Friday, June 3, 2011

Firsts

I got my first comments on a short story I posted on Scribd! And they came from people I don’t know and didn’t ask to read my stuff!! This may seem minor to some, but I am super excited.

It’s also gotten me thinking about the whole online publishing endeavor. I find myself worrying about things like copyright and story length and commenting on other people’s works in the community.

Copyright is my biggest worry right now. If I “self publish” my work on this website, and use the traditional copyright option (instead of, say, the Creative Commons Attribution/non-commercial copyright), does that somehow make it untouchable later for publishing houses? Am I even allowed to say my work is copyrighted, if all I’ve done is just say that it is, or do I have to go through some sort of process involving paperwork? Research must be done on this.

My second biggest worry is about which of my works I should post. It seems like my shorter short stories are getting more hits. I had thought about posting some of my “novel” length stuff from National Novel Writing Month (although I only have one of those finished and semi-ready to share), but now I wonder if they would even get readership. Book length might be too long.

The last worry is minor, but I have realized that in order to get my work more widely read, I have to get out there and read other people’s stuff. Because then they return the favor, and pass your stuff on to their friends, who may then pass it along to their friends. The networking of a writer has already begun. At the same time, though, I’m kind of excited to explore other works. Scribd is such a cool idea. Social reading and publishing. Brilliant.

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As the title of this entry implies, I have more than one “first” to share. The second “first” has to do with my editing “career.”

Editing is one of the career options I have considered pursuing instead of (or possibly in addition to) writing. My philosophy has been along the lines of the adage “those who can’t do, teach:” Those who can’t write, edit. This was before I would let myself believe that I am a good writer. The only thing I enjoy more than writing itself is reading, so editing seemed a logical choice. Plus I really get a thrill helping people with their writing (which is a topic that could be a whole blog entry in itself).

I mentioned my interest in editing to my old boss one day. As a faculty member, he’s always working getting articles in his field published. He said that the articles he was working on at the time needed another pair of eyes, and he offered me a freelance job. So I took home two of his manuscripts and spend a handful of hours pouring over the articles with a red pen. Quite pleased with myself, I returned his manuscripts with a tally of the time I put into them and quoted a couple of different hourly rates that I thought were fair (although to be honest I was just excited he was going to pay me anything at all).

That was maybe…eight months ago? I had almost given up, but I finally, FINALLY got a check in the mail from him. I officially got paid for my first editing job!

Can I put that on my resume? : )

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