Discussion → wondering.....

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    Scott Garson
    Aug 30, 08:03pm

    Lauren's short "The Hamburger Story," which debuted here (successfully!), just went up tonight.

    Wondering: when the doors open wide here, which is apparently going to happen soon, will that change you all's thinking about putting up not-yet-published stuff here? I know you'll still need a password, but that's not much of a barrier (really less of a barrier, in practice, than Narrative magazine puts up, because you can't stay signed in at Narrative like you can here).

    I guess I'm wondering if editors -- me included -- will start to think that too many people might have read the story here already, that it won't attract as many reads as other stuff......

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    Kathy Fish
    Aug 30, 08:23pm

    I've thought about this too, Scott.

    And I love Lauren's Hamburger Story.

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    David Erlewine
    Aug 30, 08:50pm

    I'll definitely be a lot more leery. I might put it a WIP in a private group (the workgroup one)...but that would be it.

    That Hamburger story is great.

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    Katrina Denza
    Aug 30, 09:07pm

    That's a good question. And yet some of workshop stories on Zoetrope. I'm too tired tonight to think of possible differences, but I'll come back to it.

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    Ethel Rohan
    Aug 30, 10:10pm

    Scott, you've voiced my private concern. So far, as soon as something I've posted here is accepted, I delete it. As you say, it's going to become a big issue as Fictionaut explodes.

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    Scott Garson
    Aug 30, 10:29pm

    kat-laughing at that one....

    e--yeah that's one remedy.... but then, especially if people give you a lot of positive feedback, deleting is hard. i know i've failed at the task!

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    David Erlewine
    Aug 31, 05:37am

    Kat, I think most (okay, many?) editors say that as long as you post a story in a password-protected place like Zoe it's okay. But once you post on a place like Fictionaut or your blog, etc., where anyone conceivably can read it...then there's more the issue Scott alluded to. It will be interesting as I've gotten some amazing feedback on here from wonderful writers/readers. Sometimes on Zoe I'm bombarded with folks just signing up yelling "show don't tell" and write happier stories or go get some help.

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    Katrina Denza
    Aug 31, 06:05am

    David--That's the difference I couldn't think of last night! Of course.

    I like Ethel's idea of taking down a story when it's accepted. (I used to do that at Zoe in the flash section)

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    Jürgen Fauth
    Aug 31, 11:57am

    Hey guys, great question, obviously I'm thinking about this too. When Fictionaut "explodes" (sounds ominous, no?) perhaps we'll reach a point where having a story do well here will become its own reward, bringing you all the reads, discussion, and queries by high-powered agents you've ever wanted. Until then, though, we're trying to give writers enough tools to adapt to different editors' ideas of what "previously published" means (and whether or not they mind.) Clearly, there isn't going to be one answer because every magazine will handle things differently. The hope is that the new privacy features will help you stay flexible.

    For instance -- you could put up an unpublished story or work in progress on Fictionaut (perhaps add it to a workshop group, private or public) and revise according to feedback you get. When you're happy with it, you set the story to "private." Now it's invisible to anybody but members of private groups you may have added it to. You submit, get accepted, get published. Or perhaps you leave the story public on Fictionaut until you have an acceptance. Perhaps the editor doesn't mind if it's up on Fictionaut as long as you add a link to their magazine -- or they might ask you to take it down, in which case you make it private. Once the issue with your story in it has been out for a little while and the rights revert to you, you could switch the story back to public without losing your comments and faves. At that point, you might add it to a "previously published" group, or the magazine's Fictionaut group.

    How does that sound? As always, the point is to get great writing read by as many people as possible, whether its by featuring the stories on Fictionaut itself or by leading people to the many excellent magazines out there.

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    Roxane Gay
    Aug 31, 12:25pm

    Matt Bell and I have been having an extended conversation about this and we'll be posting that conversation on the PANK blog at some point. There are lots of things to think about and I can see both sides of the issue.

    Personally, as an editor, I don't care how many people have read a story. Great writing deserves to be read. As editors, too often, I think we are concerned with this notion of virgin discovery. I also think sometimes we overestimate our reach or the reach of other publications. Writers, the good ones we publish, ask for so little. To my mind, the least we can do is offer them more flexible opportunities for their work to be read widely.

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    Kathy Fish
    Aug 31, 12:26pm

    Oh. I love what you just said, Roxane.

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    Lauren Becker
    Aug 31, 01:29pm

    Great topic for writers, editors, and writer/editors to consider ...

    When Scott accepted The Hamburger Story, I asked if I should take it down and he kindly said it was fine to leave up since it was a closed site. As an editor, I was excited to accept a story I loved that had been posted here -- just asked the writer to add a note that it would be published at DOGZPLOT. I think it is ultimately an individual editorial decision that will evolve as Fictionaut does.

    As a writer, I think it will also come down to personal preference. A lot of us here are readers of the same journals in which we are published. I am always happy to find that something I've enjoyed here has been published and I know this sounds really nerdy, but I feel sort of proud to see work from this community/venue/gang find good homes.

    Finally, speaking as Scott's example in raising this topic, I will say that I've gotten some very kind, positive feedback from people who read and commented on the story here and have re-read it at Wigleaf. Anecdotal evidence, yes, but I hope it proves true on an analytic basis, as well.

    (Thanks Scott and kind readers!)

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    Dave Clapper
    Aug 31, 02:10pm

    I'm with Roxane. As far as I'm concerned, "previously published" only means that someone other than the writer chose to publish it somewhere. Stories on personal blogs? Fine. Stories in workshop like Zoe? Fine. Stories on unjuried sites like Fictionaut? Fine.

    One thing I was talking about with Ellen Parker that would make Fictionaut REALLY useful to us as editors: a toggle on stories that can be set to published/unpublished, with the ability to search on each. As an editor, having a place where I can look for more content would be great. Not having to click every story to see whether or not it's been published? Super-great.

    Or I suppose that could be handled with groups, too, but creating an on/off select for whether stories have been published shouldn't be to hard to code, and would be a great service to editors (and, by extension, to writers, as they could start to see solicitations of their work).

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    Ellen Parker
    Aug 31, 04:02pm

    I think it depends on how "big" Fictionaut gets. This place could become THE top place people go to read new fiction online. If that's the case, having a highly rated story here might be a much bigger deal than having it in any lit mag. So I think it might be (even more) important to lit mag editors to offer content that readers can find ONLY in that publication. I mean, if the story is a big deal at Fictionaut and everyone is reading it here, why would editors want that story for their magazines? Everyone has already seen it! Readers would not want to see it again.

    As an editor who is always looking for good stories to publish, I would love it if I could use this place as a venue to find stories. But I would prefer it if the stories were, as Jurgen said, set aside in some smaller sub-arena that is available only to certain viewers. But maybe Fictionaut would become so big and popular and influential, though, that writers would not want their stories "ghetto-ized" in the smaller arena, hoping some editor might pick them up. Whoa. This kind of blows my mind. This site could become perhaps the ONLY place one need go to read good stories online. Online lit mags (and perhaps print mags as well) would be rendered unnecessary.

    I'm just thinking out loud here. This place has the potential to become a venue for reading fiction online the likes of which we have never seen! Right now I'm trying to wrap my mind around this...

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    Scott Garson
    Aug 31, 06:15pm

    three or four fictionaut/Wigleaf stories is way too small of a 'sample' to base any real conclusions on, but so far this is what i may be seeing: the stories that have done well here, generating lots of reads and response, have done the same on Wigleaf, and the ones that readers have overlooked a little here are also getting relatively fewer reads there. again, the sample's too small, but i do kind of want to believe that's it's not a zero sum game--that it's similar to money: more generates more. Maybe eventually success here could create a kind of buzz around a story, so that more people would be drawn to read it when it appears 'formally' on the outside (Something of that kind may happen in the music industry, I think, when bands 'give away' advance mp3's off an upcoming release). Lauren's example of rereaders in the case of "The Hamburger Story" would be consistent with what I'm imagining here.....

    on the other hand (thinking about Roxane and Dave's comments from the writer's angle now): i think many editors at higher-profile mags are going to keep wanting the pleasure of discovery, and i'd worry that not giving them that might hurt my chances.

    Also from the editor's angle: offering exclusive content is more than an ego thing: if readers come to understand that they can get much of what you offer elsewhere, they may not be compelled to come as much, and if they don't come as much, you're doing a disservice to your writers....

    Jurgen: is there such a group now? a private group where you could 'park' things for awhile after they get accepted?

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    Ethel Rohan
    Aug 31, 06:43pm

    Jurgen, forgive me I didn't mean "explode" to sound ominous :-)

    Very well said, Roxane.

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    Jürgen Fauth
    Sep 02, 12:37pm

    Scott, you wouldn't have to add a private story to a private group unless you wanted to show it to that group. You could just set it to private, in which case nobody but yourself could see it until it's time to switch back to public.

    (Which doesn't mean it wouldn't be fun to start your own top secret private group and invite your posse.)

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    David Erlewine
    Sep 05, 01:47pm

    great reply, roxane. that attitude as an editor is so cool. david

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