Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area by way of Chicago is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien December 19, 2016 - 6:56pm

Anybody heard of an "author submission service" called Writers Relief?

I'm not particularly interested in the service, but am interested in one of their statements.

In the Youtube video linked below, the speaker explains that Writers Relief considers work that's been posted online (to blogs, to the Writer's Workshop portion of this site, to other critique sites, etc.) as previously published. They therefore summarily reject all such work.

I've never heard of such a restriction. Has anyone?

Am wondering why this is an issue to them? 

If you don't wish to view the entire clip, fast forward to 2:02. The statement runs 13 seconds, from 2:02 to 2:15.

So, what's the conventional wisdom here? I know plenty of people who have submitted their work to this workshop and later that same work was published. After all, that is the intent of the workshop.Why would Writer's Relief automatically reject work that's been posted online?

Thanks in advance for your answers.  

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmYfiCdrrrE

 

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break December 19, 2016 - 8:37pm

Nothing in workshop should be considered published because it's secured from the public via the pay wall. 

Sheri Attani Rohrbacher's picture
Sheri Attani Ro... from San Jose, CA is reading Crimewave Eleven: Ghosts December 19, 2016 - 10:39pm

Brandon is correct. Don't even bother telling them.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area by way of Chicago is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien December 19, 2016 - 10:52pm

But there are other critique sites with free memberships, allowing the general public to read every submitted story. I'm not (currently) interested in their service, so not planning to tell them. Just trying to understand why they would adopt such an unusual, extreme stance. What is the advantage to them? I can't see any. 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 20, 2016 - 6:04pm

I'm certainly biased, but I think there's an important difference between putting something up in a workshop setting (open to the public or no) and putting something up as a finished piece. Most traditional definitions have to do with making something available for public sale, and I'd modernize it to mean making something available for public consumption. Something is available for public consumption in a workshop, but the purpose of putting something in a workshop is critique and honing, not consumption. It's the difference between making something available for taste testing and putting it on the shelf in the grocery store.

It's an extreme stance they take on what is and isn't considered "published," and if it was me (and it's not, nor do I agree with the policy), the stance would exist for these reasons:

1. A likely deluge of stuff that's already been published online,and I'm tired of telling people that I'm not interested in re-publishing anything.

2. The ability, as a company to say that the author violated the terms of service with the original publication platform as opposed to the service doing so. In other words "You were supposed to tell us if something was already published, and you didn't, and we're wiping our hands of the situation."

3. The (not always true) idea that if something is published in one form or another and is great, it will have caught fire on its own. I don't agree with this concept, but I think a lot of marketing folks probably would.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area by way of Chicago is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien December 20, 2016 - 6:48pm

Helpful, now I see where you get your moniker. Great stuff, thanks for the perspective. I'm not interested in their service, suspect it's a black hole of "just a few dollars more," with ultimately little or nothing to show for it. But I was curious to understand their reasoning. I think you nailed it on all 3 counts.

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading The Fever by Megan Abbott December 22, 2016 - 5:12am

I've heard of it before, I think it is relatively common. Basically the publisher wants first publish rights, or print rights, or whatever the correct term is (especially if they are paying because I think there is a cost difference between that and reprints) But from what I understand locked threads and forums are fine (we used to post all community competition stories in locked threads so the stories wouldn't count as published - and then remove story files after voting/competition was over.) Pay to access workshops and classes are also fine. I guess it's to cover the publisher against people having already posted their story on their blog or some other such site, they want to pull maximum audience with their content and if it's available elsewhere for free then this probably isn't going to help. I have no idea what the rules are regarding sites like wattpad. 

Just my thoughts on the matter :)

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami December 22, 2016 - 11:58am

Doesn't matter much to me, I'm done trying to pitch a book that's a hybrid of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, and Autofiction with a touch of surrealism.

I'd rather put it up on Amazon and be done with it.

I have other things to write you know, like Middle Grade Fantasy.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break December 22, 2016 - 12:20pm

"Doesn't matter much to me, I'm done trying to pitch a book that's a hybrid of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, and Autofiction with a touch of surrealism."

Sounds like a case of too many genres in the kitchen.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area by way of Chicago is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien December 22, 2016 - 7:49pm

Brandon and Voodoo, thanks!

Your explanations make sense.

And since Writers Relief is a submission service they don't have the time or the bandwidth to deal with multiple interpretations of what constitutes previously published work, or exceptions based on pay walls, privacy settings, etc. They just say NO and that's that.

Thanks again, appreciate the insight.