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September 8th, 2003, 10:12 AM
My sister is currently working on a novel and she's thinking of displaying it online.

I am here to ask a question:

Does publisher publish a novel that is on the internet and can your idea be stolen?

September 8th, 2003, 01:25 PM
I can't answer you question, but do you know if she's considered only placing part of it online to generate some kind of buzz about it?

September 8th, 2003, 02:14 PM
I'm sure you'll get opinions from people with a little more experience in the field, but I thought I'd offer a few thoughts.

From what I understand, putting a few chapters up online will not hurt one's chances of being published. However, if it is already up in full form it is technically already published (electronically). Often publishers are looking to purchase "first publishing" rights, which are forfeited if it is already published.

As well, technically one's idea could be stolen. However, this is rather unlikely. As soon as you write something down, it is your intellectual property. It's very easy to prove that you wrote something (print out a copy, seal it in an envelope and mail it to yourself, making sure that it's postmarked with the date). If anyone were to steal my stuff and make a mint, I'd be sure to thank that person for doing all the leg work after I leave him or her bankrupted in civil court.

This being said, there is a lot to gain from putting stuff up on the web - especially for beginning writers. Feedback is the best tool for improving the writing craft that I've found yet. As isajeep said, you can use it to generate some interest in the book, or even build up a fan base. I think that it would look really good to say in a query letter: "I have established a website where over 2000 individuals have read my work and commented that they would like to read more."

September 8th, 2003, 06:49 PM
Originally posted by choppy
I think that it would look really good to say in a query letter: "I have established a website where over 2000 individuals have read my work and commented that they would like to read more."

Everything I've read and been told about query letter state that these type of comments are not appropriate for query letters.

My sources could of course be wrong, just wanted to share the information for whatever it is worth.

a/k/a KATS

September 9th, 2003, 12:50 AM
Three samples chapters seems to be acceptable. She could join a critique group and display as much as wants, and no one will know.

September 9th, 2003, 11:32 AM
My opinion is this:

1) Reading a novel online is tedious and I personally couldn't finish one.

2) That being said, I wouldn't put a novel online unless I just wanted to see how it was accepted. If it was a novel that I thought I might want to get published, I wouldn't put the whole thing up.

3) To actually answer the question. Most publishers don't have time to go looking for stories. Unless somebody actually hands them something (that somebody being an underling who has already read it), they won't see it.

As well, for some reason, a lot of publishers don't accept submissions via email or in electronic format (i.e. on a disk). I'm not sure exactly why and it will vary from publisher to publisher.

As for the query letter thing I agree that you shouldn't praise your OWN opinion on something or those of your friends (naturally biased). However I don't see how expressing that other people who you haven't met liked your story is such a bad thing. It's called marketing. If 2000 people read the story online and liked it, then there's potential to sell books there. Anyway, I digress.

As for the stolen ideas thing. A lot of people are concerned about that. I know I was. Then I realized it's not really an issue. I have yet to see a TRULY original story idea though I have seen some unique and interesting spins. I have to admit, I've been influenced by stuff I've liked and see some of that style cropping up in my own. You can't stop that. I personally would be flattered. As for outright plagerism, there are ways to stop that.