Friday, 10 December 2010

Coffee Break: Show Case

Sample chapter image 1.

Many authors, both published and unpublished, make some of their work available on the internet for anyone to read. This can range from short excerpts, selected chapters or even full works. This week I would like to discuss the pros and cons of doing this. To get us started, here are a few things to consider.

  • Does it bring positive or negative publicity?
  • Does it count as being published, or perhaps self-published?
  • What are the copyright implications?
  • How much have you showcased? e.g. teaser, extract, chapter(s) or full work?
  • What feedback, if any, did you receive? Was it constructive?
  • Has this been discussed elsewhere? Please provide links if so.
Sample chapter image 2.

Perhaps at the end of the discussion, we can tot things up and then get an idea of whether showcasing our work is a good or a bad idea.

This topic was prompted by a discussion on facebook.


Leatherdykeuk said...

Holy crap, an essay question. How many points is it worth?

I have work on private, friends invited journals, where I get constructive feedback, plot hole and errors, and on public blogs (less of the same). It it's in the public domain, it counts as published for most purposes, though with 'Dead Rite' the 300-word-a-day novel, I shall take it down when it's finished, edit and -- I was going to say 'publish' but more likely it'll just sit on a shelf with the other 15 novels I've written.

And yes, I've sold books by people reading the blogs -- two or three at least.

Karen said...

Interesting question. I've posted a chapter before, a couple of years ago, and asked for constructive criticism as I didn't want people telling me it was 'brilliant' and I did find it useful. So often we're writing into a void and it's good to have some feedback; to see if we're heading in the right direction.

Of course opinions are subjective, but if enough readers pick up on something that's not working you can be certain you need to change it.

I personally would only post a chapter of a published novel though, just as a taster :o)

Debs said...

I did post an excerpt online a couple of years ago and did receive good constructive feedback and also post short stories on another forum for the same reason, but that's about all I'd probably want to post online.

I have bought books in the past from reading their beginnings online and did find it very useful to be able to read the beginning to know if I truly wanted to read the rest before ordering.

andewallscametumblindown said...

I've had a short story and a flash story published in an online journal, and have sited them when asked for a sample of my writing. Obviously "this is great" comments don't necessarily help much, but when positive comments are more detailed I assume they're genuine. The best comment I received was from an expert, who liked the story but suggested I cut parts of it.

I put a first chapter on a writing site, but wasn't impressed with the feedback there.

I think showcasing is a good idea. For getting feedback, I would prefer to work with a small group of writers I can rely on. ~Miriam

Jenny Beattie said...

Good question Capt Black but I'm no help because I've never posted anything online.

Denise said...

Sorry, Christmas chaos has made me late. I'm not sure how I feel about putting extracts of my writing on the internet. I'm not sure I'd have enough faith in the critique whether it was good or bad. I guess I'd rather trust people I know for feedback, though if I'm ever published that would change it. If I was using the clip as an advert for the book, I think that's much more useful. I really like the "look inside" books on Amazon, because I always read part of a book in a bookshop, so why not the web?

Graeme K Talboys said...

I did the whole of Thin Reflections, chapter by chapter, on a closed forum and received enormous amounts of good feedback (it was on an OU writing course). Other bits and pieces have appeared online, but mostly as extracts or shorts in magazines.

I know there are publishers who have a strange prejudice against stuff that has been online, some of which have happily published collections of short stories (for example) that have appeared in print magazines.

Not sure how much that answers the questions. I never was much good at that. I would be wary of an open forum, but if the NR had a private forum for posting work, that would obviate the copyright thing as well as making sure we work with folk we have come to know.

Annieye said...

I am a bit wary of putting anything I have written on the internet, although I have put on short extracts in the past occasionally. I am much more comfortable if it is a private blog, though, with only limited readership, and have had some really constructive feedback from other writers.

Sorry I'm late posting my comment. Like Denise I am in the midst of Christmas craziness with additional puppy mayhem!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. A very mixed outcome, I think. If I could venture a vague summary: public showcasing of excerpts may be good for advertising purposes, but private groups are probably better for critique and feedback.