The Problem of “Previously Published”

photoAs many writers know, most editors disallow previously published submissions, including personal blog entries. There doesn’t seem to be much sense in this, given that the majority of bloggers have a modest number of followers, and the internet is not rife with their work. As for those canny bloggers with several thousand fans, well they are probably less interested in placing their work in a journal.

Once or twice a week, largely by chance, I discover a blogger whose writing moves me. I often leave comments on their blogs; occasionally I’ll use their contact forms to share my thanks or praise.

As an author, I craft my posts with care, knowing they represent my writing ability. I also try to choose topics I find compelling and important; I want my words to matter. From what I’ve seen, many other bloggers feel the same way. Their excellent posts deserve a wider readership.

Of course the dilemma of previously published material can be bypassed. Writers can forego their blogs and submit their best work to publishers instead. This approach is sound but frustrating. For one thing, most writers wait months for responses to their submissions, which makes for a lot of blog downtime. Bloggers, just to keep their site alive, are compelled to post other things in the interim, usually pieces in which they have less stake. Also, the content of some submissions is time-sensitive; a long wait can dilute their impact. In either case, the posts an author is most proud of, has worked hardest on, are not available.

I think it’s fair to require that posts submitted to journals be first removed from blogs, but refusing to consider any blog entry, however brief its appearance, seems excessive.

What do you think?

Published by

Jean Ryan

Jean Ryan, a native Vermonter, lives in Napa, California. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. She has also published a novel, LOST SISTER. Her short story collections, SURVIVAL SKILLS and LOVERS AND LONERS, are available online. STRANGE COMPANY, a collection of short nature essays, is available in paperback as well as digital and audio editions.

2 thoughts on “The Problem of “Previously Published”

  1. I’ve struggled with this. I have a couple of essays that I think are really good, but I’m “saving” them for possible submission and publication elsewhere. This prevents me from sharing them with my blogging friends … the people giving me the most support for my writing. It seems unfair and it’s forced me to divide my content into “submission worthy topics” and “blogging topics.”

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