn’t post anything I plan to submit for publication (though that usually turns out to be “not an issue” once I find out nobody wants it! haha). As you know from reading my blog, though, I post experimental and satirical fiction all the time. It’s my unserious writing place.

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      That’s the consensus, Eric: don’t post anything you’re serious about. So, for now, all I’ll post of my writing will be short excerpts. BTW – I love your experimental and satirical fiction. I find myself laughing out loud when I read your posts. You are one witty guy, I must admit 🙂 Makes for fun reading, though …

  8. November 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Personally, I’ve only posted a few fan fiction stories that I like, but I’m not particularly attached too. I think it’s just out of curiosity. When I first started, I didn’t think anyone would care, and in some ways, I don’t think anyone does still. But then I found myself seeking out flash fiction from other writers whose blogs I visited, and then thought maybe it would be a good idea.

    Anyway, this is totally ambivalent and of no help to you at all. My apologies 🙂

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Ha ha … all input is helpful, Katie. Personally, I’m interested in reading what others are writing, even you 🙂 Problem is, I can completely understand the issues involved with posting serious writing on a blog. Unfortunate, but true.

  9. November 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I’m of two minds about this. As you know, I post excerpts and short stories on the Indie Spirit Press blog all the time. I’ll continue to do so, especially when I have stories about to go on sale. But would I post entire (long) works online? Probably not. I know some writers have done it and had no problem either selling the novel themselves or to a traditional publisher, but my fear (and it may be unfounded) is: if someone reads my work for free, why on earth would they turn around and pay for it later?

    Then, I’ve heard the horror stories about people who have posted their complete stories on sites like Fictionpress (or this huge erotica site who’s name I can’t remember right now) and have had their work stolen and slapped up on Amazon for sale.

    Personally, I think if you want feedback on your work, you should join a password protected, and heavily administered, site like Critique Circle. They have a horror/thriller/mystery queue you can submit to and you’ll get thoughtful feedback from the other writers there. You have to critique others before you can submit, but it’s a fair trade off IMO.

    Elle Chambers
    http://www.indiespiritpress.com

  10. November 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Elle – while I wasn’t sure until before, I’m now convinced that posting anything more than excerpts from novels or short stories is a bad idea. Either you’ll ruin your ability to publish, or you’ll get your work ripped off. Pretty much sucks, but it’s the way of the world.

    For now, after having you and a number of other people suggest it, I’m going the route of an online writing group/forum. I know of Scribophile, but had never heard of Critique Circle. I’ll check into both and see which one is better. I’m not even sure if they are much different or not. Might just be two of the same thing.

  11. November 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Do as you want Dave. I do both. I have a catalogue of short fiction on my blog for those who are interested. I do this because when I follow a writer’s blog I like to actually see their work. I like reading their posts with writing advice and experiences but I also like seeing them put it into action so to speak. So I have posted a lot of my short fiction and have a regular feature where I post a piece of flash every other Friday. This not only keeps my hand in but I find readers like it.

    But its true you’ll want an audience for your published stuff as well and if it’s all up for free on your blog this might impact on who buys the book.

    I’d say with projects you have plans for publication for, stick to excerpts and teasers. With your catalogue of shorter fiction that you may or may not want to get published, post it so your readers can sample your work. I am more likely to buy someone’s book if I’ve already sampled some of their fiction and enjoyed it.

    If you ever come across an opportunity to get the short fiction published, depending not the rules, there is nearly alway the chance to just take it back down off your blog.

    But at the end of the day, Dave, it’s entirely up to you! It’s your blog and your fiction. Share it as you wish.

    • November 23, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      Thanks for such a detailed response, J.S.! I appreciate your thoughts about what you like and how you approach your blog. I think I might try posting some of my short fiction, and perhaps work on some new flash fiction to post as well. Seems like it would be fun to post an excerpt or two from the novels I’ve worked on. And you make a very good point about being more likely to buy someone’s book if you’ve already seem some of their writing and you like it. Makes absolute sense.

      Never thought of removing a blog post of a short story if necessary … I might go ahead and post those I’m not as likely to submit for publication then.

      Thanks for taking time to leave such a detailed comment.

      • November 24, 2013 at 1:24 am

        You’re more than welcome Dave 😀 I’m just talking from the point of view of the readers of blogs and what I like, that’s how i try to fashion my own 🙂 but it is, when all is said of done, up to the writer. I do like your fiction though and would never say no to seeing more 😀

  12. December 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I can only speak for myself when it comes to what I do on my own blog and what I like to read on other peoples’ blogs. Flash fiction – I would do that. Nothing else when it comes to my own fiction writing. And unless it’s a one off excerpt of a recent release, I just do not read chapters of fiction on other blogs. And here is something that drives me crazy – a post that jumps into a piece of fiction (flash or short story or chapter) with no introduction or set-up. Well – that’s me. Thanks for asking for input – it seems to have worked out great for you with a ton of comments.

    • December 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Francis. I think I agree with you, especially after all the comments I received. From here forward, I think I’ll post flash fiction, and perhaps small excerpts from works-in-progress. I agree … no introduction to a piece of fiction posted is annoying. Not sure why people would do that.

  13. December 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I love posts like this, Dave! They generate great comments and ideas. (I don’t know how I missed it when you first published this post, but thank goodness, Kevin mentioned it on his blog :)) It seems generally, don’t post on your blog what you plan on submitting for publication or, if you do, only post an excerpt or teaser. Part of the problem for me is I don’t think of my writing as publication-worthy until I put it out there and then get positive feedback (like with The Community Storyboard). But then, the problem there is people are generally positive, that is, no real critical feedback so the worthiness of my writing may be an illusion 🙂 I do belong to one online writing group at Zoetrope.com, but I keep forgetting to check in. With Zoetrope, you do have to critique a number of works before you can submit your own for review. While that is good practice, it’s also quite time-consuming, especially if you’re interested in submitting short stories or longer pieces. So much reading and writing, so little time.

  14. December 23, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Ha ha … I’m with you on that one, Carrie. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  1. December 6, 2013 at 8:43 am
  2. December 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

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