Should you publish snippets of your work in progress when writing fiction?

Share snippets of your work in progress

Should you publish snippets of your work in progress when writing fiction?

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When you write fiction, you’ll want to build up an interest in your novel. Publishing snippets of your work in progress could help do that, but is it the thing that you should do?

If you look around at fiction writers, you may see that some publish snippets of the novel they’re working on. This could just be a paragraph or two, or it could be a whole section of a chapter that teases but doesn’t spoil anything.

This could be a great way to pull in interest for a novel*. After all, you give people a chance to see what your writing style is like, and you can give them a chance to meet your characters.

And sure, gaining interest is a great way to boost the chances of your book selling once it’s done. That doesn’t mean you should do this.

Publish snippets could lead to people copying your work

Sure, once you write something, you own the copyright. The problem is that fighting for this isn’t always that easy. So, as people see your work in progress online, they can take the ideas and run with them.

This is something that writers deal with on a daily basis, though. It doesn’t even need to be snippets of your work online. You could end up with people copying your work once it’s been published, so I wouldn’t let this risk stop you from publishing bits of your book.

You run the risk of giving away too much of your work in progress

You want to create a sense of interest in your novel. The problem when you publish snippets is that people end up reading the book. They can feel like they’ve read it all before you even have a chance to publish the whole thing.

If you give away too much, there’s a chance that people won’t want to read the full book. They already feel like they know how it will end, or they decide that they don’t like the story anyway and they don’t care how it ends.

There’s also the risk of sharing some of the spoilers from the book. You want to share the parts of the novel that are exciting for readers to draw them in, after all. You just need to find a balance between excitement and not sharing too much. Take a look at how other authors release snippets to see what you can do.

MORE: Can you make money writing fiction?

Sharing snippets could turn people away

There is also the risk of losing readers because you’ve shared bits of your work in progress. People may not like your writing, or there may be a character that puts them off.

Of course, this is a risk in fiction anyway. You’re not going to please everyone. The problem is that you want to give people a reason to read your book before they decide if you’re not the author for them or not. By sharing snippets, you give people a reason not to check out the book right away.

Of course, sharing the snippets can do the opposite thing. They offer people a chance to see the characters, and they could find someone who they want to read more about. It is a catch-22 situation.

People get the work in progress out of order

You could publish snippets of your work in progress* as you write them. That doesn’t mean the snippets are going to be in order, depending on the way you write. Nor does it mean that people are going to read the snippets in order.

Someone may come across a snippet that is 10 chapters in. They’ve missed some of the other buildup that you shared, and they can end up lost, not really understanding who the characters are. This leads to them needing to go back through your social media channel to see if you wrote anything else.

This is a risk that all authors who publish snippets take, though. The snippets are already out of context, so does it really matter if the snippets are out of order?

MORE: Can you make money writing erotica?

Are you publishing snippets of your work in progress? Do you follow authors who does this? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Alexandria Ingham is a professional writer. She predominately ghost-writes in various niches, including fitness, finance and technology Everything is fully researched and well-written. Under her own name, she writes in the technology, business, history and weight loss niches

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