Blogging a Book

Have a story idea that screams to be made into a novel that you just don’t want to write?

If so, a new website called Glypho might be the place for you. I received an email from someone apparently associated with the site that explains what it offers. Have a look and decide for yourself if this might be the next answer to your problem:

“In addition to being an excellent platform for writing blooks (blog+book), Glypho provides you the benefit of brainstorming with others. Somebody reading your blook may suggest characters and plot ideas. If you don’t want to write a full novel but have a story idea, you can simply jot it down and others can carry it forward. Each chapter in glypho must be of 1000 words and can be written by separate authors. So if you stop writing in the middle, others can carry it forward.”

From a writing exercise standpoint, this might be an intriguing idea. You could take someone’s beginning, use it as a writing prompt and just write.

But if you’re looking to write a story to actually sell, I think you’d run into major trouble here. I don’t publish any of my works-in-progress online because technically that’s publishing it before it’s published, and from what I understand, there are cases where this could jeopardize the sale of “first rights” of your finished work if you do find someone who wants to buy it.

The real problem, I think, would be the possibility of copyright infringement claims if you were to end up selling a story you’ve let other writers have input in. Their copyright policy states the following:

“Each contributor owns the copyright of his/her own work. And the collective work (the novel) is owned collectively by all its contributors. Glypho does not own the copyright, but by writing in Glypho members agree to give Glypho all the rights necessary to continue diplaying the story. If the contributors want to commercialize the novel and approach publishers, they are free to do so without involving Glypho or paying any fee to Glypho.”

The question is, if someone choose to make a comment or suggestion, without actually writing anything in the story, would their suggestion count as a “contribution” and thereby make them a copyright co-owner, or would they not have any share in the final product?

And if you produce a whole work of your own on the site based upon someone else’s premise that they don’t intend to develop into a novel, you still wouldn’t have complete rights to what you’ve done because you’d be a contributor to someone else’s idea.

If anyone decides to give it a whirl, please let me know. I’d be interested to hear about your experience.


  1. Glypho thrives on openness of thought and ideas. If your sole purspose behind writing is commercial gain, then yes, you should probably steer clear of it. On the other hand, if you want to write because you love writing and you want others to know how well you write or how interesting your character ideas and comments are, then Glypho is the place for you. I would even go as far as to say that Glypho is not for professional writers. It is for the common man. It is for people with a day job, for housewives, for students, for retired individuals, and for all those people who derive great pleasure from writing and want to share and learn.

    If a story in Glypho starts becoming so interesting and popular that it attracts the attention of publishers, we will have several ways to find proper division of royalty: First a computer algorithm can go through all the contribution and determine a fair distribution based on quality and size of contribution. Second, readers can vote on each item. Third, an expert committee and all the contributors can togehter evaluate each other’s involvement and a fair share. All these processes can be used in conjunction. And at the end when everybody is happy, the publisher can go ahead with the publishing plan. A story can develop in Glypho only when people drop their selfish interests and simply work towords their common goal of creating something wonderful. When such people are involved, I believe they will always work towards a strategy where everybody wins.

    Glypho is radical and disruptive, so it is natural that many will not accept it at first. To get a sense of what it is, you can look at two hugely succesful collaborative internet initiatives: wikipedia and open source software. Open source software is written by highly motivated programmers who write the programs for the sake of it and give it away for free! They do this in the weekends and nights while on a day job. I myself have given away http://nestedpiechart.sourceforge.net for free. Without open source software, glypho wouldn’t have been possible. We use linux, tomcat, aspell, wordnet, firefox, and many many such open source software. Similarly, in wikipedia people create and maintain encyclopedia simply because they like something and want to do it. There is no commercial interest involved in any of these activities, but good succesful work get recognized and people behind them sometimes gain fame, popularity, and lucrative jobs. By adopting creative commons licence, glypho keeps the commercial option open.

    I hope this explains things.


  2. I would steer clear. It sounds too complication and the legalities are sticky with a capital S.


  3. I’m sure you’re right about the copyright difficulties with Glypho. Sounds like fun for an informal, amateur plaything, but not for collaborative work. I’ve seen other new writers worry that publishing their pieces online will hurt the chances of them being published for pay, but that’s not the problem. It’s that you can’t technically offer all rights or first rights or anything that includes electronic rights for sale. We see novels published all the time that acknowledge segments were previously published in magazines, so I don’t see a great difficulty. This sounds more like a superstition–still under the influence of last Friday?

  4. This whole thing seems like a waste of time. If you want to post your work online, then post your work online. It’s not like it’s difficult, and thanks to the miracle of comments, people can give you their thoughts as you go along. No need for a third party, no need for the hassle.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.