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Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press : Conversation question • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
TerryRodgers
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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby TerryRodgers » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:20 pm

You beat me to it Maia. I was about to say the same thing.

Here's how I see it. Instead of worrying about someone stealing your work, spend the time to write. If you want to post something, don't post the whole thing. If someone steals a chapter from you, who cares, you have plenty of others. If someone swiped one of my novels and it made a lot of money, I have proof that I wrote it. And even if I didn't get the money back, the publicity will help in future novels. :D

The odds are lower that someone will steal an unknown author's work than how many new authors get published traditionally each year.

I see way too much worrying before there's need to worry. Write something. Write something great. Then write something else. Don't worry about anything else.

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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby gbtreasures » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:18 pm

[url]Here's how I see it. Instead of worrying about someone stealing your work, spend the time to write. If you want to post something, don't post the whole thing. If someone steals a chapter from you, who cares, you have plenty of others. If someone swiped one of my novels and it made a lot of money, I have proof that I wrote it. And even if I didn't get the money back, the publicity will help in future novels. :D

The odds are lower that someone will steal an unknown author's work than how many new authors get published traditionally each year.

I see way too much worrying before there's need to worry. Write something. Write something great. Then write something else. Don't worry about anything else.
[/url]

How do you know somebody isn't spending time writing? That's just the point. Writing demands time, effort, imagination, knowledge and sacrifice in order to create a finished work. And you ask why an author should care if someone steals a chapter or swipes a novel? See how easy it is to prove you are the author of something that made a lot of money. See how pleasant going through legal channels are. I'll bet you would be singing a different tune if you ever had that experience. Any author investing time in a project should be aware of the risks and the correct way to post, beforehand.

TerryRodgers
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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby TerryRodgers » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:10 am


TerryRodgers
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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby TerryRodgers » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:17 am


Ultimate Cheapskate
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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby Ultimate Cheapskate » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:05 am

Of course there's a risk of someone trying to steal your work, whether you're professionally published, unpublished, or any where in between. And, as others have pointed out, the risk is far greater the more successful you are, since what you're writing is obviously of value and of interest to readers. The risk is also real, particularly in the age of the internet: I know there are pirated foreign language versions of a number of my books floating around on the internet. The only thing you can do - again, regardless of whether you're just starting out or you're an established, published author - is to police it as best as you can and threaten to take violators to court, relying on your publisher to lead that charge, when and if you have a publisher.

I think the far more important issue is not whether someone is going to steal your work if you post it on the internet (they can steal it just as well when it's in print, or audio, etc.), but rather recognizing that once you post it on the internet (at least in many if not all instances), that work has then been "published," which can create problems in selling it to a publisher in the future. I think in real life those potential problems are often overstated (or at least that has been my experience), but nonetheless you really should be honest and reveal to a publisher interested in your work that a given piece has been "published" by you before online. I've been in that situation, confessed the truth to the publisher, and they've still purchased the piece, just as long as it was no longer still available for free online where I originally posted it. Of course people could have copied and republished that piece elsewhere while it was online (thereby violating my copyright), but eventually, once the piece is out there via the publisher, that's likely to happen anyhow.

There's definitely something to this advice about "Writing more, and worrying less", at least until you have something real to worry about. Good luck.
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James A. Ritchie
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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:08 pm


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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby Metilda » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:12 pm


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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby louiseh87 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:14 pm

Louise :)

---------------------------
- where I extend talking to myself to the internet sphere

"Over the Waves", Strange Horizons (13 August 2012)

gbtreasures
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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby gbtreasures » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:50 pm

There's definitely something to this advice about "Writing more, and worrying less", at least until you have something real to worry about. Good luck.

This attitude rubs me the wrong way. I didn't sign up to be chided about how many man hours I devote to my writing. That is a personal subject. I simply asked the original question:
Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press, and got everything from the correct answer to don't worry about it, to write something great, to "write more-worry less" bit. I thought this was a forum to help writers accomplish their goals by answering a range of questions and find the superior attitude very unprofessional. I believe there are many talented, great writers that have not been published and too many scared publishers. Using tact and diplomacy when responding doesn't cost anything, and can go along way. Leave the rejection for the publishers.

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Re: Protecting Unpublished Work Before the Printing Press

Postby DrG2 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:36 pm


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