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worried =\

Hi everyone, I've been really worried about something, and I've gotten some conflicting information on it.

I have my story, in progress, posted on abc tales, review fuse, and critique circle. Does this mean I can never get my story published now, because it has been "previously published?" Why do these sites exist if they ruin a writers chances of being published? I really don't want to stop posting on these sites, the criticism and compliments are what keep me keep writing. What should I do? Am I worried for nothing? Have I destroyed my writing career before it began?


Have you posted the entire, finished work online? If not, you have nothing to worry about. If you have, you may still be fine.

If your work is still in progress, then it will be quite different by the time it's published. Your publisher may even request a name change or for you to write under a pen name.


I've asked agents about this, and as usual...it depends on the agent.

Although there are agents and editors who will not publish something that was available online, there are also agents and editors who don't give a hoot as long as it sells. For instance, did you know Jeff Kinney, author of the Wimpy Kid series was "discovered" by an agent because he posted his first book on his blog?

Calm down. You can still publish.

And this may be obvious, but don't tell an agent you had your story on any of these websites in your query. Unless your agent says "I want to represent you", then don't come clean unless they ask. If an agent requests representation with you, then chances are, they won't care where your work was. They love it and they think it'll sell.

Just make sure you get your work off those sites before you attempt at publishing


A few thoughts: Are you there for the critcism and compliments, or to learn from what you need to work on and improve and continue in your writing what's working? If the former, then ask yourself if you're there for the right reason. If you're posting there for the second, then you learn and take that knowledge to your next project. When you're confident enough, then instead of posting to the site for crits, have a few folks you trust for their opinions and knowedge, look over your work and submit it to publishers/markets.

Note: you indicated stories, so I am guessing short fiction, which agents don't represent. If you're posting an entire novel there, I am not sure the reason for it. You should be able to learn and improve simply by having sections or a chapter or two posted where readers/critters can focus on particular concerns you might have.

Just my two cents


Felis amatus
I wouldn't post stories you intend to publish online unless they are in a password-protected forum available to a small number of people (i.e. not publicly available). Many publishers want first rights, and if you've already published the story you can't sell them first rights. You've essentially given away first rights for nothing by publishing in these places.

It varies a bit from publisher to publisher, but more of them over the past decade or so have been considering an online work to be "published." And since you never know who might be interested in taking on your work and who might not be, there is no reason to disadvantage yourself by making the work publicly available. I would limit those activities to works you don't care about publishing.
Thanks everyone. You all brought up good points. In response to the person who asked: I post on those sites for a couple reasons. 1. I'm the kind of writer who needs people to say "oh wow this is good" it boosts my confidence when others like my work. Not sure if that's weird or not. 2. I have people who follow my story and request that I post more.


Thanks everyone. You all brought up good points. In response to the person who asked: I post on those sites for a couple reasons. 1. I'm the kind of writer who needs people to say "oh wow this is good" it boosts my confidence when others like my work. Not sure if that's weird or not. 2. I have people who follow my story and request that I post more.


If your work has reached the right level, you can get both reasons 1 and 2 by taking the time and effort to seek a publisher for your stories. You're the best judge if you're ready for that or not. Editors might be the best judge if your writing is ready or not. If your work is published, the possibility that it was be read by a larger audience than on the sites you mentioned. You may also earn money for your work, and there's nothing wrong with that. If nothing else it'll pay for a better computer and software--we'll all need to update eventually and make your time spent writing more productive.

It's not 'weird' to find it motivational that others enjoy your writing. I think many (if not the majority) of writers write because they have stories to share and hope others enjoy them.
It's for reasons like this that I never post anything in the portfolio's here!

I started writing 10 years ago. I'm in no way a great writer, but many of the world-building or entry-level type questions people ask, I have already visited. Occasionally I'll try to offer writing advice, but usually it's more "don't go down that path" than "this is how the path goes".

Anyways, as I focus all of my writing on my Epic Trilogy I'm still writing, I don't really have anything else to post here at Mythic Scribes. And because I don't want to get in trouble when I go looking for a publisher later, or have them tell me my work belongs to some website, I never post anything I've done. I have a website with a preview of the first few chapters, but I designed the site, so it belongs to me.

I have to go to friends for advice and criticism, which is okay for me because my friends love literature.

But the future with e-publishing is so unclear... what will the rules be even in a year?
Breaking the first-publication cherry is not what it once was. I published 5 books through self-publishing and still sold the series for six-figures to a big-six publisher, and know many other authors who have done the same thing. Publishers care much more about audience than whether your work appeared online. If you can build an audience for your work - it will be attractive. If there are only a few postings in a few obscure places, they won't know or care. Sure they'll ask you take it down once they sign with you but no publisher or agent is taking the time to scower the Internet to see if your work was posted somewhere.

All in all its a non-issue.
Agree with Michael here. With short fiction, it's a little more picky; generally magazines that publish shorts are OK with things like Critters because the work is limited in availability and sitting behind a members only password. But a short you publish on a blog, for instance, might be tough to sell to a magazine.

But for novels? Publishers are *actively* seeking out and buying rights for books which have been self epublished. And found decent audiences. I wouldn't worry about what you've done messing you up.