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Old May 18 2009, 11:50 AM   #27
D. M. Domini
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Chicagoland
Gender: F
Fan of: Afra Lyon, and Robinton!
Now Reading: Sabriel by Garth Nix
Default Re: So--who does original fic?

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Originally Posted by Anareth View Post
If they're reviewing on amazon, I don't care what they have to say--just that they paid for it. Ultimately, I don't care if you love or hate it, just that you paid for your copy.
Amazon doesn't require that you buy a book before commenting/reviewing. They require that you have an account with them, and I think that you have bought *something*, but it doesn't matter what. I've only bought MP3s from them, but I've been able to review a few books. (Before I gave them my CC# though I could not review.) You can check the book out from the library (free, yes?) then comment on Amazon.

That said, yes, people buying a book is the ultimate statistic. Although even then, there's a lot of variables coming into play. If a book is put out but never marketed and the bookstore only buys one and shoves it in a corner where the cover gets damaged, nobody will buy it. If the coverart is totally wrong for the demographic of the book, the people buying it will not like it and will return it. Of course, this is what the publishing house and bookstores are there for--to make sure that that doesn't happen.

Mmm, I'm too statistics-happy; I'd have a blast trying to figure out what happened so I could correct it with the next book if I was ever in that position, where a book that I or others thought would do well didn't.

Although re: if people hate or love a book--I personally would want people to love the book. It's not bad business sense to analyze why a particular book was popular, and try to replicate some of those factors.

AMC is so popular because she has things in her stories that make them very attractive, even when the overall quality is lesser in some books than others.

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The idea of writing something and not getting paid for it is where writing for fun comes from--I'm not going to write something and stick it on line somewhere, destroying its financial value (the first-run rights) just because THAT'S what I wanted to write. If someone told me tomorrow that they'd pay me for a novel with my short-story characters, who bore me to tears at this point, I'd drop the book I'm writing now like a hot potato and crank out something with them. It wouldn't be that much FUN, but I'd do it.
Ah, I see what happened. I'm mostly speaking from the perspective of an unknown, unpublished author and I wasn't sure how we suddenly jumped onto the topic of writing for fun rather than for profit, since the only thing I write for fun anymore is my fanfic. I haven't written a non-novel-related original fiction scene for...over a year now, perhaps two years. Yes, if you have a contract or someone offers you money to write something, write it. That's just basic business sense. I'm not so lucky that people will pay me to write yet, but I am writing with the ultimate goal of publication.

Actually, I take that back...I've been doing some copy writing recently. But it's not fiction, so it doesn't count in my mind. Heh.

Damned if I won't use it as writing samples, though, if I ever need samples of copywriting and non-fiction. But it's a totally seperate sphere from the fiction publishing world, and not really applicable here, so yeah.

Anyway, apologies for not understanding before--I see where you're coming from now.

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Under copyright law, giving it away for free reduces or elimiantes the value of the product. Once it has demonstrable value I may relax that (as some authors make some materials available as a freebie) but that's not about being nice and having fun, it's about increasing market share.
Heh, I've never said I was doing anything to be nice and have fun. :p

There is obviously room under copyright law for marketing purposes, because things are given away all the time to market and generate buzz. And, that's the entire point of sticking something online, at least from my perspective, as an unknown, unpublished author.

I suppose I am more concerned with the heart of the law rather than the letter of it. And yes, technically that can get you into trouble; whether you take the risk or not, is up to you. But from a business perspective, I see no conflict. I currently know of no online venues for distributing a novel from an unpublished, unknown author that will make that novel later on a highly dangerous thing to purchase from a business sense, as in, people-who-will-or-will-not-buy-the-book (people meaning end consumers). And there is the real-world example of Tor with John Scalzi's Old Man's War. True, not everyone will be that talented, or that trusted to be able to do such things with a publisher, but it shows it can happen. Probably some clause in the contract stating that they were aware it was on the author's site, and said author promises not to repost online or elsewhere without permission, yadda yadda. This is what legal clauses are for.

This being said...although I am championing the idea that an unknown author sticking a book online isn't going to particularly hurt their sales options either way, I do think it's pointless unless you intend to do the hard legwork to get enough buzz generated about it, and that's a steep upwards battle and you need to have an idea of how marketing and the net works, a lot of time, and determination *beyond* completing the novel, which most authors don't. There's just no real distributors of online content of a novel-length size that are valid markets (either valid in a pay-market sense, or valid in the sense that you can build up a fanbase). Traditional publishing is still the way to go.

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Domini, as for putting things up after they have been sold - I have just been reading my contract, prior to sending it back signed and sealed. It is specifically stated in the contract that I am selling to my publisher the right to publish this material, in all kinds of media. This includes online. I would be breaking my contract and could be sued if I posted online (this is considered a form of legal publishing these days, in some cases) work that I had already sold to my publisher. I would certainly have to pay back my advance, and could probably be prosecuted (though almost certainly wouldn't be, as they know I'm broke!) for doing so. So not just stupid, also illegal.
Well, this is why I said it was stupid in the first place. If you have a signed contract in your hands, you'd be insane to put up anything AFTER the fact for the reasons you stated. You'd be breaking your contract, and breeching a business agreement with your publisher, and most importantly, harming the trust between you and your editor.

But haven't I been saying that all along?

Quoting myself...

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If I sold the story FIRST, then yes I'd not stick it up without permission from those I sold it to, or until the rights have expired.
I've only been saying it's a different story *before* the work is sold. When it's still "yours". I don't see how the current real world environment can realistically damage the worth of a work that badly, and I can't see how the publishing world won't adapt to new authors having had something online on their own website or the like.

There shouldn't be anything difficult about putting a clause in a contract that had to do with a story that was put online informally for a time. Just say something along the lines that is is known and awknowledged, the story has since then been removed and there are no known commonly available copies online that the author is aware of, and if any are discovered the author will do their best to remove them, and that going forward the author has to ask permission to put it up online if they desire this, since money has been paid for it and the publishing house now controls it. You could even work something like this into a boilerplate. (If you were an agent or publishing house.)

Make the law work FOR you, dammit.
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Read my Pern and Talent fanfic on Archive of our Own.

Fanfic WIPs: The Day Benden Went to War (Pern/Talent); Slosh (Pern); Weyrbred Lads (Pern); When You Fall Asleep /Between/... (Pern)

Completed Fics: Flight (Pern), Flight v2 (Pern), Golden Glow (Pern)

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