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Well, let's see I am a: Proud parent of one daughter, Proud wife of a wonderful man, Proud American, Proud daughter of a Vietnam Vet, Proud daughter of a very caring woman, Proud sister of two wonderful and Christian men, Proud Christian Woman, Proud teacher, Proud good listener, Proud Twilight Mom and PROUD BUCKEYE FAN!!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest Post/Question

I was speaking (via e-mail) with Michelle Fayard the other day and asked her opinion on the following question: Do you think it’s wise to post on my blog excerpts from the book I’m writing? It’s not that I’m worried someone will steal my idea, but I don’t want to put too much of me out there. What do you think?

Michelle's response really gave me something to think about. I'll get into that in a moment, but for now, here's what Michelle had to say.

I’ve read in some places that you might not want to put too many excerpts out there for one reason—if you generate a lot of buzz about your book but people can’t buy it yet, they might get frustrated and not listen when the book does go live.

However, I’ve seen so many authors do excerpts, it makes me wonder about the validity of the advice.

Where I stand right now is somewhere in the middle. I plan to post only occasional snippets until I have a contract, and when I post these excerpts, I’m accompany them with a short article about it’s bigger significance. For example, I might post the lines where my character Reeca, the daughter of an abolitionist, encourages Josepha, a slave, to help make quilts with coded messages for use on the Underground Railroad. Then I could continue the post by talking about this fascinating possibility, which still is open for speculation today among historians.

Once I have a contract for my current book, the closer I get to the pub date, the more I’ll up the snippet volume both on my blog and on my Facebook fan page.

Pre-published author Michelle Fayard has more than 20 years’ experience as a writer and editor, and her nonfiction articles have been published internationally. Michelle lives in Northern California with her husband, Marcelo, and their 12 rescue cats.

To read the first five chapters of her historical young-adult novel, The Underground Gift, visit http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/ and click on Work in Progress.

So now what I was saying. Many agenst these days want an author to have a platform; something that matters to them, that they are teaching the rest of the writing world. When Michelle mentioned that she might start having excerpts accompany an article about its greater significance, well I couldn't help but make a connection.

It's a blessing in disguise that Tough Love comes with its own educational platform: HIV/AIDS. When the time comes, I plan to showcase information about the AIDS crisis, both here in the states and worldwide. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for me to have gone through the whole ordeal...and to be writing this book.


Michelle Fayard said...

Marcie, I'm honored to be guest posting on The Incredible Shrinking Woman and very glad that the idea of tying in snippets with bigger-picture articles resonates with you.

Although it makes me sad to learn you've known troubling times, I truly believe that from adversity comes strength--and strong books. And, as you said, it also makes for a powerful platform. The Underground Gift would never have come to life had it not been for two experiences I had.

Wishing you a great day!

Michael Offutt said...

I would not recommend to anyone to publish their work online. I've seen too many people that I know personally who have had their work stolen and repackaged.

Marlena Cassidy said...

I don't know if I'd like to put up unedited excerpts of my novel on my blog or online, but I'm okay with putting up other things that aren't going to be published and have been looked over a bit. I think if you can put up examples of your writing, people will be more inclined to buy your work, especially if they already know what they're getting into.

Jen Daiker said...

I think it's fabulous to seek advice and decide what's appropriate for you!

I, personally, have heard not share your excerpts. Not for people stealing, but because you could break a contract before it's even signed with a publishing house. Too much shared is the chance to have something ruined.

I suppose you'd say it's best to be careful!

Fabulous blog! SO glad I stopped by!! I'm a new follower! I do hope you'll stop by Unedited to say hello!

Anonymous said...

Hey I am a new follower! Found this through Michelle Fayard's blog.

I really enjoy reading! Keep it up :)



Michelle Fayard said...

@Michael, I agree it can be a tricky situation. I might post a sentence here and there, and I even have the first five chapters posted on scribd.com, but then again I don't think anyone who would want to steal my idea would want to go through the time and effort it would take to do the necessary research to complete the storyline. :)

@Marlena, I'm with you. If I have a manuscript at the ready-to-be-shopped stage, I might post a portion of it online. Otherwise it's off to the readers in progress for that particular story line. :) I also agree that once you have a release date, an excerpt can really help sell your book. It's also much less likely anyone would have the time or the inclination to plagiarize either.

@Jen, you bring up an excellent point that once you sign a contract, you need to get permission from the publisher to post excerpts from your book. That can be a difficult thing to remember, after having had the manuscript live on your computer for so long ... (Marcie, I'm so glad you and Jen met in the blogosphere.)

@Lev, it's good to see you on Marcie's blog. Both of you rock!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Good question to think about. Actually, at a conference I went to a couple of years ago, an agent cautioned against putting your work out there before it's been published. And I've been following the SCBWI Conference online, and either one of the featured editors or agents (I don't remember which) also was against the idea for unpublished writers. Once a book is published, yes, but then only snippets to whet reader appetites.

Anonymous said...

Michelle - that is very sweet :) Thank you!

Alleged Author said...

What a great interview! Michelle really is great, isn't she?

Marcie, I bet your experiences made you stronger and created a powerful book. Though I know that is little solace...

Lynda R Young said...

Great post. I like to read the excerpts of books before I buy, but that only works if the book is available to buy.
Small snippets before publication I think is the way to go. Teasers.

Ellie Garratt said...

Thank you, Marci and Michelle. You've certainly given me a lot to think about. I think, like Michelle, I lie somewhere in the middle. I'm quite happy to talk about my WIP but not keen to show too many excerpts until it's polished to perfection and/or I have a contract. And I still worry about someone pinching my idea!

Ellie Garratt

Michelle Fayard said...

@Elizabeth, I think you hit on the key difference--is the book slated for eminent publication or does it have a more distant release date? It's great seeing you on Marcie's blog!

@Alleged Author, no one wants or deserves troubling times, but you're so right that if by having them we can maybe help another, it makes the pain more bearable.

@Lynda, I'm with you that an excerpt can make the difference for whether I decide to buy a book. I also believe in the power of small snippets before publication as teasers. What I've done is gone through my manuscript and highlighted some intriguing sound bites, so when I have a contract and a release date, I can start building up interest for the book's Amazon pre-order campaign.

@Ellie, you've hit upon another crucial factor--is your work polished. If not, sharing is OK, but with your critique group instead. :)

marcie_ann said...

Great feedback, everyone. I love my online community!

Jen, I stopped by, looked around and became a new follower. Thanks for the invite (and for following me)!

Lev, thanks and welcome. Glad you are enjoying your stay. :)

Alleged, I hope that it created a powerful book/story. It definitely made me a stronger person; one that counts my blessings more and more. The main goal of sharing my story has always been to stop one, JUST ONE, young lady from making the same mistake. Publishing Tough Love would be another way to make that happen.

Deana said...

I think I am more on the not posting it side of the fence. I think for me I would just rather the readers be totally suprised when it is published. I am all about snipets though once I have a deal.
Now that is just my plan, everyone is different and what works for me may not for the next:)

Great post Marcie and Michelle:)

Oh and Marcie, I think you were meant to write your book:)