Yves Brown McClain: Literary Fierceness

Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Writer Wednesday: Teasers – To Post or not to Post?

Posted by Dahlia on August 31, 2011

I once lurked around a discussion board about writing and publishing. One poster mentioned posting an excerpt to a story she was working on. To say the discussion went bananas after she wrote it is an understatement, they went ape —-. So many of the writers said they would NEVER post a WIP (work-in-progress) on their blog or website because once it goes live, it’s published.  Once published, you’ll have a hard time snagging an agent. I felt so bad for the poster who made that statement. Poor thing, they had ripped her a virtual new one.

Last month, I bought a copy of We Are Not Alone The Writer’s Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb. The topic of posting WIP excerpts comes up in her book. She makes a compelling argument why it’s generally a bad idea to include WIP excerpts as one, some, or all of your blog posts if you’re not yet published. I’ll briefly touch on a few of them. (*start plug* if you want all the reasons and details, I recommend purchasing her book, it’s a really good read *end plug*)

  1. Difficulty getting an agent if you post too much
  2. The feedback may not be honest enough
  3. The feedback may be TOO honest or just flat out mean-spirited
  4. Frustrating the reader who wants to buy the book only to find it isn’t available yet

However, there have got to be exceptions to the rule (isn’t there always?). I managed to find a few. Established authors can get away with it. I recently read a few not-yet-published teasers on the Facebook page of an accomplished, published, and bestselling author.  Considering she has an agent, a book deal, six best-sellers, and a loyal fan following, I’m sure these teasers won’t hurt her a bit. They’ll only make her fans beg her to publish them not now, but RAHT now. Even if she doesn’t publish them right away, her fans will wait. I’m sure it helps that they’ve got six books to choose from to pass the time while they’re waiting.

The second exception is the self-published/independent author. This person has complete control of his/her work from the roota to the toota. He or she is his/her own agent/publisher/marketer/PR person. Sylvia Hubbard would be my example of Exception #2. Not only does she offer a few of her novels for free, she also does what is called a Live Story in Progress (LSIP), where she posts pieces of her story on her blog as she writes them. This method has been met with success. Her fans can’t wait for the next installment and are more than willing to buy the completed version once she formally publishes (I am one of the fans eagerly awaiting her most recent LSIP to be published). However, Sylvia has her own publishing imprint.

I would have to agree with the posters who slammed that poor lady on that discussion board and Kristen to an extent. If you don’t have an agent and/or not published, it probably isn’t wise to post teasers to your book. You never know what might change in your story (the title, the characters, maybe even a huge chunk of plot). It may seem innocent enough to give potential readers a taste, but in reality it can be a setup to fail and a setback for you. However, if you meet one of those two exceptions, then you may be safe to tease away.

Writers – Have you ever posted an excerpt from your WIP on your site/blog? How was it received? Do you think teasers for unpublished pieces are helpful or harmful?

Readers – If you read an excerpt on a writer’s site, do you expect for it to be published (as in the next few months). How would you feel if it’s a long way from being published? Do you still support the writer or do you feel you’ll get tired of waiting after awhile? Of course, this is assuming you liked what you read. 😉

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Posted in Marketing & Promoting, Publishing, Writer Wednesday, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Novel Writing Fantasies – Part One

Posted by Dahlia on December 11, 2010

I saw the above video in the news feed on Facebook last week (thanks to the video’s creator, dwkazzie and his blog The Corner) and I was  immediately entertained by the monotone, yet hilarious exchange between an aspiring writer and his colleague that was attempting to bring him back to reality, albeit unsuccesfully. After I finished laughing at the video, I started to think about how in some ways, I was the naive aspiring writer. While I did not go and quit my job (I do have a family and real bills), max out my cards, and attempt to go to a major publisher with only one page written, there were some expectations I had about the writing and publishing process that once I got started with making Wild Oats a reality, I found were unrealistic. I thought I would share my fantasies, how they were dashed, and what I did to make the fantasy more realistic.

Fantasy One: “Do you think I can get it published in time for the Christmas Shopping Season?”

Unlike the video’s aspiring writer, I did not start writing a book on December 4th with the expectation of being done in time for Christmas, but I did have a goal to have Wild Oats published that turned out to be too aggressive at best and unrealistic at worst. I finished my manuscript in August. I wanted to publish in December. I figured it was enough time to go through a few rounds of revision, get my cover designed, and get it to print. However, I discovered that there are two dates when it comes to a book: Your print date and your publication date. Your publication date is about two-four months after your print date. Why is there such a lag time between when that novel comes off the press before it’s officially published? There are several reasons for this: if you want pre-publication reviews, most of them need anywhere from six to fourteen weeks to review your book. Also, you need to allow time for the distributor to sell the book. Furthermore, this is also the time where you put that marketing plan into action. (Yes, you need a marketing plan, you have a product to sell!) Think of it like a movie. There’s a reason there are commercials, posters, and previews out weeks before the movie opens. You have to know it’s coming. December turned out to be a decent date for printing, but it wasn‘t a good publication date. Therefore, I have set a more realistic publication date of April 2011.

Below are a few tips on what has been helpful so far in terms of timing:

  • The first draft is unlikely to be your finished product. Wild Oats was revised at least four times, and that was before I was comfortable enough with it to start looking for a copyeditor.
  • Give yourself time to make the story the best it can be. Thinking you can write a 150,000 word manuscript in a week is possible, but not probable. Especially, if your goal is for it to be a quality story that readers will love and recommend to all of their friends and family. I am working on a short story now, 12 Days, that I’m posting in sections on this blog. I have found in the few weeks that I came up with the idea that even writing a short story, takes time in order to be done well.
  • On the same token, give yourself time, but have a deadline, a goal to reach. Without a goal, you’ll never finish. 12 Days is a holiday story, so I will need to have it wrapped up by the end of the holiday season. I may have to give up a few hours of sleep to get it done, but I’m willing to do it because I love what I do.

Timing was one of many fantasies I had when it came to getting my novel published. I have a few more to share, but I need to allow enough time to write the next part. 😉

Posted in Novel Writing Fantasies, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »