What is an aspiring author to do? We want to whip our little word darlings into shape. We, perhaps, want to share snippets with our fantastic followers. After all, they hear us talk about our wip so much they must get kinda curious as to if it really exists :)
I've read conflicting articles about posting some of your work online.
Chuck Sambuchino posted about the perils of posting chunks of your wip online. Note, he doesn't mean don't get feedback from beta readers or online critique groups because there are some awesome ones (to who I am very grateful for whipping my lame query into shape!). He means posting large sections of your wip on your blog.
His argument is that writers steal stuff.
On Writer Unboxed Jane Friedman posted about not being scared to post work online. You can increase your audience and get interest in a project.
And published authors do this as too.
Michelle Pavers' novel Wolf Boy can be downloaded as free podcasts on itunes. Her book still sells.
Stephenie Meyers' novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner will go online on June 7th-July 5th for free. Will it stop the book selling? Not from the amount of people who have told me they have ordered it. Or the assistants who ask if I want to pre-order it when I go in bookshops. Have I ordered it, nope but I'm curious.
The thing is, these examples are published authors. Would they do this is they didn't already have an audience? Would they risk the hours of work, sweat, editing and chocolate consumption they put into writing these books?
Katharina Gerlach is an agented author in Germany seeking publication in the U.S. She took the decision to post a free serialization of her novel The Witches Of Greenwitch.
She knows she has given away the first worldwide print rights by doing it. But it has increased her audience. Will anyone steal the idea? Who knows, I hope not.
There is also another post here about the perils of posting online.
I can see both sides. I understand the argument that ideas are not copyrighted, anyone can adapt and change them for their own devices. Now, I don't go on other blogs, read an excerpt and think "Oh great idea, let me steal it." But I'm not naive enough to think this doesn't happen.
Still, I'd like to think that most writers are more focused on getting their own ideas out there than stealing mine/yours/whoever they come across.
After all, we all know there are only so many plots out there.
Shakespeare adapted stories and no one is suing him for stealing ideas (bit hard really but you get my point, hehee). Tristan and Isolde - and countless other stories - is the framework for Romeo and Juliet. Yup, William S. was one of the masters of adapting old myths and legends.
Pride & Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Romeo & Juliet were all used in some way in the Twilight books.
So all these ideas have been used in other novels/plays etc. Which leaves me with the impression that it isn't the material, it's what you do with it that counts.
Maybe one day some future novelist will adapt our ideas. And -hopefully - they won't get them off a blog but from our books.
So where do you stand on the whole excerpt online?