Poor Choices: Posting Your Book on Your Blog

Should you post your book chapters on your blog?  This is a constant point of debate for bloggers and there are two loyal camps who constantly battle over it.  Every time I stumble across another blog pondering the idea, I reiterate my points and I figured that I would announce them once and for all right here:

In my opinion, you’re undermining yourself, your book’s opportunities, and your writing career if you publish your book on your website.  Same goes for short stories and poems–especially for the shorter content.  Why?  Because first publication rights are a Big Deal.

Though blogs are great, unless it’s super popular, it won’t get the writer as much exposure as getting published in an online literary journal or magazine would. That’s the great thing about online publications: it’s still online, but has an already established audience of avid readers, probably has better SEO than your personal blog, and you might even get paid a bit.

I’ve interned for a couple different publications and it’s always so sad when the writer includes a link to their work and you find out that their poem was already previously posted on a blog, website, or facebook. It ultimately disqualifies them from publication. First publication rights are valuable so I believe in being careful and strategic where you use them. Use them wherever their best for your writing career.

Concerning books and chapters though? Never publish them online first, in my opinion, unless you know from the outset that you’re going to self-publish in other venues (kindle, Nook’s PubIt). The publishing houses won’t be interested.

And just so you know: NEVER EVER POST YOUR WORK ON FACEBOOK!  Have you read the fine print?  You post it and they own it.

Do you agree?  Disagree?  Is there a particular benefit that you feel outweighs the potential harms?

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4 thoughts on “Poor Choices: Posting Your Book on Your Blog

  1. wiseblooding says:

    You offer some very helpful insights (about which I’ve wondered). I was especially struck by your “NEVER EVER …” regarding FB. When WordPress posts the first couple lines of a blog post to your FB page, is that considered a FB post? I appreciate your thoughts.

    • hannahkarena says:

      I’m glad you found the information useful! And I’ve never actually considered that loophole before, it’s a good point. I’m going to look into it/ask around and get back to you.

    • hannahkarena says:

      So, I’ve looked into it and this is what the Facebook agreement has to say:

      “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

      I’m guessing (but I’m not a lawyer, so I could be totally wrong) that if you have your blog linked to your facebook and it posts a link to your newest content, because it’s “in connection with Facebook,” technically they have a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license” to it. So they have rights, but not exclusive rights, to distribute it as they desire. And since you posted it elsewhere first (on wordpress, for example) then that’s where the first serial rights are held.

      Did that translation theory make sense to you?

  2. wiseblooding says:

    Thanks for taking your time to look into this. Yes, it’s about what I expected. Facebook offers some exposure writers hope to attract, but there’s a price (surprise, surprise). It’s a word of caution all writers should weigh prior to posting (or linking). Thanks again.

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