Skip to main content

Poetry FAQs: When is something considered published?

Editor Robert Lee Brewer addresses the very common question about when is something considered published? Does including a poem in a blog post or the comments of a website mean the writing is considered published? Get the answers here.

Okay, this question has been coming up a lot recently in the comments section of this blog: What counts as previously published? And, in relation to this blog, does posting a poem in the comments of this blog mean it's "published"?

When is something considered published? When is writing published?

For Individual Poems

Many editors consider anything published anywhere at any time under any circumstances as published. This can even include public readings. And if a publication specifies what they consider published in their guidelines, it would behoove a poet (or any writer really) to respect the editor's considerations.

(What is the value of poetry?)

With such editors, a poem posted anywhere counts as publication, whether it's posted in a public forum or blog, or even a private, password-protected location online. In such cases, poems posted on this blog would be considered "previously published." However, there are editors who take a slightly different view.

Some editors consider a poem unpublished if it only displays on a personal blog and/or is in a "draft" form in a forum or blog. That is, if your poem on Poetic Asides is only a rough draft and not the final version, it would not be considered "previously published." If editors do not specify what they consider previously published, there's a good chance they fall into this camp.

*****

The Complete Guide of Poetic Forms

Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

Click to continue.

*****

For Poetry Collections

Except for rare cases, most editors/publishers of poetry collections accept previously published poems as long as the collection itself has not been previously published. Actually, the fact that poems are previously published usually helps in getting the collection published. That said, do NOT try to use poems posted on a personal blog or public forum as a publishing credit. Such credits hold little weight, since there is usually no screening process, because everyone can get published.

My main point here is that individual poems that are considered published by journals can still be considered unpublished as components of a poetry collection. And that even individual poems that are considered published are welcome in "original" collections of poems.

In fact, "new collections" can be made from selecting poems from previous full-length collections and chapbooks.

So, How Should Poets Proceed?

Armed with your knowledge of what is and is not considered published, you've just got to pick your battles and act accordingly. For instance, most of my poems are not published on my blog, because I want to have as many publishing options available to me as possible. I share drafts of these "unpublished" poems with close poet friends to solicit feedback for revisions.

The poems I post as parts of prompts, I consider "published," though I would not use it as a publishing credit if I tried including any of them in a collection, because I also consider my poems on this blog to be "vanity publication credits." I make an informed decision to write a poem a week just for the act of creation.

Considering how much money most published poets make anyway, I don't view this as such a bad decision. But every poet has to make this decision on their own.

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

What happens to historical fiction when history repeats itself? Author Addison Armstrong discusses writing about the past and seeing it reflected in the present.

From Script

Art and Independence (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, exclusive interviews with Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” television writer Vanessa Benton, Allegoria writer-director Spider One, Hulu’s Prey screenwriter Patrick Aison and director Dan Trachtenberg, and more!

Steven Hartov: On Shocking Truths in Historical Fiction

Steven Hartov: On Shocking Truths in Historical Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Steven Hartov discusses the surprising truths he discovered when writing his new historical fiction novel, The Last of the Seven.

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Award-winning author Larry Beinhart discusses what he learned in the process of writing his new mystery novel, The Deal Goes Down.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A Competition Announcement, 6 WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our self-published e-book awards, 6 WDU courses, and more!

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Award-winning playwright and author Leah Franqui discusses how she examined her life through a fictive lens with her new novel, After the Hurricane.

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch discusses how to pace your story's fight scene and shares three examples from writers who tackle pacing differently.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is rushing the drafting process.

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

USA Today bestselling author Kwana Jackson discusses writing her new romance novel, Knot Again.