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BlueLucario
08-25-2008, 08:59 PM
I know I shouldn't be worried about this now, but I can't stop thinking about it. My whole first draft is on google docs right now, it was just there for the world to read, and making life easier for the beta readers and the critters.I don't want to come off as egotistical, but the readers love my story, even if are parts which makes me self-conscious. It's also there as back-up just in case that anything happens with my original story.
According to what I hear, if you place your work on Google docs, that means Google claims ownership of whatever you submit there. That's the second thing that worries me.

If I just posted my story up for the public to see, would it still be published and be sent to bookstores? Because I read that it's not recommended to display something like that on the internet, because it completely wipes out your chances of getting the book out there. I started writing this thing on 10/29/07, it's still not done yet and I don't know if I should keep going. If I just continued writing, get it done and editing it and all that, and it's not going to be published, I'll feel like I've wasted my time, I'd feel like one year of writing this was all for nothing.

Can I still get it published if it's on the internet? It's still up for public view, but for people who bookmarked the link to the page. I don't give links to potential readers anymore. I stopped advertising my story, and asking people to email me feedback.

Sorry guys, I'm starting to freak out.

dpaterso
08-25-2008, 09:20 PM
Delete it from Google Docs. Problem solved.

-Derek

Soccer Mom
08-25-2008, 09:26 PM
Yep. I would remove it. Find a few betas and send it to them AFTER you finish.

IceCreamEmpress
08-25-2008, 09:32 PM
Sharing something on Google Docs isn't publishing it. The point of Google Docs is for people to share work documents (one of my old employers used to do this). It does not transfer any ownership of the intellectual property to Google.

If you want to continue to share it on Google Docs, do it with a password protection and send the password to your betas.

Dale Emery
08-26-2008, 12:45 AM
According to what I hear, if you place your work on Google docs, that means Google claims ownership of whatever you submit there.

Fortunately, that's not correct. There's a clause in Google's terms and agreements that gives them the right to display your material on Google Docs. They need that right in order to display your docs to you, to your beta readers, and (if you've made the doc public) to everyone else.

The clause does not give Google ownership of your document, and it does not give them the right to publish your document other than as you explicitly request.

Dale

geardrops
08-26-2008, 12:53 AM
According to what I hear...

Why don't you go read the Terms of Service for yourself and not go based off what you hear?

tehuti88
08-26-2008, 06:45 PM
Blue, the issue you're worried about is explained by Google themselves here:

http://documents.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=82366&topic=15143

Basically, it's just as Dale Emery says; Google isn't taking your ownership from you. They're just asking your permission to post your own work.

Regarding publication, you might have compromised your chances of that by showing off your work online, but I can't quote you stats or anything as I'm not looking into that myself. The thing is you have to find your priorities. Is it publication at all costs, or a loving readership/fanbase? They're not mutually exclusive, but you need to figure out which matters more. If it's publication, then you should remove the documents and not post them to the Net (at least, not on publicly accessible sites) anymore.

If you still want to back your work up on Google Docs, but not show it off, you can do so by deleting the original versions that people have the link to, and re-uploading them, and not giving out the new links to anybody. That way they remain private to you alone. Google will not share them via its search engine or anything unless you give out the link.

If, more than publication, you want your devoted fanbase (and that's just as valid a reason to write as anything, it's not a waste of time--it's what I would adore--I envy that you have readers who hang on every word you write, I have finished stories out there and can't keep people interested for more than ten minutes!), then don't worry about publication so much. You're not even done with your story yet; publication is FAR, FAR in the future, if at all. Worry about the story for now. You're putting the cart before the horse.

You can always e-mail your story to others, not as a Web link, but as an attachment. I don't think that counts as publication but you can't quote me, I would not know for sure.

BlueLucario
08-27-2008, 06:40 PM
If I hate to choose publication and fan base, I choose both. Publication, I can still get an audience right? I used a link so I can make liife easier for the readers, they can keep it with them while I add more stuff to the story.

tehuti88
08-28-2008, 02:34 AM
All righty, that's your choice. Just be sparing who you give the link to, and any links that you might have had displayed publicly, like the one you used to have in your sig, you might want to consider deleting that version and reuploading it and sending your readers that link (new link, same document) instead. Because somewhere out there, your messages with that link in the signature could be archived for anybody, including potential publishers, to find. (It happens.)

Matera the Mad
08-28-2008, 06:58 AM
Yep, it's nice to have fans. That is why I wrote some "open" works before starting on a serious for-publication novel. I have the novel on the web for beta-convenience, but it is in a private directory on my own website. Search engines are banned from it and only people I am sure I can trust get the link. A passworded Google doc would be as good.

BlueLucario
08-28-2008, 06:59 PM
All righty, that's your choice. Just be sparing who you give the link to, and any links that you might have had displayed publicly, like the one you used to have in your sig, you might want to consider deleting that version and reuploading it and sending your readers that link (new link, same document) instead. Because somewhere out there, your messages with that link in the signature could be archived for anybody, including potential publishers, to find. (It happens.)
Potential publishers? As in people who publish my stuff without permission,(not that I was concerned about it.)

I think I should remove the doc. My stuff in there isn't really readable anyway and if I still get readers, I'll still get caught up in perfecting the story. I was hoping I can still get it published even if it was out there for the public to read.

tehuti88
08-29-2008, 02:11 AM
Potential publishers? As in people who publish my stuff without permission,(not that I was concerned about it.)

I think I should remove the doc. My stuff in there isn't really readable anyway and if I still get readers, I'll still get caught up in perfecting the story. I was hoping I can still get it published even if it was out there for the public to read.

Oh, no no no. By "potential publishers" I meant any publishers you might submit your writing to in the future, for potential (possible) publication.

AS FAR AS I KNOW (meaning, this is based only on what I've read here and on other writing sites, and haven't experienced for myself)...publishers are most interested in obtaining "first publication rights" to a story, and when you post your writing online, you're basically using those first publication rights. Posting online counts as publication. You can still get published, but I've heard that the chances are smaller. Why, for example, would a publisher want to invest time and money in putting out a book that people can find online for free?

I wouldn't quote me on it but this is what I've heard. I believe it's the reason why the Share Your Work forums are passworded, so search engines can't archive or locate posts where people have shared their work. The password helps protect the publication rights.

This is why I suggested deciding on a priority, keeping the fans you currently have or aiming for publication. You might be able to do both but then again you might not. :(

BlueLucario
08-29-2008, 11:27 AM
So that's why those forums are passworded. I thought it was to protect works from being plagarized. I can take back those publishing rights by removing it from google, correct?

tehuti88
08-29-2008, 07:01 PM
Well, technically, since you already shared the work online, I don't think you can "take back" the first rights. The work was displayed, it was published, people saw it, that's it. What's done is done. It can't be undone.

You can remove the work and just not mention to a publisher that it was originally posted online, but I don't know how ethical that would be, if it's legal or not. It's a gray area at least. You might want to look into that more because I couldn't say. That's why I mentioned your old signature link possibly being archived for publishers to find; who knows, if you submit your work someday, somebody who works for the publisher might stumble across the link and find your work already online!

However, you can also remove the work, and edit or rewrite it. The new version might end up substantially different from the one you posted online and gave away the first rights to. So perhaps the rights to the newer version would be intact, but again, you can't quote me on it. This is one of the reasons why I'm not bothering with publication since all my work is already out there! :o

If I were you, I'd remove the works you're most interested in publishing someday, and just continue to work on the writing of them. Don't post them publicly online if you want to keep your rights, but at the same time, don't worry so much about publication. Finishing the story is the most important thing right now. You can't publish what you haven't written. :) And by the time it's done it could be something entirely different from what you shared online.

tehuti88
08-29-2008, 07:19 PM
Hey Blue! Here's a good link I found in the Share Your Work forum about posting one's work online:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36443

There's some mention in it of "first electronic rights" versus "first print rights," but that bit of the conversation didn't really go anywhere. Maybe you can ask about it there and receive some more informative answers than mine. :)

IceCreamEmpress
08-29-2008, 08:01 PM
So that's why those forums are passworded. I thought it was to protect works from being plagarized. I can take back those publishing rights by removing it from google, correct?

Sharing your work on Google Docs is explicitly NOT publishing it. If you read the Google Docs Terms of Service, you will see that. Google EXPLICITLY says that sharing your work through their service does not impute any rights to them.

You still hold all of your first publication rights, Blue, just as you would if you had made photocopies of your manuscript-in-progress and handed them out to friends.

Where publication rights may be impaired by posting something on the Internet is when the Terms of Service of a site suggest that uploading is some form of publication.

tehuti88
08-30-2008, 02:24 AM
I admit then that I'm curious. Google might not consider it publication, and sending a select few people a link which isn't accessible to others probably isn't publication. BUT, with the example of the link Blue once had posted in her signature, which made the Google page accessible to virtually anybody online (everybody using these forums, and any nonmembers who browse the site, and anybody who might find an archived version of the forums through a search engine), a publisher would honestly not consider this a form of publication? It's posted on the Web (if she hasn't deleted it), and anyone can read it for free. Just because Google themselves don't claim any rights doesn't seem to mean that a publisher would necessarily agree in a case like that.


You still hold all of your first publication rights, Blue, just as you would if you had made photocopies of your manuscript-in-progress and handed them out to friends.

This comparison holds when one is giving out a link to their writing to just their friends/betas. In the case of the link she had in her signature, this was the equivalent of printing out her story and giving it away for free to her friends, strangers, and setting some copies on the corner for anyone to carry off as they like.

Of course, I guess I could be entirely wrong. But like I said, if something is on the Web for anybody to see for free, I can't imagine why a publisher would be interested in spending money printing it. Not with a first-time writer, at least.

IceCreamEmpress
08-30-2008, 02:38 AM
It's posted on the Web (if she hasn't deleted it), and anyone can read it for free. Just because Google themselves don't claim any rights doesn't seem to mean that a publisher would necessarily agree in a case like that.

They would. I hate to say "I've worked in publishing and I know" in discussions like this, but I've worked in publishing, and I've encountered situations where some version of something was available on the Internet through some document-sharing system, and it was not considered by publishers to have impaired first North American rights.

Now, I think that leaving it up as a non-password-protected document in progress is a mistake, but it doesn't impair legal rights at all. It may make the work seem shop-soiled, but that's not the same thing.

BlueLucario
08-31-2008, 10:44 PM
I know it was a mistake. Seeing that I'm slightly relieved that I didn't lose any first publication rights. But I also posted the story on a number of other sites, and I can only remember a few. Helium is one of them, and for some reason, I can't remove my stuff.

Thanks for the help guys, I really appreciate it. :)

Medievalist
08-31-2008, 11:24 PM
Keep in mind too that you posted a draft, not a finished work.

IceCreamEmpress
09-01-2008, 12:35 AM
I know it was a mistake. Seeing that I'm slightly relieved that I didn't lose any first publication rights.

Not by putting it up on Google Docs you didn't.


But I also posted the story on a number of other sites, and I can only remember a few. Helium is one of them

I'm pretty sure that posting something on Helium DOES qualify as publication, according to the Helium terms of service.

But, as Medievalist points out, that refers to that particular version, not any version ever of the work.

And you can edit a Helium article using the "Leapfrog" and replace it with dummy text, even though you can't remove it.