Author Topic: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.  (Read 5315 times)

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Offline brendasturgis

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Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« on: February 28, 2010, 03:01 PM »
Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs? Is it a yes, or a no? Please tell me what is proper regarding this issue.
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Offline valeriek

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2010, 03:34 PM »
I don't think there's a "proper" way or rule about this. Assuming you're talking about unpublished stuff, I think it's up to you. If you have an excerpt that you think showcases your writing at its best and you want people to be able to see it, then post away. I would post large chunks of anything I hoped to sell or that was on submission to editors, but other than that it's totally up to you.
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Offline Marissa Doyle

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2010, 03:38 PM »
I have excerpts from my published books up on my website, but nothing from any unpublished works.  And I cleared it with my editor before posting those.
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Offline valeriek

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2010, 03:45 PM »
Oops I'm posting from my phone and can't edit. I meant I wouldn't post anything on submission anywhere. I was thinking in terms of unagented writers posting samples that could draw attention. Or stuff that's just for fun. Published stuff, like Marissa said, I would get permission first.
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Kurtis

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2010, 03:50 PM »
I only do playful/silly completely unpublishable stuff.

Offline brendasturgis

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2010, 03:51 PM »
Wondering about unpublished works. I don't have anything on my blog yet because I wasn't sure if it was a do or don't.
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DawnP

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2010, 04:11 PM »
Hi Brenda,
Are you enjoying the wild weather here the past few days?  Looks like more for tonight. I hope you didn't lose power for long or have water damage.

I put writing samples on my blog all the time because it's a kids' blog (kinda like a kids online magazine).
However, none of the writing on my blog is writing that I hope to publish or that has been published (since I'm not yet published).
If I were published I would only put samples online from the published books after getting advice from the publisher.

Personally, I wouldn't want writing that I hoped to publish to feel 'familiar' to editors. I don't even mention work that is out on submissions. Besides, to me it looks a little presumptive. (like I'm promising the full text will be published)
The risk with putting unpublished writing samples online is that the writing may not be as well edited.  You still need to let it sit, polish, have someone else read it, etc.
I might be 'wrong' to put writing samples on my blog, but I'm really enjoying it, there is the chance I might never get my 'regular' work published anyway, and for better or worse, it's 'me'.


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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2010, 04:53 PM »
Wondering about unpublished works. I don't have anything on my blog yet because I wasn't sure if it was a do or don't.

If it's something you want published, I'd call it a don't. For one thing, works change a lot in editing -- so the question is, do you want people having read a lesser, pre-edited version of that work? For another, if you publish something in its entirety online, it may put off potential publishers.

That being said, I think small passages like "Tuesday Teasers" are fine and are not likely to hurt you.

Offline Barbara Etlin

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2010, 07:29 PM »
I put a few poems that I knew were good but not marketable on my blog. Two were for Poetry Friday, which gets a lot of new traffic to one's blog; one silly song parody is in my profile to describe my interests.

I also posted an old magazine article which is sufficiently out-of-date that there is no chance of selling further rights.

But my rule is, if I hope to publish it someday, I don't put it on my blog.
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Offline mlbrown

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2010, 08:59 PM »
Thanks for this;  I'd been wondering the same thing. Need to hop over to my site and pull a poem!

Michelle

Offline strawberryswing

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2010, 09:08 PM »
I think short snippets like "Tuesday Teasers" might be okay, so long as you're not giving away too much. After becoming agented I know writers who have been asked to take down those snippets by their agents. But until then, it's your choice--you might garner the right kind of attention from agents perusing blogs (I've seen this happen), or it might not help you at all. :)

Offline Tessa Gratton

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2010, 07:04 AM »
I have a lot of my writing on line, though it's all short stories and not part of the novels I try to sell, as part of www.merryfates.com.  I also always have a short story posted for free on my website.  When my book was selling I heard from two editors that they liked being able to see other examples of what I do.  And my agent was also able to use them to see the kind of writing I do besides what was in my novel.

Besides that, my online fiction has been a huge part of building up my blog audience.  I'm a great believer in using the internet to publish free fiction.  And it's served me well.

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Offline Mandy Hubbard

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2010, 07:10 AM »
I've always shared unpublished works online. I see no problem with it, as long as you're talking about a small percentage of a larger work.

I don't think it is a do or a don't....it's a do it if you want to, don't do it if you don't want to. ha. I do know of people who have had agents or editors request material after seeing snippets on a blog. And I do think it can help build readership.
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Offline brendasturgis

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2010, 01:22 PM »
So if you do post snippets of stories, for say picture books that you hope to be published one day, it's okay if it's say one paragraph, or one stanza. Should the title of the piece be included and a synopsis or is that too much information?
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Offline Mandy Hubbard

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2010, 01:46 PM »
So if you do post snippets of stories, for say picture books that you hope to be published one day, it's okay if it's say one paragraph, or one stanza. Should the title of the piece be included and a synopsis or is that too much information?

I (Obviously) don't do PBs, but I think less than 10% of your overall book is safe, and I always say the title and, "my book about a girl in an abusive relationship" or whatever-- a basic elevator pitch.
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Offline jojohn

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2010, 02:18 PM »
My agent asked that I not put anything too detailed.  I have title, genre' and word count.

Offline brendasturgis

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2010, 02:31 PM »
I'm wondering if writers are unagented if this is a good practice?
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Offline Mandy Hubbard

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2010, 03:09 PM »
I'm wondering if writers are unagented if this is a good practice?

As an agent, it wouldn't turn ME off, and again, i do know writers who snagged agents after an agent saw something on their blog. Infrequent, but it happens.

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Offline Wonky

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2010, 08:01 PM »
Oops I'm posting from my phone and can't edit. I meant I wouldn't post anything on submission anywhere. I was thinking in terms of unagented writers posting samples that could draw attention. Or stuff that's just for fun. Published stuff, like Marissa said, I would get permission first.

Draw attention from whom? Scammers? Legit agents/publishers aren't going to go reading blogs to find the next big hit.

Offline pengwinz

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2010, 09:28 PM »
I (Obviously) don't do PBs, but I think less than 10% of your overall book is safe, and I always say the title and, "my book about a girl in an abusive relationship" or whatever-- a basic elevator pitch.

I post a brief synopsis or some such descriptor of my novels on my website, no excerpts, but that primarily because I'm constantly editing those works. Plus, I really try to "flavor" my subs to a particular agent or editor and a snippet of a longer work won't necessarily be the strongest example of that work for that particular reader.

For my PBs, any that I am confident enough in to sub, I put a brief (1-2 sentence) description along with the first lines on my website. two reasons for this: the sample is likely to be representative of the tone of the entire piece, and it allows prospective agents and editors I'm subbing to to get an idea of the breadth of work (I mention in my queries and covers my site and the excerpts). There isn't enough on the site to worry about malicious intent or overexposure.

This works for me. But the bottom line for anyone is that your situation is likely to be different than mine. It all depends on the amount and type of traffic you expect and any input from agents/editors you may be working with, as well as other factors.

Offline Mindi Scott

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2010, 09:38 PM »
A few years ago, I used to post Teaser Tuesdays (a paragraph to up to 3/4 of a page) every week.  I've since locked all those posts, but I do honestly believe that Teaser Tuesdays were important in my journey to publication. 

I had lots of other writers (and some who were agented and/or pubbed) who liked my samples and offered to do critiques of the full for me after I finished the revised draft.  Eventually, one of those writers told her agent about my manuscript, and he is now my agent, too.

I really don't think it's wise to post tons of your writing on your blog.  But I do think that those little teasers can help you out in ways that you might not ever expect.  Plus, it can be really fun to put it out there and see if anyone has a reaction!

Offline Jen

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2010, 08:39 AM »
Draw attention from whom? Scammers? Legit agents/publishers aren't going to go reading blogs to find the next big hit.

I think it's true that posting material on your blog isn't LIKELY to drum up agent or publisher interest, but it's also not the case that if you hear from someone, they're automatically a scammer.  Posting material to your blog isn't necessary to drum up interest, and I don't think that it's a method that has a particularly high yield, but it can and does happen.  As an author, I've seen something on a blog before that was just incredibly up one of my editor's alleys and sent her an email with the link- she read it, and (I think) requested the manuscript.  All of which just goes to say that if you DO hear from someone, you should do your background research to see if they are legit, because they could be and they also could not be.

Offline Wonky

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2010, 07:26 PM »
I think it's true that posting material on your blog isn't LIKELY to drum up agent or publisher interest, but it's also not the case that if you hear from someone, they're automatically a scammer.  Posting material to your blog isn't necessary to drum up interest, and I don't think that it's a method that has a particularly high yield, but it can and does happen.  As an author, I've seen something on a blog before that was just incredibly up one of my editor's alleys and sent her an email with the link- she read it, and (I think) requested the manuscript.  All of which just goes to say that if you DO hear from someone, you should do your background research to see if they are legit, because they could be and they also could not be.

Fair enough, but personally I wouldn't feel comfortable posting my work anywhere but a locked membership-only crit group.

There are just too many deadbeats, scammers, and bottom-feeders out there.

Offline Mandy Hubbard

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2010, 11:19 AM »
Fair enough, but personally I wouldn't feel comfortable posting my work anywhere but a locked membership-only crit group.

There are just too many deadbeats, scammers, and bottom-feeders out there.

And that brings me back to: do it if you want to, don't if you don't.

*shrug*.
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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2010, 07:04 PM »
I've posted tidbits (<300 words) of my wip on my blog, but that was to demonstrate something I was explaining. For example, I did a post on writing flashbacks a few weeks ago. I used a flashback that was incorrectly written and then rewritten to show how to write it properly. The example helped illustrate my points. 

Do I expect an agent is going to check it out and request to see more? No way. I also don't expect an agent to randomly pick my blog out of thousands and decide to visit it. They have better things to do.  :flowers2

Offline pengwinz

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2010, 12:46 PM »
Just to further muddy the waters, here are two more (diverging) opinions from experts in the field:

Jane Friedman says "Do it, it's okay:" http://writerunboxed.com/2010/04/23/stop-being-afraid-of-posting-your-work-online/

Chuck Sambuchino says, "Don't do it, ever!" http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/Be+Slightly+Afraid+Of+Posting+Your+Work+Online.aspx

Offline olmue

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2010, 05:27 AM »
I don't expect someone will randomly search for and find my blog/website. But I know that sometimes people do follow through and check someone out after reading their posts on writing boards. And if you put your web site address on a query, and the agent is interested, of course they're going to check it out. So I don't think it's a way to initially draw attention to your writing, but it does help for a picture of you and your writing for someone who's looking. I mean, don't you check out an agent's blog when deciding if you're a good match to query? I imagine it's much the same the other way around.

Offline Jaclyn Dolamore

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2010, 05:51 AM »
I agree with olmue, if you're involved in the writing community and agents see your name on boards (I mean, my agent is our own literaticat!), Twitter, commenting on their blog, etc., they might look at your blog out of curiosity. It's not hard to find out if someone is a scammer these days. I also used to post teasers on my blog, and now that I'm published I'm shifting over to short stories. (I'm not that good at short stories, so we'll see how it goes, but I hope to improve my skill. Anyway, I don't think they're bad enough to actually embarrass me.  :-| )

Chances are, posting stuff on your blog will have little effect on your career one way or the other, although the general rule seems to be, don't post anything overly long that you want to publish, and don't post stuff that you wouldn't WANT an agent or editor to see.
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Offline Wonky

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Re: Should we or shouldn't we put writing samples on our blogs.
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2010, 06:02 PM »
Chuck Sambuchino says, "Don't do it, ever!" http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/Be+Slightly+Afraid+Of+Posting+Your+Work+Online.aspx


Ah, the old "stealing my ideas" paranoia. Even in the examples he gives, nothing is really stolen. It's not like someone is going to just copy your work word-for-word and submit it as his/her own.