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Blog Your Novel - a good idea?

Discussion in 'Writers on the Web' started by Phin Scardaw, May 24, 2016.

  1. Phin Scardaw

    Phin Scardaw Troubadour

    Hey Scribes!

    I started a time travel story a couple of years ago and started posting the chapters serially online as a way of self-promotion. I got as far as Chapter 8 before Life sidetracked me - and I think before I stopped I had about 1000 page views on Blogger...

    I like the idea of using free e-books as promotional tools, but I also don't want to shoot myself in the foot since I read recently that anything published on an online blog is considered self-published - so if I wanted to try to sell the book after I'd posted it all on my blog I might run into some difficulties.

    Does anyone have any advice about this kind of thing? I've recently considered either continuing to post the rest of the story online - or doing the opposite - deleting the posts I've already put up there so that if I want to I could pitch it to an agent or publisher as an unpublished piece...

    Another issue I've encountered is that there are some sex scenes that make me wonder if the blog should have a disclaimer like For Mature Readers - even though the scenes aren't explicit or gratuitous, or even that numerous.

    Thanks for your feedback!
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    What about just blogging fragments? Teasers. Give them enough, even as much as half the story, if it's a short story. End at a cliff hanger.

    But you have to have the whole story. No "I'll post it when it write it" nonsense. Write the whole thing, self-pub it on Amazon or wherever. Then blog the teaser. If they like it, they can buy the rest. Or they can get the rest for free if they sign up to your mailing list (you would of course have to have a mailing list!).

    I have no patience to read a story that is going to the blog even as the author writes it. For one thing, it probably has not been properly edited and probably needs multiple rewrites before it should have seen the light of day. For another, a very high percentage of such undertakings never make it to the finish line. It's really more the Internet equivalent of talking out loud and expecting people just to listen.

    Please note that I'm just one (strong) opinion here. A great many other people seem to have no problems with this sort of thing. I will add this: if you really do expect to submit this to publishers, take it down.
    TheNecroFaerie and Phin Scardaw like this.
  3. troynos

    troynos Minstrel

    I started doing that years ago with a story I created specifically for that format. I stopped because life got in the way but been thinking of how to return to doing that as a side project. I thought about doing it as a novel but the previous chapters were designed specifically for the blogging format so would be hard to change.

    Even if it's considered self-published, you should still be able to publish it as a collected edition someday.
    Phin Scardaw likes this.
  4. Bekka King

    Bekka King Scribe

    I like the idea of blogging fragments of chapters.

    Posting fragments can help generate interest without "giving away the house." Many writers do a variation of that on Twitter - posting sentence fragments. There's even a Twitter hashtag for that - WIP ("Work in Progress"). I've started doing that recently and have been getting a few likes for the posts.

    Another advantage of posting fragments is that you can select your most creative fragments to showcase which portions of your writing are your best.
    Phin Scardaw likes this.
  5. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    Hey! This is what I do. :p

    Then again, I'm not actively using it as a promotional tool. It's more of a way to point friends and family to my stories when the topic comes up, which it does now and then.
    Phin Scardaw likes this.
  6. Russ

    Russ Istar

    I don't have a copy of a publishing contract here with me at the office, but I would be concerned that if you plan to sell the work to a traditional publisher that you can no longer warrent that the work is "unpublished" when you offer it for sale.

    Other than that I don't see the downside.
    Phin Scardaw likes this.
  7. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I gave this idea some serious thought until recently. The problem for me is (and IDK about the OP) that I don't write my stories in a linear fashion. I'll always start at the beginning, go for a handful of chapters, then write the ending, write parts of the middle, go back and change the opening, etc until the draft is complete. So I'd say that the only downside to blogging a novel is that we may not always have a finished product to begin with.

    However, if you've already got a good chunk of the draft down, or have the manuscript revised and edited then you'll have enough material to post weekly or however you figure it. If I were you OP, I'd wait and write ahead. Write your novel but also a couple shorts or flash fiction to throw into that blog. Get a good pile of material ready to post and then continue writing your novel. I'd also throw in some posts about your writing process.

    As far as it being published goes, yeap. There have been stories of authors who've blogged their novels and later published but are they the norm? Far from it. If you're planning on publishing that particular piece, I suggest posting a handful of chapters instead of the whole novel. Or posting another story of yours. Either way, play with it. Post your stories. Figure out how to drive traffic to your blog (something I'm still figuring out how to do myself ugh) and have fun with it. Don't let anyone tell you "no" and do what you feel is right for your writing career.

    Good luck. :)
    Phin Scardaw likes this.
  8. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Supposedly, this is what the author of 'The Martian' did: he blogged fragments of his rough draft chapters and invited criticism. People responded. By the time he finished the rough, he had quite the following, which eventually turned into a movie deal.

    However, I strongly suspect that's more the exception than the rule.

    Posting short stories that probably wouldn't sell anyhow on your blog might be a more viable idea. Let readers get a taste of the world and a few characters without giving away the WIP.
    Phin Scardaw likes this.
  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    So, the question isn't "is this a good idea" but when is it a good idea. It's not for everybody.

    In my opinion, it's a good idea IF:

    - You're good at blogging, creating blog networks, and making friends online.

    - You're good at being consistent and meeting deadlines. Blogs build from consistency.

    - You already have a strong sense of structure and pacing - you can't learn this on the job in public.

    - Your story concept is deeply personal and unique. YOU need to be able to talk about your characters passionately. The characters need to be the sort that readers will want to gossip about. And you've got to stand out a bit.

    If you meet all of the above I think you should give it a shot. If not, I wouldn't advise it.
    Phin Scardaw likes this.
  10. Phin Scardaw

    Phin Scardaw Troubadour

    Thanks everyone for the thoughtful responses. I'm still on the fence about it.

    I stopped posting parts of my WIP a few yeas back. I'm currently preparing to launch a Kickstarter campaign by the end of the summer, and it occurred to me that restarting the blog might be a good way to drum up some buzz - even though that story is unrelated to the Kickstarter campaign.

    If y'all wanna check out the blog for yourselves: The Prime Extract

    I posted a mini review today of C.S. Lewis' The Silver Chair which I just read for the first time: Phin's Book Blog

    Write On!
  11. troynos

    troynos Minstrel

    This is a good idea.
  12. glassgrimoire

    glassgrimoire Dreamer

    Hi all:

    I've been at this for about a year now. It started as a kind therapeutic thing after my dad passed away, but I really got into it. I like to the think this is the way story telling should go. Bigger landscapes, more characters, longer arcs...

    Check it out here. I'd love to know what you think. And if you like it please spread the word.


  13. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

    Different agents and publishers have different rules, but one common thread I've seen is that any material that has controlled access, so that relatively few eyes have seen it, is okay to submit. Thus, material posted to a private Facebook group that you invite a few people to for critiquing purposes is okay. Material posted on a blog with open access to the public is not okay. Material posted on a site that allows anyone from the public to create an account and read your work is not okay.

    If you self-publish your book on Smashwords, Kindle Direct, CreateSpace, etc., then it doesn't matter whether you've previously posted any, all, or none of your material on the web or elsewhere.
  14. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

    Russ likes this.
  15. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Did the OP go through with this? I've been thinking of writing a novelette and releasing it a chapter per week on my blog. Still on the fence though.
  16. Onkaragarwal

    Onkaragarwal Acolyte

    If it can be a good or a bad idea depends solely upon your level of confidence, skill, and interest.
    It also depends upon your social or online strength.
    If you think writing is your passion and not sure on how to build an online audience you can consider writing anonymously for a firm or a company such as contentmart.com or find freelancers from other such sites. If that is not the case and you can depend on your unique content and skills to build audience, there is no harm giving it a try, in fact it can prove a boon if it's the latter, the experience you can earn or even learn the art to blog is remarkable, something which can be handy throughout.
    Summarizing points to consider- If your content is extraordinary.
    -If you believe you can build your audience and/or have a hold over social media already.
    -If you have enough content to keep your audience engaged.
    -If you have space and can deal with pressure.
    This is just my opinion which I think is advisable in your case, it might or might not work for you, but you should definitely give it a shot if you think you can manage that, entire wish you luck!

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