I’ve been thinking about doing a series of excerpts from my novels for a while now, but the argument for whether you should post your work online or not has been raging for even longer. I want a chance to get my work out there, show you guys what I’m trying to do, and get some feedback on it, but I don’t want to ruin my chances of getting published later. So I’ve been checking out all the arguments, gathering opinions, and really thinking about what I want to accomplish with posting my work online.
The two sides of the argument are pretty well represented in the article “Stop Being Afraid of Posting Your Work Online” and its counter “Be (Slightly) Afraid of Posting Your Work Online”. Yeah, this is frustrating the heck out of me too. If you don’t want to read both of these posts, that’s fine. The first one talks about how writers benefit from posting their work online. It’s testing the market, building a platform and getting feedback that makes the book better. The latter article says that those things are all well and good, but fiction writers should be worried about other writers stealing their ideas.
I don’t know about any other writers out there, but I was really insulted by this. I am not a thief. There have been plenty of times where I’ve heard a pitch and thought (and usually said) “I’d read that”. There have even been one or two that I’ve thought, “Boy, I wish I’d come up with that first”. But it has never crossed my mind that I should steal the idea – even if I think they’re doing it wrong and I could do it better.
Besides, I have way too many good ideas of my own to waste time developing a passion for someone else’s idea (not to mention a plot and all that’s inherent in writing a book). Are there really good writers that don’t have their own projects who spend their time trolling itty bitty author blogs looking for good ideas to steal? That’s like being a world famous chef who has no kitchen and no food, so he sneaks into your house to raid your pantry and use your stove. I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who will copy something in order to avoid doing their own work – there are, it’s called plagiarism – I’m just trying to put things in perspective. And, for the record, everything posted on a personal blog is protected because it’s technically been published.
So, let’s say the evil supervillain is out there. After he’s found my brilliant idea and rubbed his hands together saying “Bwah ha ha”, he still has to write the book better than me (and I use personal experience few others have so now we’re talking about a disabled, evil supervillain). And he has to be better at snagging a publisher. Good luck with that one. I’ve heard lots of “Oh that’s a great idea” and not one “I’d love to publish that for you”. He’d also have to be faster, and since I’m in the process of shopping for an agent, that’s pretty dang fast.
I guess it’s a double edged sword. I want to get some feedback and build a readership, but I have to accept that there might be risks.
All of this is to say that I’m starting a new series of posts. Every Wednesday I’ll put up an excerpt from my current work in progress that has something to do with disabilities. I want this to be a chance to look at how disabilities are handled in fiction (especially fantasy), and if you guys have any suggestions or critique, I’m always looking for feedback to make things better. I’m not going to post the whole book, or even whole chapters or scenes. Just passages that highlight something specific that I want to point out. And Fridays will still feature my regular mix of disability topics, book reviews, and writing advice.
So I hope you guys enjoy the journey along with me as I embark on this new endeavor. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you next Wednesday.