Thursday, 15 July 2010

Getting Down and Dirty with Blogfesting!

OK, so there's a lot of people out there convinced blogfests are a bad thing for aspiring writers!

At one point I sort of sympathised with that assumption until I read an article on a lit agent's web site, in which it was stated that if an excerpt of writing or first chapter is placed on the Internet (blogoland/wherever) many newbie writers fear it might be stolen or the idea/plot stolen.

The lit agent pointed out that the author of original content retains full copyright (date/time stamp of posted content proof positive or submission of content to any central deposit agency) and, should that then appear verbatim in a published novel written by another author a charge of plagiarism will stand up in court of law!

Personally, if some saddo writer out there can't think or plot for themselves then I'll take it as a compliment that they were desperate enough to steal a piece of my action, because that would mean I'm better at writing than they are!

So, let's analyse a few reasons why people won't or are merely reluctant to publish snippets of their work on the Internet, and thereby unable to participate in blogfests!

As the lit agent said "fear" is a huge motivator for excuses to everything and anything that might imply one to be less than perfect in chosen field of writing. Perfected manuscripts are a rare commodity, hence one sees and hears tales all the time on bestselling author blogs about rewrites, how editors wanted more of something, sometimes less of something else, and many authors and lit agents alike despairing editors' sanity in some of the requests/demands made of writers.

So, according to professional opinion, your baby may be your baby and you may think it's perfect, but just wait until an editor starts hacking it to pieces - think you're a perfected writer now, think again!

OUCH! Tough words, but thought-provoking all the same.  I've been there done that, and again out in the wilderness like all newbie writers and wannabe' , not because I chose to be out in the cold but because circumstances beyond my control (riding accident) took me out of the writing circuit. So I know where most of you are coming from, and how hard it can be to motivate oneself at times. When I eventually came to (bouts of unconsciousness) I was given books to read and suddenly realised I couldn't read, that I'd lost that faculty, which took literally months to recover and I felt ashamed because I couldn't read and couldn't write. Luckily it was a temporary thing, and I'm back on form. I think - judge for yourselves by reading my material!  

Now to issue of why blogfesting is a good marketing ploy - according to lit agent!

Lit agent was quick to note blogfests as "marketing tool" = extend friend base extend fan base extend sales of book when your name finally hits the shelves whether in cyber bookstore as e-book or conventional bookstores. People you've met via blogging will go buy your book if nothing more than to critique it, bash it to shreds, envy it and swear they could have written better, or they'll genuinely love it and praise you for job well done!

Lit agent's advice was look at your blog closely, not just your bestest group buddies who post on yours and you post on theirs; so on and so forth (same old same old - limited market potential) look out for new faces (even the silent ones) and go blogging = go marketing.

Lit agent advice: stick with your own kind until you've hit the publishing wheel, hanging out on published author blogs comes across as desperate to belong and shades of willing them to help you gain entry to their inner realm. Hanging out on lit agent blogs worse still, though he did put a big smiley at this point. :)

Oh whoops, hee hee, shall have to cut back on posting to queens of romance then.

This is an add on to above: How much should one bare on blogs, snippets of WIPs that is.

I noticed on a blog (somewhere) in comments:  re posting snippets from novels is not a good idea, as some publishers may consider it be already published!!!

Well, according to quite a few publishers including Carina Press (e-book publisher Harlequin) and Avon Romance & Harper Collins ( actively look to see if authors are already promoting themselves and their work! Good news, or what?

So, what's your opinion on blogfesting?


L'Aussie said...

Hi Francine. Love your post. I was interested in the lit agent saying if something appeared 'verbatim' a writer could be proved to be plagarising. I thought you couldn't even use an idea, although many of us have similar ideas. It always worries me. I'd like to know more about it.

Blogfests are great. Probably suit writers at some point more than others. I find blogfests get me looking at old work and I polish it rather than posting from my WIPs. I also whip off some flash fiction (under 1000 words) esp for blogfests. They do increase your followers, but are also time consuming reading everyone's posts and getting annoyed when people don't post. Overall, I am a huge fan of blogfests and have to pop off and polish my story for the blogfestofdeath tomorrow! Cheers Francine..:)

I don't see a 'Lovely Blog' award here. Why don't you pop over and collect it from moi. I've opened them up to whoever wants them..:)

Francine said...


Yeah, the idea/plot thingy evidence is a very grey area, apparently!

Very often publishers return manuscripts because content reflects something already on their books (bestseller). In some cases, in particular cases of plagiarism, it has been noted that publishers (editors) have been known to acquire plot/idea (supposedly/ inadvertently) from unknown writer and then asked established writer on the publisher listing to produce book to order!!! Think that sounds suspect? It happens - according to famous lit agent. It happened to one of his clients, and it happens quite frequently within a well known publishing company, though he was unwilling to print (black & white) who the publisher was except to say a romance publisher. My ears eyes are now on alert big time!!

Jane Holland said...

Thanks for the plug! It looks really lovely. Why were you anti-M&B?! If you're writing 'category' romance, try me at Embrace. That extends to everyone, in fact. If it's romance - i.e. not a saga, or chicklit, or a welding manual - we're open to reading new submissions.


Francine said...

Hi Jane,

I was never anti M&B, I was honest in saying I wasn't a fan of the new slant toward chic-lit in existing lines at M&B - meaning chic-lit is its own genre and those of us readers out here know where to find it rather than being surprised by such in a Modern Heat/Presents novel!

And, I felt recent winning comp entries aired chic-lit rather than that of category romance. Hence, my personal opinion set off a riot in the hen house!! ;)

Also, I think the days of over emphasis on raised eyebrows and the like went out with Barbara Cartland and other great category romance writers who are no longer with us. Times have moved on, writing of category romance - as seen through other publishers - is as popular as ever and seemingly the more steamy the better. I still maintain chic-lit needs its own line at M&B!

DL Hammons said...

Excellent points! And very timely where I'm concerned. :)

Francine said...


Glad you think so!

I just wish writers were less paranoid about theft and enjoyed the fun of sharing their work!


Theresa Milstein said...

This post will put many writers at ease.

I think if writers participate in blogfests, they'd better make sure they're good and aren't too long. I don't worry about copyright or scaring away and editor that my piece is already "published" from sharing a snippet. Jane Friedman at the blog "There are No Rules" believes it's good to promote your work.

Francine said...

Hi Theresa,

Absolutely: one can't promote enough in my book either.

Sharing snippets is no worse than posting an ad!