Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Now Even My Blog Works Against Me?

Apparently some editors at literary journals (online or otherwise) will now not consider work that's been posted on your personal blog (even just in draft form) because they consider the work to be previously published.

Is this fair or unfair? Let's have a debate.

18 comments:

Lobster Face said...

It's BS. What about all those bloggers who got book contracts after the blog craze was discovered?

Anonymous said...

I think it's all right. It means blogging is legitimate -- it means it's *publishing.*

Book publishers have always reprinted stories that have appeared in journals, so they won't have any issues publishing blogposts. But lit journals like to be the exclusive. And frankly, they don't have much going for them these days, with rising postal rates, so I don't blame them for sticking to their guns here.

I wouldn't want to publish sloppy seconds!

Anonymous said...

As a writer who publishes in literary journals all the time I have to agree that posting on a blog pretty much sullies the work. What do these online journals have if not exclusive rights to your work online. If any schmoe can see your work in various evolving forms on your blog, McSweeney's or Small Spiral Notebook isn't going to want to publish it. It wouldn't be fresh or new, which is what they boast they have: the freshest emerging voices, or whatever. I think if you post on your blog, you pretty much blow your wad. Not to be crude or anything, but you get the picture.

me said...

Neither. As someone who has a story in a reputable e-zine (which used to have a print version as well) but no print pubs, I do not consider myself published. They can call it whatever they want.

I liken it to self-publishing a novel. Is that published? No, because the author hasn't sold the rights. If it is good and sells, a traditional pub house might pick it up.

As for journals saying a blog means published, screw them. They are a bunch of elitist pigs!

How's that for a debate?

Writer, Rejected said...

Hold on there, cowboy. Are you saying that when McSweeny's publishes you online only, you don't consider yourself published? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the lobster. If I show my journal sketches of my fiction to five friends in a public forum, then I'm out? That's B.S. They just are always looking for ways to exclude the masses. Elitist pigs is right.

me said...

Yes. No pay, no play, partner.

Writer, Rejected said...

Missouri Review doesn't pay. Does that mean it didn't happen, cowpoke? Should I erase it as a published short story from my resume. Note: I didn't really ever get published in the Missouri Review, but others like it. This is just an approximation for protection. But I do think that resting the fact of publication on payment is a little strict. In the world of the short story, a lot of reputable places do not pay squat.

Eileen said...

I would consider it to be unfair. To me published work means that it has been reviewed and selected for publication by an alternate party. If I print up copies of my book and sell them- to me it wasn't published. There was no screening. It isn't about the pay - although money is a good thing- it is about the idea of it being selected for publication versus simply put out where it could be seen by the public.

I can see why they are doing it- but I still come out against. I can't see where there are that many blogs with such a huge readership that it would impact the publication.

me said...

Listen here, amigo, money=published. Oh, wait, that goes against my arguement about self-pubbing. Damn my expensive education.

I agree with you that a Missouri Review is kinda like published, but really. Is the goal to just pub in MR? Wouldn't the writer's goal be to sell a collection to St. Martins for a nice advance.

Here is a question for you. Let's say a newer mag offered $1,000 and MR offered zero. Who would you place your story with.

Writer, Rejected said...

Um...buckaroo...I would go with any esteemed outfit that would have me. But I think you know that.

If I can hold the story in my hand in a book, or send it as an email link to my Mommy, then I consider myself published.

And, yes, as my little blog attests, my goal is to publish my collections somewhere....anywhere...please.

TIV: the individual voice said...

This whole issue is pathetic and depressing. The idea that our writing is a commodity. That blogging a piece in process makes it used merchandise, tainted goods, like a beslutted virgin. It is. It is exactly like the concept of virginity I grew up with. Our manuscripts have to be virgins. No, not just virgins. our manuscripts have to wear burkas until "accepted" by the publication that will then deflower them. Fuck. Virginity in the manuscript realm. This totally pisses me off. Thank God I have a separate career I hate.

Anonymous said...

That's why the rejections are all about love and romance. Because really they all just want to be the first to have their way with your sweet little virginal manuscript all the way to the bank. TIV is right to be depressed. Publishing is depressing. Isn't that why we come here to this blog in the first place?

zumabitch said...

Oh, God, TIV, that was a classic! From my perspective, you gotta look at all the "little people" who are out there writing away, friendless or nearly so, putting every effort into their words and music and then...your own blog becomes the dirty writing on the bathroom wall when the publishers see it.

Perhaps a crude analogy, but will a record company refuse to sign an artist whose little indie CD has sold five copies at a crappy, Monday-night gig?

However, as I said on another post and as commented on by others above, this is double-edged sword. It is good for bloggers who aren't creative writers (me, some of the time) and not so good for the others. It is particularly good for pundit-type bloggers and those who write about their messy, distracted sex lives.

Interesting debate you got going here, WR.

Anonymous said...

You won't be depressed when you publish your blook (book from your blog, that is). I say screw 'em.

TIV: the individual voice said...

That's so encouraging, anonymous. You made my day. I wish I could visit zumabitch and anonymous, all of you nice anonymice, on your own blogs. I mean, it's not like Tiv is my real name or anything. There should be an Anonymice, Inc. blog for all of you.

Lipstick Mystic said...

I think mags, especially literary publications, might be amenable to just retaining first North American serial rights or firstime publishing rights, which always frees you up to publish the material on your website or blog afterwards. This might be the best compromise, realistically, for places that demand or expect an exclusive.

Also, with most blog editing or website editing software you can delete the offending entry from your blog or site, which might placate some editors. It still means that the piece will be referenced in the search engines (assuming Google, etc. have already send their spiders to visit it.) But it will mean that people finding the piece through those links end up at a dead link and the magazine or literary publication would still technically have an exclusive.

Just some ideas.

The fact is, electronic publishing is changing everything -- and many "norms" will probably be thrown out the window before long, even mags' exclusivity expectations.

Oh - about the bloggers who were published later - usually they weren't actually able to republish their blog entries; they were often hired on the basis of their prior writing on their blog but then had to come up with new stuff for their novel or non-fiction book at a major publishing house. I know several authors, one non-fiction and two fiction, who did this. They still had to provide new material for the publisher and couldn't use their old blog entries. The blog just became a means to be discovered - which can be great, of course.

Jennifer

Writer, Rejected said...

Jenny from the Blog! Thanks for coming around and sharing the wisdom. I feel swayed.