I'm a developer and a writer. I use Github version control for some of my writing, to keep track of changes.

I've got one ebook about Cycle touring that I have in a public repository on Github. I've got a new one I'm working on about Investing. It's rather more of an earlier draft that the other one, so I'm wondering whether to keep it in a public repository, which anybody can see, e.g. on github, or in a private repository, e.g. on bitbucket, where only I would have access.

It is possible to clone a repository from one service to the other with all its revision history and branches (details here), so I'm not locking myself in to either platform.

My question is, is it a problem to share my work publicly like this, before its fully baked?

  • 2
    Once it's fully baked, what is your intent? Will you try submitting it to traditional publishers, or will you self publish it, or will it just stay where it is now?
    – DoWhileNot
    Jun 1, 2016 at 15:22
  • I don't bother with traditional publishers. Self publish all the way. Jun 3, 2016 at 12:44
  • The reason I asked is because traditional publishers often care about first publishing rights... that's not an issue here. So dude, what's the issue? If you have readers that are so interested in reading your work that they're searching for it and finding your early drafts on github, then you should reward them, make them beta readers, collect their comments and email addresses, and send them out newsletters and updates. These are people you want to have on your side. You should be very nice to them.
    – DoWhileNot
    Jun 3, 2016 at 15:42
  • @DoWhileNot thats good knowledge. Thanks. Free free to post it as an answer. Jun 3, 2016 at 16:01
  • IANAL, but be sure to look at GitHub's user agreements. I thought there was something in there about their free accounts being open source - which might prevent or complicate your legal rights to sell the work(s) later. I don't know any specifics.
    – Joe
    Jun 7, 2016 at 19:07

3 Answers 3


If you want to share your work while you write it, github is an okay way to do that. It's not great, because it's usable only by the tiny fraction of people who know how to use git.

Consider LeanPub.com. Many of my colleagues publish their books through LeanPub.com. LeanPub converts writers' manuscripts (written in markdown) into standard epub files. And writers can make their books available while they write, and update as often as they want.

LeanPub may be slightly less convenient for the writer (because you have to do a teeny tiny bit more than simply commit your changes), but it's much more convenient for early readers who don't know git.


I keep my fanfiction on Github.


I have since moved all of my original writing over to a Gitlab self hosted server that I have through a company called scaleways. This allows me to do all of my editing and work flow through something I enjoy like Github but without worrying about fees or licensing concerns.

I think you should look into hosting your own Gitlab server. Companies like scaleways can do one-click installations of Gitlab for less than $10 per month.

  • I go even simpler than that for my fiction. I have the "local" repo where I write, and a "remote" (bare) repo that is just another place on my local hard drive. The "remote" repo is in my Dropbox folder, so it syncs across all of my computers. Jun 8, 2016 at 5:27
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    I used the dropbox method my self for a while but I realized how useful having access to a WIKI, logs, and the ability to give friends and family accounts so they can review and edit in the browser. My beta reader is not "git" savvy, but she can log into gitlab and add comments through the gitlab GUI without a problem. She picks a line, clicks the comment button, and a few seconds later I have a detailed note on what to change or how to improve. I love it! Jun 8, 2016 at 13:29

Have a look at medium.com it is built for writers it has revisions and notations.

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