Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for X-CERPT

Okay, there's no official literary term I could find that starts with X so I have to cheat a little. But that's okay, because EXCERPT is an important term to understand in the publishing industry.

As in posting an EXCERPT of your work on your blog. Be careful with this one. Most of us aren't the best judges of what's good and what isn't in our own writing. We can post something we think is fabulous, and really it stinks. This makes us lose credibility and look unprofessional in an industry that demands it.

If you are under contract, don't post anything from your manuscript until you receive permission from your publisher, and then only post an approved EXCERPT.

As for posting an entire manuscript online? Again, dangerous territory. Many publishers will consider this previously published and not touch it. Although this is changing as we speak so I'm not even sure why I bring it up as it makes me look out-dated and ignorant. But hello, it used to be the case. Now, self-published e-book authors with work that sells extremely well are getting offers from agents and publishers. Think The Christmas Box and The Shack. Think Amanda Hocking and Karen McQuestion.

Self-published authors with anything that sells extremely well will get offers from agents and publishers. As they say, "Show me the money." That's what it's all about-- money. If an author, self-pubbed or whatever, is a potential money machine, then the calls will come.

But until you are a proven money-machine, be careful what you post online, and especially avoid EXCERPTS from your current works-in-progress.


  1. It's true. If you look carefully under Google's fine print, you will see they consider your blog material their property. They've even begun to offer to print your blog as a book (after you pay a fee).

  2. Amy, really? really? And then after what happened to Talli Roland's blog (they deleted it overnight, saying it was spam!!!!) I am seriously thinking of changing mine to wordpress. Thanks for this bit of info.

  3. Very good points, Karen. I've never posted excepts of my novels online unless the novel in question is already published.


  4. Gosh the comments and the post are very thought provoking. I am appalled by Google small print!

  5. One more bit of info I read on Twitter today-- people stealing blog content and epublishing it. I guess that's why they say that the lawless internet is the new old Wild West.

  6. This is very valuable indeed. i did think about doing it with something i'm working on but decided against it. Not for this reason, but because of fear. I have a hard enough time reading the bits I manage. i don't think I could write again if its been torn apart while in progreaa. I'm so relieved that their's a more credible reason for why I shouldn't LOL

  7. Who deleted Talli's blog?!??! What?!?! Oh no - what's going on!?!?

    Sorry, I got distracted by this!!! I've visited so many blogs with excerpts of their wip/e-pubbed, self-pubbled books - oh dear!! I hope there are steps they can take to copyright their work or safeguard them? Take care

  8. That's why I'm not posting anything about my current manuscript online!

  9. I don't even post what my stories are about except to say the genre and that's all.

  10. So now I know. All I have to do is become a money machine to have agents and publishers falling at my feet. Piece of cake, right? Right.

  11. Oh my, this is a distrubing turn of events.

  12. Almost makes it scary to enter a blogfest . .


  13. Good points, definitely. I'm super paranoid about posting my work online. I did share one scene once and got great feedback, but I was really nervous about it.

  14. Hmm. Just when I was getting the hang of Blogger, too. I might also look at Wordpress options.

  15. Okay, I just checked the terms and conditions of Blogger, and got this:

    "Your Intellectual Property Rights. Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Google services and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services. Google furthermore reserves the right to refuse to accept, post, display or transmit any Content in its sole discretion.

    You represent and warrant that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the rights granted herein to any Content submitted.

    You may choose to submit, post, and display any materials on or through the Blogger service or under a public license (e.g. a Creative Commons license), whether by manually marking your materials as such or using Blogger service tools to do so. For avoidance of doubt, Google is not a party to any such public license between you and any third party. Also, for avoidance of doubt, Google may choose to exercise the rights granted under (a) the public license or licenses, if any, you apply to your materials or (b) this Agreement."

    So while Google can reproduce anything we post on Blogger, we still own it and can do with it what we wish. I guess it's a subtle difference. Someone wiser in the ways of publishing laws would know better than me.

  16. Hi Karen .. good 'X' .. by the sound of it ... I'm glad I'm not wandering around in the publishing world ..

    ... they steal ebooks too and put them out slightly changed for the incorrect spellers etc .. and they make money from your e-book .. can't remember where I picked this up .. but it's true.

    And yes - your blogger blog and mine .. are valueless as Google owns it - interesting .. n'est pas?!

    Cheers - now I need a glass of vino .. Hilary