Does posting on writing sites create an issue if you want to query?

Wow, I’ve been posting a lot lately about writing sites… sorry in advance :sweat_smile:

I’ve recently been looking for some alpha readers for the first draft of my WIP so obviously the best answer to this problem would to post on writing sites in order to get the most feedback possible. But I also want to query one day and try my hardest to be traditionally published. Will me posting on writing sites become an issue and turn away agents?

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Not if you’re posting to places like TapRead, Wattpad etc. Because they don’t have any contractual rights to IP and you can always delete stories there. If you sign a contract with any of them that grants exclusive rights, then yeah, that would be an impact.

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Adding, it’s a different story if you self publish to Amazon, Kobo, Google Play… They hold distribution rights similar to what a traditional publisher would require, so they don’t tend to take self published titles unless stories have been out of circulation for some time.

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Thank you so much! This was one of my biggest fears when it came to posting to WP and stuff. Now that I know I don’t have to worry about that, I’m very relieved.

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Wattpad is probably the ideal if you’re going to pitch for an agent because they have the better protection against scrapping sites. So, there’s less likely chance of having your story unintentionally scrapped to a fake aggregator like mywuxiaworld.

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It shouldn’t. I’ve heard that some publishers will ask you to take the novel down when discussing book details, but that’s to be expected. But like @ / Veronica8 said, you can’t sign contracts for book related deals with Wattpad (or other sites) if you want a chance to be professionally published.

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If you post your story anywhere online, it’s considered published. Some publishers will only accept non-published stories, and some will accept them anyway but pay you less. First-publishing rights are just worth more.

That said, if you only posted the first chapter or didn’t promote it or get a lot of reads, it might not be a big deal. The best thing is to be honest with them about it.

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No, not unless what you query is on the writing website.

Publishers and agents are perfectly fine if you have Project A on a place like Wattpad but they will most likely reject your query if you query Project A. Your query has to be something like Project B or Project M… something that the general public haven’t seen before.

This is because of a few things:

  1. Posting on a writing website constitutes it as being self-published.

It doesn’t matter if you’re making money from it or not, if the book is on a website of any kind with the ability of people seeing it as much as they wish, it’s self-publishing. And publishers don’t publish self-published books.

The only times when they will is if: 1) your book has a massive following. This is how Wattpad writers were able to publish their books by publishing companies. 2) you make a deal with the publisher where they have you take the book down or leave up a sample that was a first draft. Or 3) you take it down from the writing website before you query and don’t mention it, making sure it’s revised multiple times with those revisions not making it onto the website.

Overall, these are possibilities that can happen but probably won’t.

  1. Publishers don’t like self-published books because they want the first rights to the book.

Publishers want to be able to tell the world that they published your book first. They can’t do this if you post it on a website… and that’s what the first rights basically is in a way.

But having you be on a writing website is fine, in fact, it’s encouraged because you gain an audience that way. But it’s best if you don’t publish a book on that website that you want to see in stores someday.

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Thank you!

So do you think it would be alright for me to post the first draft of my book to WP so I can get some feedback before diving into draft two? It won’t be an issue when I query as long as I don’t post a finished product of the book(draft 2 or 3) to the site?

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So I’ve done a lot of research on this topic, because I want to trad pub, too. Essentially, no, it doesn’t matter. In fact, larger the free audience, the more writing credit you have. Some agents or editors will consider this previously published, but it’s not a deal breaker. Only thing is, your agent/editor might ask you to take it down.
I’ve chosen to write some books off-site and keep some on-site, but that’s personal preference. I’m sure query shark had an article on this, too

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Thank you!

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From what I’ve heard, it depends on the agent. Some might be okay with an early draft being available online at some point (not when you’re querying), some might not.

The biggest disconnect is essentially in how much the agent understands about posting stories on a site like Wattpad.

  • Some might hold false beliefs that the story has lost first-publishing rights, or
  • That readers have seen it and therefore won’t pay for it anymore.

Both of those points are wrong, however, they’re only as wrong as the agent believes since the agents are the gatekeepers. You have to accept that you’ll encounter this attitude out there in the publishing world.

  • Wattpad doesn’t claim copyright (until it’s a paid story), so no, the story doesn’t lose the first-published rights. (that doesn’t mean that agents/publishers will agree)
  • Readers that come onto sites like Wattpad want everything freeeee. They’re not the same readers that will go to bookstores to buy books. So you aren’t cutting down your book’s audience at all. They’re two separate audiences. And in fact, by having an account on a site like Wattpad, you have a built-in audience already. You already have your marketing reach which is essential for all new writers (and publishers want/need/prefer that).

The publishing industry is very slow to catch up to publishing trends, still tries to hang onto their archaic ways. They will have to change as the digital world is putting them out of business, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for that to happen anytime soon.

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