Publishing a book as a blog

Dan Jones

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I've been subbing my finished manuscript, The Hole In The Sky, to agents since the beginning of the year. It's not been completely fruitless - I've had three requests for full manuscripts out of about thirty submissions, but none of those have led to any sort of offer. I've had a chat with a couple of agents who have said that Covid has impacted the literary agency sector, with staff being furloughed and/or laid off. Apart from being crappy news in itself, it has meant that response times for submissions have become even more stretched; IMO it may lead to agents becoming even more conservative than they are at the moment, and concentrating on selling what they have in hand rather than gambling on what might be in the bush.

I do believe in my manuscript - it's had very good feedback but I'm aware that aspects of it might be a hard sell. I'm not giving up on subbing to agents completely but I am mulling over my options.

There's obviously self-publishing, but I'm loathe to go through that process without an audience in place.

So I was thinking about what Andy Weir did with The Martian, and posting the novel piecemeal, chapter by chapter, up on my blog. As far as I can see, this could generate an audience over time, and leave one still with the option of self-publishing (or even trad publishing) in the future. Has anyone any experience in doing this, or any thoughts?
 

Brian G Turner

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I don't think blogs have the audience they once had, especially since people seem to have moved to Facebook and Twitter instead. Andy Weir managed it successfully, thousands of others haven't.

Personally I'd suggest patience - just get on with the next book and wait for the publishing market to improve. :)
 

Don

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Blog books were an exciting diversion ten years ago. When passionate amateur authors "discovered" the Internet and poured forth everything bottled up inside of them.

It's a shame if the era's already over.
 

Trollheart

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The other problem is that if you publish online I think you exclude yourself from being picked up by a publisher later, if you go that route, as it's seen as being already published.

If you like, I'd be happy to look at it and give you my thoughts.
 

Ambrose

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Sounds similar to Dickens though he was writing his book as he went along through the magazines
 

Dan Jones

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The other problem is that if you publish online I think you exclude yourself from being picked up by a publisher later, if you go that route, as it's seen as being already published.

Is that actually the case? My instinct (though I've been wrong before) says that it wouldn't count as it wouldn't have been allocated an ISBN number, nor distributed in any contractual sense. I would have thought that one could simply take the blog down instantly if required.
 

Brian G Turner

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Electronic rights can be a funny thing. It was a major reason for only publishing excerpts for Critiques on the public forums, to safeguard authors from effectively blowing their electronic rights, and therefore causing problems with agents and publishers. I don't know how it stands now, but years ago the thinking was that once a work was online it was considered published and the electronic rights were used up. Things may or may not have changed since.
 

autoretscriptor

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The big question is -- does your blog have enough readership to bring your book to anyone's attention?

Or, if not, do you know how to increase your blog's readership?

If you offer your book on a low-page-volume internet platform, you're essentially giving it away to the public for no monetary reward. And you may even compromise its potential future with traditional publishers.

For a few rare individuals, the blog idea could work. For the great majority of authors, I'd say don't do it.
 

Thiswriterinme

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I'm not sure what the general perception of sites and apps like Wattpad and Inkitt are on this site, I've mostly found them to be very YA based (which isn't a bad thing). However, they can be a good way to post your book chapter by chapter on a site/app where there are a lot of readers looking for new and upcoming works. Build a following.

Wattpad has payment options, although I don't know the process or requirements of that.

I read an author's books on there who had also self-published on Amazon. The way she got around it was publishing her first draft chapters on Wattpad and self-publishing fully edited and redrafted and reorganized copies on Amazon.

Another Wattpad author got one of her books published through a YA ebook publisher, but had to remove the last 10 or so chapters from Wattpad once it was published.

I'd still caution about publishing the whole thing on a free app or site like that because it can hinder the publishing process. Traditional publishers like exclusive rights, even if they haven't read the manuscript yet. My dad (who has worked in and around publishing forever), says that some publishers will pass up manuscripts that have been distributed to a lot of publishers at the same time, even if they don't specifically say they want exclusive rights.

Other publishers do say they will only accept manuscripts of work that isn't published anywhere else in entirety, and that includes online for free. I've seen author's on Wattpad and Inkitt post one chapter a week or every other week, or even one a month, then if they get a publishing opprotunity, they will make an announcement that they won't be publishing the remainder of the book on that particular site/app.

You have options other than blog publishing that allow you to build an audience, but make sure you do your research on how that could impact traditional or self-publishing in the future.
 

Guanazee

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I think you're jumping ship too fast if you've only submitted to 30 agents. Have you participated in Twitter events like PitMad? Or applied to mentorship programs?

What if you wrote flash fiction on your blog, maybe connected to your novel, to develop a readership without giving away your big work? I just started doing that (I haven't promoted it yet), mostly for fun as the flash fiction isn't related to anything. But I figure if it develops a readership I can then self-publish a collection of short stories. In your case, you could do that while you continue trying to find a place for your novel, then if it turns out you want to consider self-pubbing your novel you could offer your blog fiction collection as a free ebook to those who buy your novel or subscribe.
 

bretbernhoft

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I'm currently working on a story that, when finished, will be published in its entirety as an independent website; similar in a lot of ways to building a blog for a book. This is to bypass the blockages you've described, as well as others, so that I can put out my work without much hassle. Although, I don't expect to make much money off the work, despite being labor intensive.

The upside to using the Internet to self-publish is the immediacy and wide availability of your work. The downside is being responsible for everything that comes with publishing Online, from Web Analytics to Web Hosting and on. I'd encourage anyone who is thinking about self-publishing Online to do research into the subject and see where others have been successful.

Good luck in your work.
 

Brian G Turner

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I'd encourage anyone who is thinking about self-publishing Online to do research into the subject and see where others have been successful.

Do you have many examples? I can only think of 2 people who have enjoyed great success from publishing to a website first.
 

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