Metapost: Passwords, Publication and Problems…

Forgive the Runner B delays, it’s been a complex couple of weeks.

That said, I’m having a bit of a dilemma regarding traditional publishing versus open blogging. I want to continue posting rough drafts for all to read and critique, because it’s become such a part of my creative process. But having a story freely available can jeopardize its chances of being published, as an open internet post can be seen as “prior publication.” I do think that publication and a wider audience needs to be my next objective.

My plan is to put all new Story Posts behind a password gate, with a single password for the whole site. This allows me to repost the drafts I had previously taken down. (They’re going to be back up within an hour, email me for the password!)

Since I can’t freely post the password, I hope you will be willing to email me to receive access. Of course, what you do with the password beyond that would be entirely up to you.

Of course, if anyone has any insight into traditional publishing, I’d be ever so grateful for your feedback. Does this solution work? Is there a more elegant solution I’m missing entirely?


12 thoughts on “Metapost: Passwords, Publication and Problems…

  1. Greg

    If you do decide on the password model, I wouldn’t mind emailing for one at all. That said, I don’t think that’s the way to go. Restricting access to your work here would make it harder for you to build an online audience, and having a wide online readership is often a huge factor in being published these days. I would go the opposite route and publish everything here, making an effort to spread the word and advertise as much as possible through posting links on related sites and maybe partnering with other blogs with similar content.

    When the quality of your work combined with the semi-frequent story posts we’ve had lately makes this site to explode in popularity, you’ll have no problem finding a publisher who wants to pay you for your writing.

    1. First, my sincere thanks for the kind words. As I’ve said before the mere fact that I have more than one reader who’s not related to me is still something of a shock. There are a surprising amount of people I would call regular readers, but that number didn’t seem to really rise or fall in several years, despite the absence and return.

      My ultimate goal is readership, but I think the old channels that once provided the semi-regular stream of new readers are by and large gone and dried up. I’ve bemoaned before, I am a lousy self promoter, and I simply don’t know what more I can do on that front. I’m hoping eventual publication will drive people to check out the site and create a nice little positive feedback loop of new readers. But as far as posing links, spreading the word, and partnering, I confess I haven’t the foggiest idea of where to start. (If someone else does, by all means, I’m anxiously awaiting your email).

      While having a large online audience may help in selling a novel or a collection of stories (some day…), what I’m aiming for now is something is the short fiction market, and having a wide readership there is unfortunately, not worth much. These traditional publication venues frown on prior web publishing, a position I both understand and think is a little archaic, but the simple fact is, publishing becomes impossible for pieces freely available elsewhere, at least in certain markets, and most of the ones I’m aiming for (If I can get a piece published in Weird Tales, I will die a happy man).

      It’s a delicate sort of a conundrum, but my greatest fear, that this would turn previous loyal readers away, does not seem to be a problem, judging by these replies. You folk matter the most.

      1. transmogrifyme

        I watched the PAX East Q&A video that Gabe posted on the Penny-Arcade website earlier. Someone asked if they had any advice for new webcomic artists. Tycho’s answer was pretty relevant to all types of media.

        To paraphrase, he said that with the nature of the internet these days, if someone has good content it will almost always take off like nobody’s business. With Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and all sorts of different social media sites, it takes no time for people to post a link to something that they like.

        You have the content. You’ve obviously been working on this stuff for a while so you have lots of ideas. And I’ve said it before, but I like your stories. They’re well told. That being said, I believe horror is one of the hardest genres to be financially successful at. The majority of people prefer to read happy or funny stories. Or a lot of the times even sad stories. But not everyone really enjoys to be scared. It’s a pretty niche market.

        Persistence is the key I think. Persistence in writing. Persistence in personal marketing (ie. getting your name and stories out there)

        1. I agree whole-heartedly. Horror is not for everyone, but there are certainly people out there who want it. I’m not expecting any financial windfalls, my goal is more readers.
          That said, I think writing is the best way I can promote myself. I just have to do it well enough that you have no choice but to share it on twitter/facebook/etc.

      2. As I’ve said before the mere fact that I have more than one reader who’s not related to me is still something of a shock.

        I was told that we had been allowed to post some of your older works on our site. We haven’t added any since 2009, but I have put a page or your Work Journal RSS feed. If hosting your older works is a problem, please let us know. And if you’re going to lock down the stories, don’t forget to clean the old site as well.

        The site is for “Creepy Pasta” mostly geared around The Foundation – an organization that gathers the strange, bizarre and deadly and keeps the them from the world at large. (Yes, it’s writing, not role playing.)

        1. Ah! Yes, I have given my permission to post older works freely, and you can continue to keep the RSS journal, although it might not be useful for new posts with the password gate. As for the old site, all content has been removed and now pointed to the appropriate pages here.

          I’d feel awfully strange about trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube as far as older posts go, but there are a few I’d like to, at least temporarily remove. But since I’ve already given prior permission, no one’s under any obligation to do so. If you’d be willing to at least temporarily mask a few stories, please drop me a line. (The Watcher and Shiva are the two I’d most like the hide, but perhaps Sick and West for at least the next few weeks).

          Oh, and I am quite aware of the Foundation. I’ve though many times about writing an entry, but I’ve had a little trepidation for strange reasons. Someday.

          1. Mr. K.:

            Or… whatever I’m supposed to call you. I’m one of the admins over at the Foundation. We were preparing to purge all non-site member written stories and pasta (and since you weren’t the one who posted it, it was set for a purge). We have a site set up specifically to collect these things, be we didn’t feel right having them on the main wiki if they weren’t written for publication there. (As a side note, we’re also preparing to purge our creepypasta library as well). If you’d like for us to leave yours off the backup to the external site, please let me know. You can send me a wikidot PM at your convenience, but please let me know so we can take care of this for you as soon as possible.

            I, for one, would love to see you with a nice, published volume out there, and I’d buy it up in a heartbeat. Let us know what you’d like for us to do for you.

            TroyL, SCP-Foundation Administration

            1. My apologies, Troy, this got stuck in my spam filter.

              It seems the simplest solution would be to purge and direct people back here, if that’s a solution you find amenable. When I first posted most of these works, I didn’t care, and even encouraged people to post them freely, so I don’t feel right asking anyone to remove anything, however, if you’re already on the way to do so, that works out quite selfishly well for me.

              My sincere thanks!

  2. europ

    Josef, I’ve been a fan of your works for years, and I’d like for you to know that I will purchase anything you get published, if you get published (which you will.)

    Are you planning on using your site for the new, passworded posts? I don’t know if you can do that or not, hence my question. If not, I’m sure I could offer to host the posts for you.

    Best of luck to you.

    1. My sincere thanks for the offer, but yes, WordPress can do a post by post password lock. You can see the four stories on the right with struck through titles are already locked. Drop me a line if you’d like the password.

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