Keep it Secret. Keep It Safe

In a recent conversation with a writer, we were discussing the Internet, and the writer mentioned how he was posting some of his unpublished book manuscript online for people to read. This was not the first time I’d talked to a writer who had this idea.
Author:
Publish date:

In a recent conversation with a writer, we were discussing the Internet, and the writer mentioned how he was posting some of his unpublished book manuscript online for people to read. This was not the first time I'd talked to a writer who had this idea.

Though something like this may seem like a good plan—especially if you're actively looking for advice and/or feedback—posting material from an unpublished book on the Internet is a big no-no if you still want to sell the book.

First of all, as detailed in a previous post on copyrights, you're inviting other writers to steal your idea. Secondly, posting material online makes it less valuable to publishers, and therefore, less attractive to agents. Material that's available online for free is less probable to sell, hence agents' hesitancy taking on such projects.

Perhaps your goal is to put good material online in the hopes that someone such as an agent or editor will come across the site and contact you. Unfortunately, the odds of this are very, very low. If you really are looking to get your work noticed by agents without going through the traditional submission process, my best advice is to get short stories published in prominent journals, or get your nonfiction articles published in prominent magazines. Agents read those publications, and they sometimes contact writers out of the blue and say something along the lines of, "I enjoyed your article in Prominent Magazine. Do you have representation? Have you ever considered writing a book-length manuscript?"

And that's when you say, "Well ... funny you mention it, because..."

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Magazine Cover Reveal, Literary Agent Boot Camp Announced, and More!

This week, we’re excited to reveal the cover for our upcoming July/August issue of Writer’s Digest, a Literary Agent Boot Camp, and more!

Camille Aubray: Understanding the Nuances of Human Nature

Camille Aubray: Understanding the Nuances of Human Nature

Author Camille Aubray discusses her recent novel The Godmothers, including what prompted the book, why writers should write everything down, the importance of understanding the nuances of human nature, and more.

How Personal Writing and Journaling Is Good for the Soul and Why Your Journal Is Your Soul Mate

How Personal Writing and Journaling Is Good for the Soul and Why Your Journal Is Your Soulmate

Bestselling author Laura Munson shares how journaling lead to a breakthrough in her fiction writing and how you can use journaling to do the same.

From Script

A Fond Farewell to Netflix’s Lucifer, Writing Video Games, and Do Experts Stand in the Way of Your Writing Goals?: From Script

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, exclusive interviews with Lucifer TV writer Chris Rafferty and video game writer Ian Ryan. Plus, learn about screenwriting trailblazer France Goodrich Hacket, who co-wrote It’s a Wonderful Life, and advice on when and when not to approach a writing expert to reach your writing goals.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Misusing Dialogue Tags

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Misusing Dialogue Tags

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is misusing dialogue tags.

Poetic Forms

Boketto: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, Walter J. Wojtanik shares his relatively new form, the boketto.

Paul Neilan: On Implementing Dark Humor

Paul Neilan: On Implementing Dark Humor

In this article, author Paul Neilan explains how he came up with the idea for his mystery and dark comedy novel The Hollywood Spiral.

WD-Poetry-2020-WinnerGraphic

Deborah Hall, 2020 Writer's Digest Poetry Awards Winner

The winner of the 2020 Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards discusses the inspiration behind her first-place poem, “The Loneliest Whale."

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Split Up

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Split Up

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have your characters split up.