Dear Miss Snark,
A special interest group (a tax exempt organization dedicated to raising awareness about sexual abuse) wants to serialize my novel on their website. They claim the increased traffic to their site will serve as proof to publishers/agents that there is a large audience for the novel. (I believe they see this as a means for raising awareness about their organization and they plan to do some marketing if they serialize my novel.)
Would I be giving away first serial rights by doing this? How do you believe publishers/agents would view the results, assuming they were definitive?
I am so clueless.
Well, you're not so clueless you agreed to this harebrained idea.
First, they plan to take your work for no compensation.
Then they tell you it's for your own good.
Uh....aren't they supposed to be AGAINST abuse?
These people don't understand how publishing works.
They are also clueless in the extreme if they think anyone hasn't heard of sexual abuse by now. It's so old news it's ho hum.
It's also bizarre to think that hits on a FREE website bears any resemblence to what the market is for a book you have to pay for. You mention that in a query you will look and be the nitwit of the day.
Not to put too fine a point on it: what's in this for you? Market research? You'd do just as well to shop first serial rights...something you'd get paid for and would count as a publishing credit if it's in a serious publication.
Give these guys your money if you believe in the cause, but not your blood sweat & tears ...and the manuscript that goes with it.