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September 1st, 2004, 12:22 PM
Another quick question about publishing, if you don't mind my cluttering your forum with threads:

If you finish a novel, and submit it to a number of publishers and agents, does this prevent you from making a .pdf version available for people to download? Does anyone know how a publisher/agent would react if he liked your manuscript, but then found out that 40 people downloaded it from the internet?

I'm curious because I don't really expect my novel to ever get published, so when I'm done I'm just going to give it to anyone I meet because I'm a big fat literature whore. However, I'm also going to submit it to agents and what have you because even though I think my novel is silly and unimportant, I don't think it is poorly written, and I would not be opposed to a commercial arrangement. (like any of us would!)


Rocket Sheep
September 1st, 2004, 10:11 PM
Most publishers would consider that you have forfeited your first rights by publishing the whole thing on the net.

They may be interested in purchasing the second rights if you withdraw it when you sell it to them. But the first rights will be gone. There are sites that explain copyright in each country... exactly what First American Rights etc. are. But I've heard American-based discussions about this before and I know the first rights will be gone. And publishers LIKE first rights.

You could publish it on the net and market it hard and then show them great sales figures that would make them interested in purchasing second rights. Or you could try marketing it first to publishers or agents and then putting it on the net if it doesn't get any attention. What's your hurry if you don't expect to make any money on it anyway?

September 2nd, 2004, 12:21 PM
Ignorance is bliss when it comes to publishing. Lol its a hard, unkind sometimes hellish world...

September 2nd, 2004, 12:38 PM
With publishers, the issue is warranties. When you sign a book contract with a publisher, you warrant to them in the contract that, among other things, there are no legal encumbrances on the rights to the project, that no other type of publisher has rights to the project, etc. So while 40 people downloading the book is not a big deal in terms of sales potential and doing a reprint contract (second rights as Rocket termed them,) it may be legally less appealing, especially given that one of the people who downloaded your novel might turn around and sell it or hand it to other folk, depending on the technology used.

With agents, it's that you are tying their hands. If you interest an agent in your work, the agent then wants to go out to the print market with every advantage possible for selling the work. That you put the novel on the web and were self-publishing it likely limits the sort of deal they can get for you, and may strongly limit the appeal of the work for publishers in the first place. Therefore, while agents do reprint marketing sometimes, they'd rather be selling a manuscript rather than a previously published work most of the time, the exception being if the work has been published by a small press or the author in print and has done extremely well.

So I would agree with Rocket -- it makes more sense, since you're going to do it anyway, to tackle the agents and publishers first, and if that does not result in a sale, then POD is still a viable option, and if you then end up doing POD and market yourself aggressively, you being a big fat literary lady of the evening, you might rack up sales that might then draw the attention of a publisher or an agent in a reprint deal. It's worth trying it that way because hopefully it will pay out one way or another, and you get all your options, whereas simultaneous subs and POD publishing might cut back your options.

September 3rd, 2004, 03:10 AM
That's exactly what I wanted to know, thank you.