Skip to main content

Reprints for Creative Shorts: How and Where to Sell a Poem, Personal Essay or Short Story a Second Time

The reprint market isn’t just for nonfiction articles. If you're looking to sell a short story, personal essay or a poem that's already been published, there’s a good chance you can sell it again. Learn how.

[Don't miss Windy Lynn Harris at the Writer's Digest Annual Conference!]

Image placeholder title

Image by Jimi Filipovski on Unsplash

by Windy Lynn Harris

The reprint market isn’t just for nonfiction articles. If you're looking to sell a short story, personal essay or a poem that's already been published, there’s a good chance you can sell it again. More great news: Those terrific pieces you published on your blog? They can find a new home in the reprint market, too! Any previously published creative short that you’ve retained the rights to can be published a second (or third!) time.

Here’s everything you need to know:

WHAT QUALIFIES AS “PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED”?

Any time you’ve used or sold the First Rights to a piece of writing, it is considered “published” and can be sold as a reprint. Here are the most common examples:

  1. Any piece that has been published in a magazine or newspaper (in print or online).
  2. Blog posts.
  3. Website material.
  4. Social network posts (any piece of personal writing you’ve shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc).

SECOND SERIAL RIGHTS

The first time you sell a short story or another piece of writing (or post it yourself online), you are granting First Rights. After that, you’re only be able to sell Second Rights for that piece of work (also called Reprint Rights).

When your story or essay is published in a magazine, the publishing rights typically return to you 180 days later (from the date of publishing, not the date of your contract). Read your contract carefully to make sure you know when your rights are back in your hands. When you post something on your blog or website, you retain your rights and are able to sell them at any time. For more information about the rights you sell, you can visit the Copyright office: https://www.copyright.gov.

WHAT IF I REWRITE A PIECE FROM MY BLOG. IS IT NEW AGAIN?

You’ll likely fluff up a blog post before submitting it to a magazine, but unless you’ve completely rewritten the idea with all new words, it will still be considered “published.” Good news: There are plenty of magazines looking for great writing that’s been published before! Sell it as a reprint!

[Transforming a Short Story Into a Novel]

REPRINT ETTIQUETTE

Magazines don’t want your great story or poem to be in two magazines at the same time. It’s best to leave a nice grace period between the day you get your rights back and the day you submit your work to a new magazine—typically one year. It’s different when you’re targeting a whole new reading audience, though. For example: If you’ve sold an essay to a regional magazine, you can submit it to a different region’s magazines as soon as your rights have been returned.

It’s also considered good manners to remove a piece from your blog or website before submitting it to magazines.

Double-check that potential magazines accept reprints before sending your work. The reprint market for short creative pieces is big, but it’s only a fraction of the overall magazines. Always tell potential editors that you are submitting a reprint in your cover letter. Include the place and date of original publication.

MAGAZINES ACQUIRING REPRINTS

Many magazines accept poems, essays, and short stories that have been published before. Here’s a list of ten to get you started:

WHERE TO FIND MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR REPRINTS

Visit these writing resources to find other magazines accepting reprints:

Take a day this month and review your reprint possibilities. Don’t forget those blog posts and anything you’ve shared on social media. Create a list of potential magazines for your work and get your writing back out the door!

Windy Lynn Harris is the author of Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work Published ( from Writer’s Digest Books). She’s a prolific writer, a trusted mentor, and a frequent speaker at literary events. Her long list of short stories and personal essays have been published in literary, trade, and women’s magazines across the U.S. and Canada in places like The Literary Review,The Sunlight Press, and Literary Mama, among many other journals. She is also a freelance developmental editor-for-hire specializing in short prose. Learn more about selling short creative pieces at www.windylynnharris.com.

Image placeholder title

Are you ready to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and take your writing to new heights? This novel writing workshop is designed for novelists who are looking for book editing and specific feedback on their work. When you take this online workshop, you won't have weekly reading assignments or lectures. Instead, you'll get to focus solely on completing your novel. Learn more and register.

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Past experiences taught bestselling author Alan Russell to tread lightly when it came to collaborating on projects. Here, he discusses how the right person and the right story helped him go from a “me” to a “we.”

From Script

Short Film Goals, Writing the Cinematic Experience on the Page and Sundance Film Festival 2022 (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, set your creative goals with a monthly guide to write and produce your short film, provided by Script contributor Rebecca Norris Resnick. Plus, an exclusive interview with Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Monahan, a Sundance Film Festival 2022 day one recap, and more!

Your Story Writing Prompts

94 Your Story Writing Prompts

Due to popular demand, we've assembled all the Your Story writing prompts on WritersDigest.com in one post. Click the link to find each prompt, the winners, and more.

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

Historical fiction relies on research to help a story’s authenticity—but it can also lead to developments in the story itself. Here, author Lora Davies discusses how inspiration and research helped shape her new novel, The Widow’s Last Secret.

Poetic Forms

Saraband: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the saraband, a septet (or seven-line) form based on a forbidden dance.

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

International bestselling author Karen Hamilton discusses the “then and now” format of her new domestic thriller, The Ex-Husband.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give or face an ultimatum.

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Beach was friend to many writers who wrote what we consider classics today. Here, author Kerri Maher shares six things everyone should know about her and Shakespeare and Company.

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

Author Katherine Quevedo takes an analytical look at the creative process in hopes to help other writers find writing success.