Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Winning story - can I use it again?

Following on from the last question, Stephanie Smith sent in a query regarding previously published stories: is a short story that has won a competition online and has subsequently been added to that website deemed to have been 'published'?  In other words, can it be sent to anyone else?

If a story has appeared on a competition website, then it counts as published and would be ineligible for most other competitions. However, it’s always best to check the rules of any competition you intend to enter because there are some competitions where previously published entries are allowed and even, in a few cases, actively encouraged.

On the other hand, most competition rules state categorically that even stories work-shopped on public access peer review sites or private blogs are disqualified.

If you intend to submit a winning or placed story to an online site or a print magazine, then having it published online might not count against you. Indeed, it might even count in your favour because it shows the editor that your work is of prize winning quality. But, as with the competitions, you need to check the guidelines for each market as these will vary considerably and many publications refuse to accept previously published work, regardless of where or how it was published.

When submitting a previously published story, you should always mention this to the editor in your covering letter. You might think you’d be able to get away with not mentioning it, but you’d be surprised how often a reader will point out to the editor that they have already read a story on such and such site, which could land you in serious trouble if you’d failed to mention that you’d already given away electronic rights in your work.

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Flash Fiction Competition
Flash 500 Humour Verse Competition

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