Drowning or selling your babies...

The inflammatory title really illustrates how I feel about publishing web fiction.

There was another thread that addressed the dilemma some writers had about writing and yet not having an audience. In a way, that problem relates to what I was wondering about.

I know there are some writers out on the web who like to write, who need to write, and need no other reason than to write. To see it all come together on a single website online is enough of a satisfaction for them. Then there are those who simply want feedback, comments, reactions to what they are doing. They want someone to talk to, maybe to secure confidence in their abilities or to perhaps improve them.

But what about those who wish to publish their stories in book form or in magazines? Many markets (not all, I know) do not accept anything that has been previously published physically or electronically--or if they do, you get significantly less for it. If earning cash is the concern, some may counter than that all a person needs to do is make their stories into e-books...but as far as I know e-books have largely become obsolete. Then of course there's donations, ads, etc....but isn't that all dependent on how much traffic your site gets? Isn't that hard to do nowadays?

Okay, okay...so here's my ultimate question: Do you folks prioritize your stories? Do choose which of your 'babies' to drown, sell, or keep? Do you have stories that you are happy just to write for fun and don't care if you make a profit? Do you have stories that you think are good (and original to boot) and are willing to risk publishing online with the hopes of earning cash, or even some attention in the writing community? Do you have stories that you think are TOO good and TOO precious to risk publishing on the net?

I myself have these. At the moment, the story I'm writing is a character-driven serial with a basic setting and some basic situations. It really is just an exercise for me to see if I can manage to write a decent story on my own--polish up on my dialogue and exposition skills--and have fun at the same time. Then I have some other stories that I really don't want to have on the net. Maybe I WOULD publish some of them if I could get my own domain and manage a good advertising push, but as it stands I don't have the time or money for that. (or experience for that matter)

Now I'm not turning my nose up at web fiction, and I'm not saying I don't care about the quality of my web novel. But some of my projects I have high ambitions for--so high that I don't want to risk damaging their success unless I'm certain of the outcome. With web fiction...can anyone say the outcome is ever certain?

Sorry for the long post. I guess I just wanted to rant.

For me, my current story, I enjoy publishing it online. It originally started out as something share with my close friends, but it grew into something more. I enjoy this story, it's different, it's unique, and it's the closest thing I've got to a baby (I really try not to use this analogy because babies are harder to take care of). At any rate, I don't think this is the story I would publish traditionally (unless I were to publish it through a small publisher). I want to finish this story first though before I work on more serious stuff. This is just a little hobby story and it would be nice if it spiraled out of control and became famous, but I'm not going to be sad if it doesn't. This is my fun, non-profit (though donations would be good) story. I have more serious stories waiting for their chance to be written and developed, but I don't have the discipline or the focus to work on more than one story at a time, so they must wait until I'm finished with this one.

I'm like that too, with my bigger projects. I'm kinda shaping them with time, but I know I need more education and experience (and focus helps too, ha ha) to get it all down right.

Hi Eikasia,

For me it's not a question of quality. That's not saying my present work is up to the level I'd like -- it's getting better, but still leaves a lot to be desired. But, even when (if) it gets to that level, I'll probably still publish it on my website. Here's the thing: getting your work published is a full-time job. One that pays next to nothing for the vast majority of writers -- a lot of whom are *really* good at writing. And more to the point, it's a sales job. For me, a sales job is what my punishment will be, should I end up in Hell.

I like writing. I'm fairly good at it, and I'm getting better. But, for me, turning my writing into a job would pretty much kill it for me. That's a good part of the reason I publish online, and probably always will.


I'll copy something that I said in another forum recently: being as my story is set in Australia (and not Sydney or The Outback), that it's urban fantasy (without vampires, werewolves or an MC in tight leather) and that there's no sex...I don't think anyone would pick it up. It's also weird and really built as a serial story - or at least a series, and putting that in an agent query is pretty much...death. The first book doesn't work right unless my MC is dead at the end of it. >_> And combining the first two books would lead either to some monstrously huge work, or having to completely restructure it.

I like publishing on the net, it gives me nice goals to achieve on a weekly basis, it makes me think on my feet, and I get to get feedback as I go.

My darlings aren't so precious as to be protected from the big, mean internet taking their virgin first rights. I'd rather net publish, then self-publish and get two books done a year (...if I actually get back on track with MH...) than spend a year hunting for an agent and have the book stuck in limbo.

I do have a couple of projects I'd think about throwing at agents, but not because they're "too good" to be net published, more that they're standalone novels and my net publishing could be platform for that. "Ooh, this chick gets X hits a day, we can capitalise on this".

I publish CotF online mostly because I wanted to try out the serial format. I like getting feedback as I write, and it's also my first foray into fantasy so I wanted to let it develop as organically as possible.

I do have other things I'm working on that I don't put online though. I have a novel I've started and need to travel to Ireland before I can really get into it. It's set there and I've never been, so I don't really feel like I can finish the thing before I go (next summer). It's a much more ambitious piece and I'm going to seek traditional publishing for it, especially since I don't think it's ideally suite to web audience.

I also write a lot of poetry, which I submit to other publications, both online and off. I have a deviant art page for my poetry, but I only keep a few things up there, and generally not my best work. I send my newest and 'best' poems out to magazines and reviews and such, especially since I need to build up some publication credits to apply to MFA programs.

Self-publishing poetry on the web just doesn't seem as viable as publishing prose, especially given how small the poetry-reading community is to begin with. (anyone interested can find my poetry at harlequinmac.deviantart.com)

So yes, I save some things because they are 'too good' to not seek traditional publishing, but I also haven't put up everything else I write because I don't want to draw focus away from CotF (especially with poorer quality work that may sour people's impression of me as a writer).

I put Street online because I wanted to build a fanbase, and prove in public that I could create something easily worthy of publication. Now I'm satisfied I've pretty much done that. Just need to finish the series.

I'm not planning on any other web fiction, partly because the creative output isn't there, but mostly because my work -is- good enough for traditional publication and I don't want to kill its chances. Street got published, yeah, but I'm setting my sights on a bigger house for the next one.



Orignally I started writing Echoes together with characters that were provider to me by my friend Adam Spencer at the time. I was writing to simply further his universe. Before I knew it I had altered the characters so such and extreme he told me i could just have his universe and run with with it.

At that point I was writing with the hope to profit from it. As time passed and I wrote more and more, the desire for money droped from priorities as a felt my skill was not succisient to be published mainstream.

Currently I stand at just wanting my decade of brain storming to be read. Its read thats all I want. ^_^

Oop! Confession time.

I'll be honest. If a publisher came along and said he'd pay me x amount to publish Children of the Halo, I'd be all for it. If he asked me to take down the website, I'll tell him where to go shove it.

So I'm totally in this for the money, I'm in it for the attention and I'm in it to improve. Does that make me a bad person? :P Sometimes, I guess.

The money I'm making at this point is fairly negligible. This month is the first month I actually pulled in enough to pay for my hosting bills, thanks to a donator. The money I make off of PW is about $3/month thus far. I won't complain about this in the least, at least I'm actualy pulling in enough that it's making a (small) dent in what I would've had to pay.

The attention is good too. Part of the reason I'm doing this is to at least have my name known at the least among a particular niche. I receive the occasional comment and I'm always happy to read it, and it makes me feel good that something I created affected someone in some way. Someone blogs about it, I'm ecstatic. It also provides a number of people I can communicate with to find out how I can make the experience better.

They can also help you improve, Trygve started out leaving comments and pointing out typos and other nasty writing habits I have, and I've learned from it. I even sent him the rest of the book so he could give it a run-through before I even post it.

I do it for many reasons. Probably even reasons I haven't thought of yet. That pesky unconscious mind always surprises me at the craziest times.

@ EJ Spurrel: I don't think there's anything wrong with seeking a little profit from publishing online. I myself put up a donation button on my website. If I felt it would be worth it, I'd put ads too. What's the harm in a bit of extra cash? Here in the USA, a few extra bucks can help--despite what many think. You're very fortunate to have someone to send your work too. To be honest, I don't think I've ever had someone help me with my writing that much since my freshman year of high school. My English teacher taught me a lot about writing, and its because of her that I've evolved so much.

@ Paulgswanson: That's quite interesting! Y'know, I sat down a few months ago and evaluated my desire to write. I hope to go to a university and study creative writing--get published, get into the art world and start putting out things for people to enjoy. But was I doing it for the money? I realized that I didn't care about the money. If I had to have a day-job I wouldn't care, so long as my work as an artist and writer was enjoyed by someone. But I admit, I want LOTS of people to enjoy it. I know not everyone in the world will like my story, but I want to reach as many people who MIGHT. That's what drives me nuts. In order to get yourself heard, you have to pay--and that's when normal funds get strained and you'd need something extra to help you. I admit, I dream of my novels becoming popular movies, comic book series, and video games. I'd like a legion of people to contribute to an ever growing universe--so much so that it grows beyond me. (kinda like Lucas and Star Wars...though I'm loathe to compare myself to that man.) If I got paid something small (or nothing at all) I think I'd be okay. The success would open enough doors for me that I wouldn't have to worry about opportunities to earn income, and I could do more of what I love: making stories.

@ gmcdermott: I have some stories and ideas that don't really function well in a traditional novel format. I like to deviate and even challenge the restraints of storytelling. Comic books do that all the time. I think that's part of the reason I'm doing my own web serial. (the link in my sig goes to my novel, btw, just so people don't think I'm talking about something nonexistent)

@ cpoirier: As I said before, I find myself torn between writing for fun, and needing money and needing to work through certain channels to even reach my audience. A lot of the success on the net seems to stem from a combination of luck, money spent, and general socializing. Luck is an unquantifiable commodity, money is finite and dependent on how prepared or well off you are, and socializing with others to help facilitate interest ends with you. After you send the info out, its up to those who heard you to spread the word. Will they do it? Or will they keep to themselves? I'll be happy if I can get a few comments on my work now and again, and I love writing and letting my creativity stretch (so to speak) but I've gotta say that a part of me will always yearn for that connection with others.

SUDDEN THOUGHT: Feedback and comments from readers are well and good...but is that really enough? I'd think the QUALITY of the review is what we're really looking for. Joining a writers group or connecting with other writers online could be a solution to this little dilemma. The latter case I was thinking of starting in my area, but I was afraid all I'd get were gothy teenage girls writing about the occult and how much they're misunderstood. The former case...well I guess I'm working on that right now, aren't I?

</rhetorical ranting>

Of course getting GOOD reviews is about getting them at all...not one person has rated mine yet T~T makes meh sad.

I'm pretty much writing my online thing as a personal exercise, to see if I can actually keep this BS up. The story is basically creative table scraps of mine, I don't care that much what really happens to it, the point of it is being able to pull the serial thingamajig off. It helps me get in the habit of regularly writing so that maybe I can finish my goddamned book sometime.

I'm pretty much writing my online thing as a personal exercise, to see if I can actually keep this BS up. The story is basically creative table scraps of mine, I don't care that much what really happens to it, the point of it is being able to pull the serial thingamajig off. It helps me get in the habit of regularly writing so that maybe I can finish my goddamned book sometime.