The Published Writer

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Hope this helps! The excerpt itself would be considered previously published if you wanted to submit it to other literary journals. However, it is OK for a book to have excerpts from it published. Hi John. Yes, YouTube performances of your work are considered published. Posting the first 1, words to a 7,, fictional piece to a blog that you take down, having too changed the title of the fictional piece in question spelling of said title , will any of this be problematic with publishers?

Are they considered published? Thank you for your inquiry, Annette.

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But printing a section of the book, even a brief section, would be considered publishing an excerpt. I have unique ideas in my book that I sometimes share on a forum. If I am not directly quoting my unpublished book, is it okay? If I copy and paste a very short section less than a page of my non-fiction book to answer a question in a forum, is that okay?

Hi, Todd!

But yes, editors would prefer to stay away from any rights entanglements. If I post a poem on say Facebook. I Copyright everything Pretty Easy actually.. Copyright year T.

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Carter See how Easy that was?. I Own it, so Why do publishers still hold it against you if you put your work on display…Especially since maybe only a few handfuls of people saw it? Yes, your poetry would now be considered published. I have self-published print a book of poems. However, it is self-published only in the sense that I had someone print up a small run of the books, which I give to people friends and acquaintances. It has never been offered for sale to the general public, online or otherwise. The book does have an ISBN. In your opinion, does this count as prior publication? I am asking because I would like to submit individual poems from the book to poetry journals.

Ok I get it now! I always wondered what constituted Previously Published Writing but after reading clear as day! Thank you for this great explanation.


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Thank you for your blog comment! Unfortunately, even if you decide to remove the work from KDP, your book would still be considered previously published. We do not believe that changing the title would change the fact that it has been previously published. Though some literary agents prefer previously unpublished manuscripts, some either do not have a preference or are willing to accept self-published books. You would need to research the agents in order to decipher which ones would be willing to take a look at your manuscript.

Best of luck! Now, I want to go down the traditional publishing route.

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As far as I know, I retain the copyright. Can I remove the works from KDP unpublish and approach agents with a slightly different book title but the same content , or should I approach them with the same book? Also, even though I retain the rights, is it considered previously published? Please help! However, if a digital copy of the newsletter was sent out to people on a mailing list, then your work that appeared in the newsletter would be considered previously published. Hi, I know this article is a few years old but I do have a question. A few months back I worked as a secretary in a small nonprofit organization.

One part of my job was to put together a company newsletter, and I decided to put a few of my short stories in there along with company news. The copies of the newsletters were shredded when the next issue came out. The digital copies remain on the company database. Would these be considered published? Thank you for your inquiry, Heather. We are not lawyers, so we cannot offer any legal advice.

However, if a podcast has a written transcript that is available online and includes the story, it may be considered previously published since it can be found online. We would recommend consulting a lawyer with experience in the publishing industry for more information. And does it make a difference if it is the author of the story reading their own work on that podcast? Thanks for any answers. I just put this question in the live chat box but no-one seems to be there — no doubt due to time zone differences — so I am posting it here also.

For I am setting up a website to talk about my poetry and share information on competitions and magazine submissions that might be interesting to people who follow me. I am already aware of not putting any individual poems onto the website that I might want to submit into any such competitions or magazines. Being blind and stuck with a rubbish memory, it is hard for me to memorise poems for open mic nights, but at the end of I did manage to commit 3 poems to memory to read at a local library poetry afternoon. A friend recorded a video of my 3 poems, and I would love to put it on YouTube and stream the YouTube on my new website.

But all 3 poems are currently entered into competitions or magazine submissions, and so I was uneasy about asking my website designer to look at uploading my video onto YouTube for me. I am very pleased to have read the information and thoughts related in this whole thread. I am pleased to end by saying that this leaves me with no question to ask at the moment! Thanks everybody. Hi, Mark— Unfortunately, any poems or short stories you self-publish would be considered previously published and would not be considered by most literary journal editors. If you still want to go ahead and self-publish your poetry collection, please consider letting our Self-Publishing Relief team assist you!

Great information WR, thanks. I am thinking of self-publishing a poetry collection — both a hard copy and a Kindle version. Some of the poems have already been published in literary journals. Once I self-publish the collection, can I still submit the poems the have not been already published in journals to journals? I believe the same would apply for a short story collection.

In essence, does self-publishing a collection of poetry or short stories cut you off from submitting individual poems or stories to literary journals? Many thanks, Mark. Sherlynn, As long as you retained all the rights to the novel, you can try to publish it again. Most of the time that is the case with self-publishing companies, but you should look at the agreement you signed with that company to make sure. Hi, I self-published a novel through a third party two years ago. Frankly, I was scammed and have never received any royalties. I own the copyright to the novel.

I would like to have the book republished through a more traditional method; with a new, slightly different, title. Is this legal? Hi, Jeff. Great question! It would depend on the journal that originally published your work, so make sure to check the contract. Usually, the rights revert to the author after publication, so in most cases this would not be a problem.

Find out if the journal also asks for an attribution, and follow their wishes. So I guess in a reverse to the original question posed here: Can I do that? Sorry if the answer was here and I missed it. Mel, we would suggest removing those poems. Most agents and editors consider work on personal blogs and websites to be published. So yes, your scenario might provide difficult to find publication.

I have the capability to delete them but would prefer not to, would this make publishing the improved versions difficult? Miles, Since a book can be published as an audio book—in our opinion, if a work is made available in an audio format online, it may be considered published by some editors. Each editor is different. I read my work at open mics and it gets a great reaction, so some people post videos of me online.

Also, the positive feedback makes me want to start recording some poems as audio files, then post them in facebook groups. Is this publishing? It seems as if some writers are having issues with their work on Wattpad being stolen and republished by others. While we are not experts on copyright law, this does raise a red flag with us, so we would advise against posting work on Wattpad based on what Janet Reid noted in her blog post. First, thanks for a great post.

You all have given me so much great advice on here. Someone else in these comments mentioned Wattpad, but I wanted to bring it up again for clarification. Would those be weird exceptions to the rule? Those books were probably also heavily revised. I also saw someone post on a forum about his query letter success, and at the end of the letter he mentioned that the novel he was querying had been on Wattpad and won an award and garnered hundreds of thousands of views. This query got him four requests and an offer of representation. I just wanted to ask if these are odd exceptions to the rule, and if you would still recommend not posting a novel to Wattpad that you want to get traditionally published.

Thank you in advance for your help! Clark, if you were considering making any of these chapters short stories, you might be in some shaky territory. Just to be on the safe side, we would advise against posting your entire manuscript on this forum, as the problems with SEO might have some agents think that this work has been published already.

I have posted 6 of the 36 chapters on an Amazon run writing forum called Write On by Kindle. And, after reading your post, I have come up with some questions.

What if I want to be a published author?

Again, I posted 6 chapters of this work, and I plan hopefully on sending in the completed manuscript for publishing when I get the chance. After reading this post, I went back to this site and put on a setting that only allows signed in members to view the entire work. With this on, could I go ahead and post the rest of the novel, and then take it down like you advise?

What you do need to know is how to present your work in the most professional manner possible. These are the basics every editor expects you to know before your manuscript hits his or her desk. Editors are interested in products, not ideas. What is your book about? Who is the intended readership? These are questions an editor will ask; being able to answer them will help you choose an appropriate publisher. If your book is a novel, to what genre or category does it belong? I realize that this is way after the fact, but thank you for a lot of incredibly useful information.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your next post thank you once again. I have published every semester in my college literary magazine run by students. Is there a chance that some organizations will not recognize those literary magazines as previously published? I have a question. Would it be considered copyright if a previously published thing that was not written by me appeared in my book? For example, if my main character was reading Romeo and Juliet out loud.

Good luck! I submitted a manuscript to an online contest and became a semi-finalist but did not win. I still hold all rights to my work and received no money for my contest entry. I have since removed the majority of my novel from this site, leaving only the introduction and first chapter. I am now considering querying literary agents but am unsure whether or not they would consider my novel for representation.

Would I be wasting my time—and theirs—by submitting my novel to reputable agents? Exactly, Mandy. Be honest—if they ask, let them know that an excerpt was online, but it was taken down. Unless there are any scathing reviews, which they may see if they end up searching for your excerpt. Alright, thank you for the feedback that helps a bunch! But if they ask if I had a previous excerpt publication online, as said earlier in an answer I should be honest, right?

My account is still active -sigh-, buy It will be taken down. The work I wish to publish is a different genre though, along with a new name. As for the reviews I have displeased emails that I have stopped the update hehe. Thank you for your answer and have a wonderful day! Rest assured, you can still submit your novel for publication. Depending on how well the novel was received on the previous site, you may or may not want to mention to the agent in question that the excerpt was published.

I have submitted the first few chapters of my novel on a website erotic website and they ensure that I do own the copywrite on everything. I stopped posting my writings on the website and announced I would no longer post due to personal reasons.

I also sent a email to the website asking to delete my previous account. I do not have the full story on the website. I am looking forward to hopefully making it into a novel and publishing it. I fear that I may have cheated myself out of the option to publish. I have see others that have posted their full stories on the website, then turned around and made a novel out of it. Hi Nikolas, good question! We understand if the publication is small, but published is published. I saw a comment about University literary magazines and the response was that a publication in one is considered previously published, but my quesiton is: Is it considered previously published if that university review does not hold any rights whatsoever or pay for the publication?


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  • My universities review is for a very small school under Not all writers are so lucky! When I started writing, I joined every writing and critique groups I could find. I have now cancelled most of my memberships. I now only belong to the local writing group,no more on line critiques. I submitted a short story to one such on line group. This group was powered by a point system.

    Beware of these…some people just can not be trusted to do the right thing when there is something to be gained. My little story got some excellent reviews and a few good points on spelling and punctuation, Hey… this was helpful…how could I have missed them?

    Then along came the guy that held the rating of big points…he posted that the story was a copy of another author.. When I investigated the story he said I plagiarized it was a love story, mine is a horror.. So I wrote him off as a troll and ignored the review. I continued to push on trying to establish a career in writing…but things on the web sometime never go away. A couple of months had past and I was now querying for a new horror novel…almost a year and not a single bite. What was I doing wrong…was it really that bad? I was about to give up writing forever…I got up the nerve to do the unthinkable and break the rules.

    It was explained to me that public image is one thing they look for before taking on a client and my first hit on a google search brought up a bad review. Well, there it was! That bad review in that little online site. I contacted the site admin. I had always thought.. Hi Jessica, great question! Taking the work down was good choice; one of the main issues editors have with work published online is being able to search for specific sentences on the Internet and finding them popping up on another site. But, since your work has been changed so heavily, you should be in the clear. Also, keep in mind that publically displaying excerpts of a novel does not make the work as a whole ineligible for publication.

    To answer your last question, it depends on the genre. Novels, however, can be self-published and sold, and still be picked up by an agent. Hi there. I was introduced to some sites for writers Wattpad. As soon as I realized posting online could hinder my chances of being published, I have since decided to take them down. I just came by to view this blog. It seems to be really superb and I enjoyed reading it, thanks for the helpful post!

    Good question, Timmy! Agents rarely have an issue with excerpts of longer works being publically visible, as they act like advertisements for your work as a whole. You can even put excerpts of an unpublished work on your author website if you have one to garner attention for your work as a whole! Hi, there. Great site. I don;t think this is redundant: I have a manuscript and still looking for an agent. Will having an excerpt—less than a full chapter and modified a bit—published on an online magazine, like Slate. Would I need permission from the web site?

    Hi Andy, your work should be fine to submit. Okay, so I ended up posting the first fiveish chapters of my story up on Fictionpress. Then I took it down. That would be fine right? Should it? Glad we could help. Better to be safe than sorry! Thank you! Hi Glaura, good question! I have a question, hopefully someone can answer it! I am currently posting my novel on a wordpress. I know this article said blogs DO count as previously published, but is it okay if my blog is private? Thanks for the help. Moshen, great question! That way, the editor in question will understand that you did not post the entire poem AND did not simply snag those four lines from the Internet.

    I posted 4 stanzas from one of my English poems on Yahoo Answers more than two years ago for native speakers of English to read. Even now the cached web pages appear in Google results when I search for an exact line from those 4 stanzas. Considering the fact my poem has a total of 14 stanzas, can I still publish it?

    Andy, good question. Whewn a site publically displays your work, there is no way for editors to know how many people have seen it. If you still want to share your work with others over the internet, you can check out our blog post, 5 Safe Ways To Share Your Writing Online , for a few tips and suggestions. Otherwise, you can just show it to friends, family, teachers, etc.! Would I have to take it down? Or would no one publish it for me at all?

    Larry, good question! This is actually a very positive situation for you. Excerpting from your memoir—and subsequently having that excerpt published—does wonders for your acceptance rate! When you send your memoir out to literary agents, including that publication on your query letter assures agents that your memoir is written well and is of a high enough quality to garner attention from other publishers. At the end of the workshop they asked for submissions from our work there. I submitted a condensed highlight of a couple of the chapters words from my memoir, and it was accepted for publication.

    They do assure me that all copyright returns to me upon publication, but my concern is if this will have any impact on trying to place my larger work when it is finished? Thanks a lot for this very timely article. I was lucky to have stumbled across it today. I was just notified of the acceptance of the article less than a week ago so I think I still have time to change it, if necessary. Rajan, great question! If it was circulated to less than twenty people, you may be fine. Now I updated the review with all my references ; before it was just 20 , and also the new information I got in the past year.

    Cindy, thanks for the great question! Thanks so much for your question! Will this then be considered a previously published piece? Thank you. Start a Yahoo Group. Everyone can comment on your work in a close community, and interact with each other about it. Start your own password protected website or you can protect only the portion of your site that features your work. For example: If your Yahoo Group has a hundred members in it…well, that sounds like a bit more than sharing with some close friends.

    Same goes for workshopping websites; a typical writing workshop such as at a university will have only a handful of people in it. Bigger writers groups will often split into smaller groups as needed. Before I started wanting to get published I had shared my work with family members, friends and other internet-y folks by putting work up on a blog and on Facebook. This is mainly family members and close friends.

    Are there any methods you would recommend wherein I can share my work with a close-knit group such as this? Elya, This is a very good question. A video is published on YouTube. A piece is published on a blog. Best not to give editors any reason to choose a poem that has no strings attached instead of yours.

    But others will. Again, we recommend playing it safe if your goal is ultimately to see the work in print in a reputable magazine. I write poetry and I am interested in posting videotaped readings of some of my poems on yourtube or other websites. We might guess that music rights are divided into subrights…the right to perform, the right to print, the right to record, the right to broadcast, etc. If performed music was considered published music, no young musician with a cyber-following on YouTube would ever get a recording contract. And best of luck to you! Thank you — being the only holder of the copyright gives a GOOD strong specific!

    And as such, was curious how this is treated as re: the publication realm? I have pretty much realized that I may just have to self-publish other things I had been working on, which I erroneously placed on the web, way back when the whole pub area was new. I have recently been approached to issue this a separate Not the kcet footage youtube video, audio and as it has been sitting dormant for so long, about 15 years I may wish to pursue this, just to get it out and get on with it.

    Thank you so much for all your responses to the above questions — I have learned a lot!. Many Thanks, and may you all have a wonderful season! Your contract will specify what any repercussions are if you are in breach of the document you signed. Anything on the Web will likely be considered previously published. If so, what are the consequences? Jen, Sometimes the best thing to do is to just accept life lessons as gifts and look forward to the future. Yes, search engines can often find archived webpages.

    I am one of those writing all the time people. The Tree of Black Humor. Delilah S. Dawson: Making the magic happen. Reaching for books that go bump in the night. Current Issue See Inside Subscribe. Download today! How to find good sources. Re-breaking the bone: Hard revisions lead to stronger manuscripts. Conference Insider: Chicago Spring Fling. Finding the perfect title for your work. Digital and other non-writing skills helpful to the modern writer. What literary agents want. How to craft an anthology proposal. Literary Spotlight: Hidden Compass.

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