rebelbagwan's picture
rebelbagwan from Queensland December 7, 2012 - 1:39pm

Hi good people, do any of you work off a website, that is post your stories and get readers to come to your site ( obviously no money involved, but then most zines are non-paying) rather than just submit to external sources or perhaps use a combination of these. If so do you get feedback and good vibes or does it tend to become someone speaking to themselves or begging for readers?  Or other problems encountered. Thanks for the feedback.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like December 7, 2012 - 1:41pm

Do you mean a blog?

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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books December 7, 2012 - 1:50pm

No, it's incredibly frowned upon.

rebelbagwan's picture
rebelbagwan from Queensland December 7, 2012 - 1:53pm

Yes it could be a blog, or perhaps more expansive than, just looking for feedback on problems encountered or what has been found to be productive, rather than a pain. A lot of writers blogs seem to have not much action around them.(for instance).

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like December 7, 2012 - 2:24pm

I don't know what it takes for a blog to become popular (other than the author's "real world" success leading to followers.) Probably requires other people vouching for it, linking to it, reposting it, etc.

does it tend to become someone speaking to themselves or begging for readers?

I sometimes post mini-stories and other bs, but I don't post with steady regularity, nor search for readers, nor complain about my lack of readers. I have ~50 followers. Some have <10. Some have thousands.

All I know for certain is: posting stuff at random does not automatically lead to fans.

rebelbagwan's picture
rebelbagwan from Queensland December 7, 2012 - 2:45pm

No, it's incredibly frowned upon.

Good for you sparrowStark, youir name is nearly as strange as mine, that's a good start. 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like December 7, 2012 - 2:53pm

No, it's incredibly frowned upon.

Why is that frowned upon? How is it different from self-pubbing a book?

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz December 7, 2012 - 3:06pm

I planning on pretty much doing the same as J.Y. once i get up and running. I have some ideas for it that will be exclusive to my site (such as short serials, maybe comics, a few other projects that I don't want to publish). But other than that, I plan on going the traditional route and just having any published stories linked to my site.

I'm a long ways away though.

EdVaughn's picture
EdVaughn from Louisville, Ky is reading a whole bunch of different stuff December 7, 2012 - 6:04pm

I've posted a couple stories on my blog. But it was for a flash fiction challenge and that's what you did so others could read it. never really got much feedback though. So I don't really see it as a productive way to go.

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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books December 7, 2012 - 6:35pm

 

Why is that frowned upon? How is it different from self-pubbing a book?

Well, although there have been great strides made in self pubbing a book, that's not exactly an exalted way of doing things, either. But it is different and for a few reasons 1) posting your own work to your own website will not bring followers if you don't have any. Publishing your work to an online or print mag will expose your work to potential readers. 2)If you are actually running an online mag, it is generally frowned upon for editors to feature their work heavily, because then--you aren't really running an online lit mag, are you? You're just showcasing your work under the guise of being a legitimate publishing market for other writers. 3)It is a hell of a lot easier to publish short fiction in legitimate markets than it is to publish a book. When people see a well done self pubbed book, there could be a number of reasons they chose to self pub--when people see a well done piece of self-pubbed short fiction, there's only one reason for it to be that way--laziness (and that's assuming the short fiction is well done).

And it should be noted that many self pubbed authors do publish short fiction the traditional way--because honestly, how else would anyone know who they are?

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like December 7, 2012 - 7:20pm

how else would anyone know who they are?

I still don't know who they are. 

Seriously though, you make three valid points. Nevertheless, there are people who do publish read-worthy stuff on their blogs, personal sites, etc. If I scour the web and find a tiny little lit-mag to read, as one of fewer than one hundred people who will even get past the title page, I'm not any less off the beaten path than if I read some author's personal page.

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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books December 8, 2012 - 11:11am

Ture, although I would say that with the hundreds of markets an writer can skim for one story or another, they have the opportunity to move to greater readerships, where with a blog/personal website, you (general you, of course) have to find some way to draw people in all on your own, presumably with fewer resources than the litmag. In that way, I suppose it IS like self publishing a novel, except with a novel you do have some things at your disposal you wouldn't for a short story (being able to sell on Kindle, goodreads reviews, having copies to send people, etc).

Ben Freeman's picture
Ben Freeman from Charlottesville, Virginia is reading everything I can December 8, 2012 - 11:21am

I know, for me personally at least, I'm never going to randomly read author's blogs I've never heard of or haven't read somewhere else first. If I read a few short stories in lit mags and I like an author's work, I'll seek them out on twitter/blog/etc to find more of there stuff.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter December 8, 2012 - 11:51am

I have a couple stories that I posted on my website a while back. One of them isn't near my best work and the other is one I decided to publish there because I was too impatient to bother sending it to more places. Mind you, this was before I really sent submissions out seriously, so I guess I've got a bit of an excuse.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with posting the odd story on your blog/website for the sake of giving your readers a bit more to read, but definitely try to get that stuff out to real markets first, you know, in order to GET readers in the first place.

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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books December 8, 2012 - 12:01pm

Actually, Bek you reminded me I do have some flash up on my website. I intended it to be more regular, haha. But I had already had those stories up (here in the flash contest on the front page) which had exempted them from most legitimate markets. But I didn't do it thinking it would bring me readers, I just wanted to have something to put on my blog. And a couple years ago before I had any idea what I was doing I did publish stuff to my website--but now even if that stuff was brilliant it will be forever in stasis on a website I don't even have access to anymore!

I would just rather get the most out of a piece I write, and I think the way to do that is to publish through legitmate markets (I'm even trying to get paid now). I don't make the rules, but I do have an understanding of why they exist and I hope to traditionally publish a novel someday. 

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon January 1, 2013 - 10:40am

Well Mr. Rebel, how I've usually seen it done is writers post their stories on their own site (or blog, or whatever the kids are calling it these days) after they have already been published elsewhere first (and that they have the rights back on, of course). They put a link on those to the pubs they're in and a link from their story in the pub back to their site. I have seen the same thing you have, they usually invite discussion on their sites but there usually isn't much. I guess people tend to chat where there's already a large group to chat with.

You probably know that if you post  an unpublished story on your site, a lot of pubs will consider that published and won't consider it. But you know, however you want to do it, as long as you know the deal, right? I keep thinking I might do a site too but I am lazy. If you do it, give us a link so that we can all drop in and snoop on you. :P

rebelbagwan's picture
rebelbagwan from Queensland January 1, 2013 - 12:46pm

Yes Carly, I took a look how it is "correctly" done, mainly links to already published material and if you write a book or collection then promote it with gusto from that site and perhaps have a few free stories for people to read to get a little of your style as giveaways.

This would be independent of blog style posts most often about non fiction writing subjects, anything from complaints about writing groups to writing advice. Some people after they have had some success then start instructing others on how to get some success themselves. Others go more toward the Indie publishing model which is not a favorite on this site at all,( Litreactor ) I've got two minds about it but I have pretty much decided to stick with conventional publishing for the time being.

One thing I would like to do on a personal site at some point is add images and other media to stories to give them another dimension, that does not seem to have been taken up much at all. Most of the publishing  sites I see stick pretty much to prose alone. Definitely room for a little more creativity here.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks January 1, 2013 - 1:54pm

Don't let the idea that being against self-pubbing is "looked down on" here; there's a really great column in the magazine about one of our staff publishing their own book, and it's fascinating. Personally, I love the idea of a good self-pubbed book, because of the enormous amount of control I'd have on my writing.

Anyway, I run a literary magazine online, but I'm not sure how close it comes to what you're asking. I never, ever feature my own work there. That's way too easy and would look pretty cheap to my readers. When it comes to stuff like anthologies and other projects outside of the online-zine, I probably won't include any of my own work, because I'll be doing the editing and won't want to, again, be that person who makes it incredibly easy for themselves to get published.

I've never seen an example of what I said above, or if I have, I've never seen one that made me think, "Wow, are they just using this magazine as a platform for themselves?" However, I've seen a few author blogs, and some are goddamn incredible. The last one I saw was a poet's blog where they did nothing but post their own, unpublished poetry, and link to it in their bio for their traditionally published work (they submitted to Parable with the link in their bio, for example). It isn't good for business -- they'll have trouble re-publishing their blog posts -- but it made me actually more interested in publishing their poetry. It made me ask myself, "Am I more interested in authors who want to be published to make money or am I interested in publishing authors who want to be published to be read?"

Do what feels natural. Don't make the choice based on your likelihood to get published; I feel like it's sort of cheap and debases your value as a writer.

rebelbagwan's picture
rebelbagwan from Queensland January 1, 2013 - 5:08pm

yeah good points Courtney, there are also many good writers out there who have blogs and tell their stories on them, the bulk of these are creative non fiction or variations of this. Many don't consider themselves writers but are just as proficient as many people here. But what they tend to do is add to the writing with images and videos and just found out there are thousands of public domain images available which add much to a story.

Well sometimes I think, who cares about the correct and incorrect method of publication, there is tons of bullshit and preciousness there as well, same as anywhere. The only concern I would have is if you (yourself) alone read your writing and find interest or enjoyment there, then that is not sufficient (for me anyway)

There are another set of writers who use their own website and all social media to boost their own position including promoting others work ( but only to the degree it benefits their own position, business model types) that seems to work for some as well.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated January 2, 2013 - 7:19am

As much as it pains me to agree with Court, she is right. Although I'd say it is more vice versa, no one will want to read something you wrote that you weren't into. Even people who write popular bad books are into writing popular bad books. They get all excited and giddy over it, and you'll never be able to crank out enough content to make ends meet if you aren't excited too.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks January 2, 2013 - 9:57am

HOLY FUCK. Dwayne just agreed with me.

...

Woah. That blew my fucking mind.

Anyway, he's also right. Do it for yourself, goddamnit. Get excited about your writing.