Is Sharing Chapters of My Book a Good Idea?

Another Vegas picture, since I'm obsessed with Vegas right now

Another Vegas picture, since I’m obsessed with Vegas right now. It was taken while driving, so it’s a little blurry. 

I’m paranoid about my writing. It’s different from anything else that I do. No one can steal my violin playing, unless they get their hands on a recording of me and say it’s theirs, but that situation isn’t really possible, so I don’t worry about it.

Writing can be stolen. It isn’t concrete. It seems like if someone got hold of something I wrote, it would be hard to prove that I actually wrote it since the only place it exists besides my computer is in my head.

I was talking to my mom about my pipe dream of finishing my behemoth and trying to get it published. She said she’s heard it’s hard to get published unless you already have people interested in your work, and that I should share chapters of my book online.

Which just made me panic.

For people who have done it, how do you make sure your work is safe? Once you put it out there and anyone can get access to it, how do you protect it? I’m aware there are ways to copyright your work online, I just don’t know how to do it. I’m terrified enough of people just reading my work, so I don’t need the extra fear that it might be stolen.

Not like I’m JK Rowling or anything, and people are itching to steal my stuff because it will make them millions of dollars, but I’ve been alive long enough and have dealt with terrible enough people to know that trusting all the faceless, nameless internet people who I’ve never met is naive and stupid. I don’t know who’s out there looking, and there are enough people out there who would do something like that that I just don’t want to risk it.

So I’d appreciate any thoughts, advice, suggestions, etc. Is it a good idea, or is there a better way to get people reading my stuff? And if you do share, and people hate it, how do you get rid of the feeling of wanting to crawl into a hole and disappear until people forget that you or your writing ever existed? Thanks!

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