Beverly is an aspiring writer and has been working on her first novel for the past three years. It's a murder mystery, and now that she's finished, she can't wait to share it and get feedback.
But where and with whom should she share her manuscript? And how much of it should she share? She's heard the rare but occasional horror story from writers of all experience levels and professional pursuits who shared their unpublished work and experienced the following:
* Feedback that didn't provide much value
* Unnecessarily mean-spirited feedback, or worse ...
* Having their ideas and unpublished work stolen
Needless to say, Beverly is a tad worried about what she should do next.
Don't Share Unpublished Work With Just Anyone!
Before I go any further, let me say that an aspiring writer shouldn't be afraid to share their work with others. That's what other writers are for – to help each other! There are plenty of people (friends, family, close writer friends, writers you admire, mentors, etc.) in your life who can be trusted and would love to be part of the creative process. I can't tell you how thankful I was to have these people in my corner while writing my book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word. I can honestly say the same thing about my entire writing career. Rarely do I not get quality feedback on stuff I hope to publish.
Beyond trusted people in your immediate circle, there are also local writing groups, social media groups geared for writers, classes, teachers and professors, publishers, etc., who can provide constructive criticism, encouragement, and tips to materially strengthen your writing.
With that said, it would be a mistake to assume everyone has your best interests at heart.
I've joined several promising writers' groups on Facebook over the past few years, and it boggles my mind when aspiring writers give unfettered access to their unpublished books, poems, short stories, blogs, and other intellectual property.
To me, that's like giving a stranger the keys to your house while you take a vacation overseas!
Perhaps they will do the right thing. But it's also quite the risk.
As a result, I've read a few frantic posts here and there from people who are now worried that their unpublished work may have been stolen. And in a few rare cases, it was!
If You're an Aspiring Writer and Want to Share Your Unpublished Work, Consider These Alternative Options!
I am not an attorney and don't pretend to understand all the laws that govern intellectual property! But here are a few options to consider when sharing your unpublished work!!
Only work with people you know
Use established editors and writers
Learn how to Copywrite your work
Share shorter passages only
Track who you share work with and when
Vet anyone you share stuff with
Establish trust with that person
Create an informal agreement or draft a contract for beta readers
Call Edit This in Denton, TX, for all your writing and editing needs!
At the end of the day, you should feel comfortable sharing your unpublished work with other people. This is your opportunity to get quality feedback and learn where your writing could be better. And for the most part, there are people out there who would be willing to help! With that said, just be careful. You never know who is lurking out there with bad intentions.
Aside from that, if you're interested in having Edit This® handle your company's content writing and editing needs, or you're an aspiring writer who needs a trusted partner to provide encouragement and help smooth out the rough edges in your unpublished work, give us a call today! We can write copy from scratch or spruce up what you've already written.
We're trustworthy and have the experience necessary to take your copy to the next level.
Thanks for reading!
STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This®, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX, and the author of Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.