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Thread: excerpt from unpublished novel

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    excerpt from unpublished novel

    Does it hurt an unpublished novels chances of getting published if you submit an excerpt as a short story submission?

  2. #2
    can totally spell Brobdinrgnagrian buzhidao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billyf027 View Post
    Does it hurt an unpublished novels chances of getting published if you submit an excerpt as a short story submission?
    A short story is an entity unto itself. It's not an excerpt of something else.

    ...Generally.
    Last edited by buzhidao; 01-30-2013 at 01:27 AM. Reason: always that "no absolutes" thing...

  3. #3
    Angel Wing Fetish VoireyLinger's Avatar
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    First, what buzhidao said.

    Second, if you do take a chunk of a story and publish sell elsewhere, then the novel has a chunk that you can't include because it's licensed elsewhere. Characters and world might also get tied up in those licensing retails.

    Submitting an excerpt of a novel as a short story doesn't make sense if you are still planning on publishing the long novel. Don't do it.

  4. #4
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Actually, there's no reason you can't publish a short story, then the novel that includes that short story as, say, one of its chapters. You see this all the time.

    Look on the copyright page and you'll see something like "Portions of this novel were previously published in [Name] Magazine, [Date]."

    A short story in the same world, in a legitimate/prestigious venue, can only help.

    On the other hand, if you've sold all rights for the term of copyright, you're screwed.

  5. #5
    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoireyLinger View Post
    First, what buzhidao said.

    Second, if you do take a chunk of a story and publish sell elsewhere, then the novel has a chunk that you can't include because it's licensed elsewhere. Characters and world might also get tied up in those licensing retails.

    Submitting an excerpt of a novel as a short story doesn't make sense if you are still planning on publishing the long novel. Don't do it.
    What are you talking about?

    This is entirely, utterly incorrect.

  6. #6
    In the end, it's just you and the manuscript job's Avatar
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    Two downsides:

    -- While you're preparing a short story for publication and submitting, you're not writing the manuscript.

    -- You need to make certain the contract you sign for the short story does not affect your use of the words in the later novel. Then your agent needs to do the same thing. Then the lawyers at the publisher have to do the same thing.

    Two upsides:

    -- You get money for publishing the short story.

    -- If the short story is well-published, it makes a nice line in your query letter.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW
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    One more upside: Readers who enjoy the short story may buy the novel.

  8. #8
    can totally spell Brobdinrgnagrian buzhidao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Actually, there's no reason you can't publish a short story, then the novel that includes that short story as, say, one of its chapters.
    Ah, I read it wrong. I assumed "excerpt from novel" meant "thing that does not stand alone." :p

    If that does not apply--yeah. Ignore me.

  9. #9
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by VoireyLinger View Post
    First, what buzhidao said.

    Second, if you do take a chunk of a story and publish sell elsewhere, then the novel has a chunk that you can't include because it's licensed elsewhere. Characters and world might also get tied up in those licensing retails.

    Submitting an excerpt of a novel as a short story doesn't make sense if you are still planning on publishing the long novel. Don't do it.
    Even true excerpts are routinely published in literary magazines. It does nothing to affect your rights, or the sale of the entire novel. Such excerpts help the sale of the full novel, and bring new readers to it.

  10. #10
    Angel Wing Fetish VoireyLinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willietheshakes View Post
    What are you talking about?

    This is entirely, utterly incorrect.
    My interpretation of the question was should the OP attempt to sell an excerpt to publisher A and continue to shop the full, which, if publisher A does buy, puts a section under contract.

    Should the story sell, the OP wait several years for rights to revert, (assuming they ever do, some publishers don't let go of anything) then shop the whole, then there is no conflict.

    Devil in the details.

  11. #11
    is watching you via her avatar jjdebenedictis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoireyLinger View Post
    My interpretation of the question was should the OP attempt to sell an excerpt to publisher A and continue to shop the full, which, if publisher A does buy, puts a section under contract.

    Should the story sell, the OP wait several years for rights to revert, (assuming they ever do, some publishers don't let go of anything) then shop the whole, then there is no conflict.

    Devil in the details.
    I assumed the OP meant that the excerpt would be published as a short story, and generally that means they only sell the first publication rights.

    Once the excerpt is published, the author is free to get the same excerpt published elsewhere as a short story but they'd be selling reprint rights, instead of the more lucrative first publication rights.

    The full novel, however, can also be sold immediately. I don't think there's even any restriction on the author waiting until the short story is published (someone more knowledgable correct me if I'm wrong), because the novel is a work of art distinct from the short story. The author hasn't sold any rights for the full novel.
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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure it's fine to publish part of it as a short story. I believe Orson Scott Card originally published some part of Ender's Game as a short story, then he turned it into a novel.

    Of course, that was a while ago, so things might have changed.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoireyLinger View Post
    My interpretation of the question was should the OP attempt to sell an excerpt to publisher A and continue to shop the full, which, if publisher A does buy, puts a section under contract.

    Should the story sell, the OP wait several years for rights to revert, (assuming they ever do, some publishers don't let go of anything) then shop the whole, then there is no conflict.

    Devil in the details.
    In more than thirty years, I've never once seen an excerpt interfere in any way with the publication of the entire novel. It is normal and common to sell an excerpt to one publisher, and then to sell the full novel immediately.

    Even more common is for the novel to sell to one publisher, and then the excerpt sells to another before the novel is actually published. This brings readers to the full novel when it is released. Unless you just don't know anything about publishing, you won't sell all rights to anything, and this means short stories and excerpt do not interfere with the full novel at all.

    There simply is no wait period, and no interference, because a a short story and an excerpt are not the same thing as a full novel, and you do not sell novelization rights when you sell either. Nor should any legitimate publisher even ask.

    With short stories and excerpts, all you should be selling is first rights to that particular piece, not to any novel written from it, or cennected to it.

  14. #14
    Retired Illuminatus dangerousbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billyf027 View Post
    Does it hurt an unpublished novels chances of getting published if you submit an excerpt as a short story submission?
    I've broken down failed novels into as many as three short stories. I wouldn't do it to a novel I expected to sell intact.
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  15. #15
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjdebenedictis View Post

    The full novel, however, can also be sold immediately. I don't think there's even any restriction on the author waiting until the short story is published (someone more knowledgeable correct me if I'm wrong), because the novel is a work of art distinct from the short story. The author hasn't sold any rights for the full novel.
    That all depends on the contract but no, in general, there isn't any restriction.

    Given the relative speeds of magazine and book publication, if you sold the short story today and the novel tomorrow there'd still likely be a year's difference in the publication dates.

    As in all things, talk with your editor. Talk with your agent. It's your career, not mine.

  16. #16
    Miss Conceived Liralen's Avatar
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    Patrick Rothfuss submitted an excerpt from The Name of the Wind to Writers of the Future, won, and the rest is history.

    Just make sure you'll retain the rights to it.
    The creative writing process is a lot like emotional binge and purge cycles.

    Can you find the Pitbull?

    WIP ~ The Black Dog Dialogues: At the raw, dark fringes of exhaustion, there is The Black Dog

  17. #17
    I write weird stories. phantasy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liralen View Post
    Patrick Rothfuss submitted an excerpt from The Name of the Wind to Writers of the Future, won, and the rest is history.

    Just make sure you'll retain the rights to it.
    Can you tell me which chapter that is? Couldn't figure it out.

  18. #18
    Miss Conceived Liralen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantasy View Post
    Can you tell me which chapter that is? Couldn't figure it out.
    I wish I could. I've looked for a copy of the edition it was printed in (that wasn't astronomically priced) and haven't had any luck.

    I'd love to see it, out of curiosity and to compare it to the corresponding segment in the book.
    The creative writing process is a lot like emotional binge and purge cycles.

    Can you find the Pitbull?

    WIP ~ The Black Dog Dialogues: At the raw, dark fringes of exhaustion, there is The Black Dog

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