"If I publish a poem on my blog, can I still submit it to your publication?"

I asked five publishers (two online and three print) that question and the answer is YES.

Admittedly, the editors I asked at the AWP book fair were surprised at the question. I was left with the impression that they do not have a policy in place. In fact, I'm not sure how often the question comes up. Unless a poem has been previously published on an online journal or in a print publication, it is not considered published if it is on a blog.

One editor said it was the equivalent to me, for instance, printing out a poem from my computer and handing it to a friend. Is that considered published? Technically yes, but it doesn't count. That same editor asked if my blog was a popular blog ... so if I had a high readership, would it be worth it for an establish publication to pick up the poem?

These five publishers are not the be all-end all when it comes to submitting work (and I'm not naming names, though tempting). But there is a lot of gray area that hasn't been defined. I say--take advantage of the gap and send out your blog poems. Just be sure to double check each publisher's submission guidelines.


didi said…
I think I will address this question on MiPOesias. I am going to make it official that the answer is NO.

Thank you,
Didi Menendez
January said…
Hi Didi. I was at the Online Literary Journal presentation with Amy King, and I enjoyed what she had to say immensely.

From a submitters point of view, can you elaborate on why you would not allow poems published on a blog to be submitted.
Didi Menendez said…
Because a blog is a self publishing tool. You are published already. As you know each publication has a different answer. Mine is sorry charlie.

Thanks -

Didi Menendez
Anonymous said…
Hi, January! Welcome back. I just submitted an article on this for a futre feature on Poetry Thursday (as you know I freaked out about this in December and yanked all my work down).

Some of the publications I interviewed said you can't submit blog work; others said you can. It seems to be different, publication by publication.

Glad to hear some more falling on the side of the blogger. But it's important for us to stay informed.

I'll let you know when dana posts the article.
Catherine said…
I've always thought that if it is on the internet, it is published - in a totally different way than printing out one copy from a friend from your computer might be considered "published". On a blog, it is potentially available to anyone worldwide to read. (Unless perhaps you password protected your blog and only gave the password to a small circle of friends).
An editor could easily check whether it is previously published by entering a few words into a google search. Though as I inserted a tag into my blog to prevent it being indexed by google, it may be harder for mine. I must check it sometime.
I do publish my Poetry Thursday poems on my blog, because it would seem mean not to when it is their prompt that inspired the poem. Other than that, I try not to put a poem there if I think I might want to send it to a journal.But since they keep coming back from most publications, maybe I should stop bothering about it and just put them on the blog in the first plac, instead of waiting until they have been rejected enough that I give up sending them out.
mmmm, very interesting...

I tend to put first drafts of the poems on my blog ~ so the ones i send out to journals are not the same... also if they are accepted even those first drafts come straight down...

the responses i get to posting for PT are too thrilling not to share those poems online. maybe i seek out the immediate thrill too easily at the expense of more delayed pleasures... ;-)
Emily said…
Thank you for asking this question! It seems difficult to navigate. So it seems like you can send poems for publication if you take them off your blog, no?
Catherine said…
If putting them in your blog is publishing, then taking them off doesn't mean you didn't publish them. Just as publishing in a book doesn't become null and void if the book is out of print. Of course, if you take them down it may be harder for a publisher to find them - but they may still exist online, for instance in Google's "cache"
January said…
I'm not saying anyone should mislead a publisher. Certainly look for publishers that will print works previously posted on a blog. But if they don't have a policy in place, I say take advantage of that and send in your work.
Anonymous said…

I believe my article on the subject will appear this Wednesday 3/14 on Poetry Thursday.
amy said…
Hi January,

I just wanted to say three things:

I absolutely love your name!

Thanks for attending my panel, &

I appreciate your comment about the panel & my efforts! Glad to know I contributed something helpful~

Be well,

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