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Does posting an excerpt of my work in a video count as “publishing” the manuscript to agents and editors?

I have a children’s book of action rhymes and stories that I’m pitching and am thinking of posting a brief video on my website. The video contains a child reciting and acting out the words to an excerpt of the book. Would this be considered published work to an agent or publisher and therefore not be saleable?

– Nina

Hi Nina!

Tracy here, and I’m happy to share some thoughts on this.

Would a short excerpt be considered pre-published by itself? I don’t think so. BUT…

I think the bigger question is – why do you want to make and post this video?

Because, to be honest, an editor or agent is going to be looking mostly at the quality of your writing first and foremost, and most of us aren’t going to go through an author’s website unless we’re already hooked.

But once you publish a YouTube video with a short excerpt, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time trying to get views on that video if you want it to be effective. Because should an agent or editor look, it’s going to be less than impressive if they see a clip and only 20 views. And maybe that’d be a subconscious reaction – on the logical side, one could easily say that they wouldn’t expect one single YouTube video to take off. But we’re emotional creatures, and seeing a video with a low view count is probably not going to be that helpful to you as a querying writer.

So I think the ultimate answer is – posting a short excerpt is probably not going to hurt your publication chances. But, it’s probably also not going to help unless you plan on investing a ton of time in promoting and making more videos. And if your goal is traditional publication, maybe your time is better spent elsewhere – on writing the next book, revising something in progress, querying more agents, or building a network on a social media site that you plan to use more heavily and consistently.

I hope that helps!

Category: BlogMarchini

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4 comments

  1. Thanks, Tracy. That helps put things in perspective. My intent was to add a little fun to my website; I completely forgot about getting views and what that might encounter. My other intent was to show an editor if they happened to view the video, how a child uses the book for fun and learning. Then again, you’re right, I have so much better things to put my time and energy into!

    1. Glad it helped, Nina! (I feel like there’s so many things that we *can* do now as an author that it’s easy to get overwhelmed in possibilities that may or may not actually bring you closer to the long-term goal!)

  2. I know this post is about a children’s book, but the message behind it is true for all writers. Focus on the end goal and don’t get distracted (and especially don’t get distracted and inadvertently shoot yourself in the foot).

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