Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Salamander is now Webbed

The Usenet group rec.arts.sf.composition, where people talk about writing speculative fiction, has had a number of discussions over the years on whether one should or should not web unpublished work. I offered my experience with my two most recent nonfiction books, both of which were on the web as late drafts well before they were published; the response I got from a number of posters was "fiction is different." Their basic argument was that publishers would be less willing to publish a work that had already been available for free.

My agent, whose opinion I respect, disagrees. Acting on her advice and my own inclination, have just put the entire text of Salamander, my as yet unpublished second novel, on the web for anyone who wants to read it. Comments are welcome, either here or by email.


At 8:27 PM, February 17, 2010, Blogger The Man said...

David, I love your agent. Thanks for webbing your book. A few benefits of putting unpublished work on the web occurred to me: (1) it makes the author likable, because he's showing generosity and a willingness to take other people's ideas seriously; (2) it makes the author appear confident: he's not just trying to sell you something——he really has ideas he thinks are worth sharing; and (3) if the work is good, it can be sampled for free, and people who enjoy reading it are likely to buy the book anyway.

At 2:26 AM, February 18, 2010, Anonymous Gray Woodland said...

Congratulations! I hope it prospers.

At 12:31 PM, February 18, 2010, Blogger Gary Y. said...


I read Salamander (seems like long ago) but was eager to read it again.

As I recall, I liked it well, as a story, the first go round. Liked it even better this time. You seemed utterly in control and I felt I was in good hands. I think you've got a winner here. G.

At 2:55 PM, February 18, 2010, Blogger Jonathan said...

How do you feel about publishing a version number along with the story? I've read and liked a draft apparently numbered 195; I don't know whether the version on the Web is the same, or later.

Software publishers also commonly provide a brief summary of the changes made in each version. But maybe this would seem too much like work, when you're providing the text at no charge anyway.

Good luck finding a publisher. It's remarkable how difficult this seems to be. Wikipedia notes that Jasper Fforde amassed 76 rejection slips before getting published.

At 6:14 PM, February 18, 2010, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for making this public. I hope you and your agent are right and this improves your chances for publication. (My feeling is it will help.)

You might look at using friendlier fonts and colors, and wider margins around the text. I used to reformat it to my tastes--but I think almost everyone would appreciate a narrower reading column as a default. Don't want to lose a potential reader over typography.

At 3:10 AM, February 19, 2010, Anonymous Magazin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:39 PM, February 19, 2010, Blogger David Friedman said...

This still version 195; there might have been minor changes since I sent it to you, but only very minor.

At 8:05 AM, February 21, 2010, Blogger Jonathan said...


At 10:14 PM, March 02, 2010, Blogger dlr said...

I agree with your agent. I would never BUY a book if I couldn't sample it on line. Whenever you can't get a reasonably sized sample either from Google or Amazon, I figure there is a very good reason the publisher isn't letting anyone read a sample of the prose (ie, because it stinks).

On the other hand, I have very rarely read a book all the way through on the web. If I like it enough to want to keep reading it after a chapter or so, I buy it. Maybe that will change someday, but right now, no matter what anyone says, physical books still beat kindles, etc, by a country mile.


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