Thursday, April 24, 2008

Posting Excerpts on Your Blog

From one of our readers:

Hi. I am not sure if this would be good for your blog readers in general, but it seems to be a growing concern/confusion amongst many writers. Should we put up excerpts of our novels or other works we hope to see published (i.e., articles that may go into a book, a short story from a collection, a novel excerpt, etc.) on our blogs? Several other writers and myself have been reading lately that publishers won't publish anything that has been, even in part, "already published on a blog."

This is timely question since there are many publishers who don't like authors to publish exerpts of their contracted novels on blogs or websites. You need to get permission from your publisher in order to post an excerpt--even if it's still in preproduction.

If you have a novel you've written, but it's not under contract, it's all right to post an excerpt. But make sure to label it as a work in progress--and that it shouldn't be quoted in a review of your final book.

Posting an article that you are trying to get published is probably not a good idea. Most magazines ask for first rights until after it has been published by them (often, they give back the rights and you can take the same article elsewhere, but you must obtain permission). The magazine wants an "exclusive" per se and doesn't want it to be posted elsewhere.

A short story falls in between a novel excerpt and an article. If the short story is part of a collection, it is probably okay to label it as a "preview from my short story collection". But if it's a stand-alone, then a magazine won't be happy if the short story is already available to everyone. After all, why would their audience purchase their magazine to read your story when they can read it for "free."

Any other thoughts, anyone? Or personal experiences?

1 comment:

Annette Lyon said...

That's a tough question with no clear answer. I'm aware of a few books that are now published that came about from blogs--most of their content began as blog posts.

So a lot of publishers *don't* mind and don't consider blogging publishing. But some do. It probably depends a lot on what you're writing and who you hope to sell it to some day.

My gut reaction is that the majority of pubishers wouldn't consider a blog excerpt as "published" (and I've read articles elsewhere, such as in Writer's Digest, that seem to concur), but you always run that risk of wanting to publish with someone who does see it differently.

I'd say to research your target houses.