PDA

View Full Version : Taking Back Short Stories



Button
08-01-2005, 05:38 AM
I forgot that I also wanted to ask.

I had a great short story I wrote and posted to the web in a couple places but wonder now if I shouldn't have considered it for publication. (Since it's my story, of course I think it's worthy!)

I was wondering what I could do. Should I take it off pages online and see to it that I wait a couple months before I submit it to make sure each one is erased? It was only posted on DeviantArt and Write.com so I should be able to take it off and try to see it published?

RainBrain
08-01-2005, 09:11 AM
I forgot that I also wanted to ask.

I had a great short story I wrote and posted to the web in a couple places but wonder now if I shouldn't have considered it for publication. (Since it's my story, of course I think it's worthy!)

I was wondering what I could do. Should I take it off pages online and see to it that I wait a couple months before I submit it to make sure each one is erased? It was only posted on DeviantArt and Write.com so I should be able to take it off and try to see it published?

its never a good idea to post your work on the web. thats one of the top ten doomed mistakes a writer can make. if too many creative people read your masterpiece, they'll re-write a story of their own based on your concepts. before u know it, there are hundreds of stories just like yours being submitted.

if u want approval on how good your work it, send it to publishers instead of the web. the web will only throw you in the negative

Birol
08-01-2005, 10:26 AM
ButtontheCat, if the forums were open to the public and not password protected, if just anyone could happen by and see the stories, many publishers consider them already published. First Rights are gone. You can always find markets that accept reprints.

Button
08-01-2005, 06:21 PM
Oh well. I might try to sell it at a reprint. I'd just love to see it in print though. lol

I might try it with a few little magazines just to see how it works out. I may edit it up a little but we'll see how it goes. I never really considered it before, but since I wrote a new short stories, I've been looking at submission guidelines. I've got a bug on me now. :p

AprilBoo
08-01-2005, 07:00 PM
ButtontheCat, if the forums were open to the public and not password protected, if just anyone could happen by and see the stories, many publishers consider them already published. First Rights are gone. You can always find markets that accept reprints.



I think there is a thread about this somewhere else on the board, but I can't find it to link. Can anyone else supply a link? In the alternative, can someone name some specific markets that consider posting on the web publication? I've sold stories on online webzines, but I signed copyright agreements, etc., so there is no question that first rights are gone. But if you just post it somewhere like your personal website, what mags are considering that published? That's not the kind of thing I would count as a clip. Just curious.

rich
08-01-2005, 07:23 PM
There are no guidelines for it. It's mostly up to individual editors. If you go to Glimmer Train's site and click on FAQ's they give you a very clear, detailed account of what they consider already published.

I had an unpublished piece--"Bagels and the Sunday Paper"--on my website for about a week, took it off and had it published in The Front Porch. Since, at most, I had only 50 hits that week, and I don't have advertisement, I felt that first rights were still in order.

One of these days I'll start maintaining the site. I wanted to put all published stuff there, but I'm too lazy to fiddle with the html.

http://www.marinosward.com/

Birol
08-01-2005, 09:04 PM
I've sold stories on online webzines, but I signed copyright agreements, etc., so there is no question that first rights are gone. But if you just post it somewhere like your personal website, what mags are considering that published? That's not the kind of thing I would count as a clip. Just curious.

From a reader's perspective, how is reading something on your personal website different than reading something published on a webzine?

AprilBoo
08-02-2005, 12:46 AM
From a reader's perspective, it probably isn't different. But that doesn't mean a pub's perspective would be the same. You wouldn't send your posts on this message board in as clips of published works, would you?

Button
08-02-2005, 01:56 AM
Now that's something to think about. I use to hold poetry and short stories and sometimes first chapters to some of my books in my blogs or on my website somewhere.

When I would submit my work to magazines, I would provide a link to previous fiction works only to provide more examples. Okay, I was 17 when I started submitting fiction and I thought it was a good idea. I've not submitted short works in a long time so I never thought about it before. I suppose my poetry would all be considered previously published.

It's not that I don't mind sharing some of my 'little works of art' with everyone who came to my website. I just wanted to get an idea of what I could do with one really good piece. Perhaps from now on I should keep my stuff off my website. :p

Birol
08-02-2005, 01:59 AM
No, but these are more snippets of conversation. Informal. The thing that I'm getting at, when does a website become something personal and when does it become a business? Just because something is self-published does not mean it hasn't been published.

Pay is also not a factor, as many non-paying publications claim First Rights. I have seen guidelines other than Glimmer Train that spell out that if it was posted on a website, they consider it published. I'll see if I can find them again as examples.

In the meantime, why take the chance that the editor or a reader of the zine might have seen it when it was posted elsewhere? If you want to submit something you've had posted on another site, be honest and upfront and state where it had been previously posted and in what capacity. Some publications may not care. I'm betting most of the paying ones will, though.

firehorse
08-02-2005, 02:12 AM
Birol, what about things like, oh, Idol entries? I consider them entered into contests (and therefore not eligible for simultaneous submission), but are they technically published?

skc

Greer
08-02-2005, 02:38 AM
http://www.glimmertrain.com/whgltrdeofu.html

This is many journals' policy on unpublished/published manuscripts and the web. Note the advertising stipulation and whether or not stories by other writers are published alongside yours. Personally, I hesitate to put any of my writing on the web, unless it's in a controlled-access environment, especially if I'm interested in publishing it in a journal in the future. What's the advantage?

pdr
08-02-2005, 08:06 AM
Just to add to the general opinion, most of the editors I've worked with consider work posted on writers' websites or open writers' sites to be published. However I am now confused.

Most of the stuff I've sold to websites has been previously published in hard copy magazines and I then sold the electronic rights of these works to the zine markets.

If I write an article for a zine and sell my electronic rights - which are usually for three months - then surely I still hold First Serial Rights for all the hard copy magazines in countries that are my usual markets? And surely I can then legitimately sell FSRs if the editor does not state that they will not accept work already published on websites?

Birol
08-02-2005, 09:37 AM
Birol, what about things like, oh, Idol entries? I consider them entered into contests (and therefore not eligible for simultaneous submission), but are they technically published?

skc

Firehorse, AprilBoo was asking specifically about using posts as clips. I was assuming she was referring to posts like this response from me to you. Idol entries, Share Your Work, etc., I know some pubs would consider those published.

The best advice I've heard and can give is check the writer's guidelines for any pub you want to submit to and, if there's any doubt, be honest and upfront with the editor.

reph
08-02-2005, 10:48 AM
Birol's right, folks. Even for nonliterary material, Web publication may disqualify writing for print publication. I sent some wordplay items to a popular puzzle site maintained by Janet Muggeridge (not password-protected) before I knew they had commercial value. Later, the editor at Dell Magazines didn't want them because they'd appeared there, even though, by the time I asked him, the site had long been closed. He routinely accepts similar material from me, so the content wasn't the problem.

Be careful what you post in Share Your Work.

AprilBoo
08-02-2005, 05:34 PM
If I write an article for a zine and sell my electronic rights - which are usually for three months - then surely I still hold First Serial Rights for all the hard copy magazines in countries that are my usual markets? And surely I can then legitimately sell FSRs if the editor does not state that they will not accept work already published on websites?



I don't know - what if the pub wants to buy electronic rights as well? Would you then be selling FSR and 2nd electronic? I always sort of thought (and this is a construction of my own mind, I attribute no authority to it other than my own) that there was a bit of a hierarchy about rights - FSR at the top, with 2nd print, anthology, and electronic about on the same level as secondary markets. I've never sold anything to a webzine that I planned to submit to a print market.

Mike Coombes
08-02-2005, 07:10 PM
The NFG view, which is reflected by most other editors, is that if it has appeared anywhere else where it is accessible by the public, it's published. Why should a magazine pay to publish a story you've already given away for free?

And yes, it does affect your first rights - stories appearing on the internet are available to all, worldwide.

But... you're writers, for god's sake! So maybe you can't recycle a story. So what? Write another one. Be professional in your attitude. don't try to palm editors off with second hand goods - write more.

Jamesaritchie
08-03-2005, 07:58 PM
Just to add to the general opinion, most of the editors I've worked with consider work posted on writers' websites or open writers' sites to be published. However I am now confused.

Most of the stuff I've sold to websites has been previously published in hard copy magazines and I then sold the electronic rights of these works to the zine markets.

If I write an article for a zine and sell my electronic rights - which are usually for three months - then surely I still hold First Serial Rights for all the hard copy magazines in countries that are my usual markets? And surely I can then legitimately sell FSRs if the editor does not state that they will not accept work already published on websites?

No. First Rights simply means a magazine wants to be the first to publish that story. Essentially, whatever rights you sell first ARE first rights.

A magazine does not have to state they do not want stories already published on websites. When they say they want first rights, they ARE stating this loud and clear.

Magazines that buy first rights want that story to be published FIRST in their magazine, and they want their readers to be the FIRST readers anywhere to have read that story. That's what first rights means.

No editor wants to receive a letter or e-mail from one of his subscribers that says something like, "Dear Blithering Idiot, what gives? I read "Joe Cat Gets Fat" online six months ago, and now I pay five bucks for your stinking mag just to read that same story again? Please cancel my subscription immediately."

And editors do receive such letters when writers aren't upfront about a story's publishing history. Crap rolls downhill, and the writer is always the one at the bottom of the hill. When a reader rolls such a ball of crap at an editor, that editor rightfully rolls it on down the hill so it squishes the writer.

Whoever publishes a story first, print or electronic, has just used first rights to that story, regardless of what the specific rights you sold were called. First means first. It never, ever means second.

Jamesaritchie
08-03-2005, 08:03 PM
I don't know - what if the pub wants to buy electronic rights as well? Would you then be selling FSR and 2nd electronic? I always sort of thought (and this is a construction of my own mind, I attribute no authority to it other than my own) that there was a bit of a hierarchy about rights - FSR at the top, with 2nd print, anthology, and electronic about on the same level as secondary markets. I've never sold anything to a webzine that I planned to submit to a print market.

No, you would be selling first rights and electronic rights, and the magazine can use them in whatever order they wish.

There are really only two levels to the hierarchy of rights. First rights comes first, and whoever publishes a story first in any form has just used first rights. Everything else is a second right, a reprint right, and can come in any order.

This does not mean no print editor will ever buy a story that has been published online, though it's unlikely magazines of any size will, but it does mean you have to tell the editor, and he has to be the one who makes the decision.

pdr
08-04-2005, 12:47 PM
That was nice and clear, James, thank you.

However can we clarify FSRs a little more? The first publication of a piece of writing in, say South Africa, only sells the SA FSR. A writer is then free to sell the FSR to other countries.

I sell my work to the UK, USA, Canada, Oz, NZ, S. Afric and Europe. Most of the editors only want to be first to publish in their own country.

Birol
08-04-2005, 04:56 PM
I would agree with that with the exception of the US. United States' markets are notorious for wanting First North American Rights. This means they take the First Rights of any country located on the North American continent.

Jamesaritchie
08-05-2005, 01:39 AM
That was nice and clear, James, thank you.

However can we clarify FSRs a little more? The first publication of a piece of writing in, say South Africa, only sells the SA FSR. A writer is then free to sell the FSR to other countries.

I sell my work to the UK, USA, Canada, Oz, NZ, S. Afric and Europe. Most of the editors only want to be first to publish in their own country.


That was nice and clear, James, thank you.

However can we clarify FSRs a little more? The first publication of a piece of writing in, say South Africa, only sells the SA FSR. A writer is then free to sell the FSR to other countries.

I sell my work to the UK, USA, Canada, Oz, NZ, S. Afric and Europe. Most of the editors only want to be first to publish in their own country.

Sure, but this is solely because of expected readership, and it's changing rapidly, even in those countries.

I think what you're missing is that is has nothing to do with what you're free to sell. It has to do solely with what an editor is willing to buy.

Before the internet, there was no problem. Even when a story was published in a dozen other countries, the odds were still nearly 100% than none of your readers had seen it. The internet has changed this. Any story published online is available to the entire world.

If your story has only been published in a South African print magazine, I will still buy First Rights for my North American magazine, not because of legality, not because of heirarchy, but because it will be the FIRST time any of my readers have seen the story.

That's what it's all about to an editor. Unless the magazine is one that accepts reprints as a matter of course, editors want stories the readers of that magazine have not seen before. As an editor, I don't care whether or not you're allowed to sell first rights; I care only about my readers because they're the ones I have to answer to.

Every editor has the right to know the publication history of any story submitted to him, and if you fail to tell the editor the publication history of a story, sooner or later it will come back and bite you. Editors talk, and word really does get around. Believe me, nothing ticks off an editor more than having readers tell him he just published a story they've already seen.

The internet has changed things, and there are no territorial borders to a story published online.

Forget about whether or not you own certain rights. Forget about hierarchy. Neither matters. It all comes down to editors. You can't sell something to an editor if that editor doesn't want to buy it, and no editor wants a story any percentage of his readers have already read.

pdr
08-08-2005, 07:58 AM
This is the umpteenth time in the last week that I've tried to put up a thank you to you, James, on this thread. Every time I hit the post reply button my message vanishes. I am most inept with I.T. technology anyway but this is snarl making.

Thank you for the comments, James, may I quote your: 'it has nothing to do with what you're free to sell. It has to do solely with what an editor is willing to buy.' to my next class of beginner writers? They find that sort of thing difficult to take on board.

Your comments about letting editors know the publishing history of a story can make life difficult for a writer who wants to sell a story to several different countries. You American editors are very picky and most seem to want to be the very first to ever publish a story. What works for me is to offer a story to the USA first. Then I sell to the UK who mainly aren't as concerned about the story having been published in the USA or elsewhere. Oz editors want a story before New Zealand so they come next. Canadian, South African, NZ and European editors are quite relaxed, I've found. This is selling a literary/mainstream story of course. Selling women's magazine fiction is very different as often magazines are published in one country but actually sell in several. Many of the British women's magazines sell in most of the Commonwealth countries too so that limits my sales!

Jamesaritchie
08-08-2005, 08:19 AM
Sure, quote away, and with my thanks.

JennaGlatzer
08-08-2005, 08:44 AM
Ha! Was just coming over to check if there was something wrong with this thread. Glad you made it through, pdr. :)

pdr
08-09-2005, 06:57 AM
Yes, I did e-mail you right back, Jenna, when I made a break through! Heaven only knows what I was doing that was wrong but I was getting a 'corrupt thread' message until third try yesterday!