Before you hit “publish”

The internet is a marvelous place to explore, learn and communicate with other people. It’s easier than ever to create your own home online (via a personal blog) or your own email address. I was able to set up an email address in under 5 minutes on Google. Setting up a new blog is also a relatively quick process.

As a writer, I view the internet as an enticing medium. I can use the internet to open my work up to people I may never actually meet in person. I can create a document or web page with my writing, hit “publish” and within seconds it becomes available for the world to read. The ideal goal of course is to inspire comments, debates, RSS feed subscriptions, in other words, a following.

But, what of the drawbacks? The internet, via a personal blog (such as this) allows for an instant gratification of seeing your name and your work in print. It forces the individual to rely on their own self-editing. I’m sure that if you look closely, you’ll find some errors of my own in this blog.

A caveat to anyone thinking of posting their own writing online. Beware of clicking “publish” too soon. Consumer magazines, book publishers and other organizations/companies view works posted on personal blogs and websites as being “previously published”. If you want to try to get these printed later, you will need to find a company interested in “reprint rights”.

Speaking to an editor friend, and researching this online for my own writing, I have discovered this the hard way. For a very personal example, by posting poetry (and a few short stories) here on this blog, these short works are now sacrificed on the altar of self-publishing.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If someone likes your blog well enough, they’ll follow it. They tell their friends about it. They follow you too and soon… well, you get the idea. There are stories of authors who started out writing blogs, and eventually, got book deals. I hear about these every once in a while but then, I don’t follow the market close enough. Maybe it happens more than I suspect it does. Maybe.

As for me, I just want my writing to find its audience. I first started writing for the love of authoring a story that captivated my audience of one — my cousin and best friend, Liz D. Nearly two decades of writing later, I still want an audience, albeit, a much larger one.

Maybe it’s a middle child syndrome acting out as I approach middle age. Maybe.


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