Monday, June 27, 2011

When you are published -- please know you are

by Vivian Zabel  

          Did you know that when you post something on the Internet, it is published? That's correct. Even if you are a member of a writing site or review site, unless you restrict your items so that only selected members of that site can access your items, then you have published your work. Please don't try to submit to a publisher after that, unless the publisher will accept previously published material.

          Do I sound aggravated, angered, angry, boiling, exasperated, fuming, incensed, inflamed, infuriated, irate, livid, mad, pushed too far, riled, upset? I am. Publishers take for granted that submitters will submit only items that are not published elsewhere. In fact, the contract authors sign states that the material is not already used, not already published.

          Publishers should not have to research all the titles they accept to be sure the material is not already used. That is the responsibility of the writer.

          Want to be black-listed, to have your contract broken because you were dishonest? Try to pull a "fast one" on a publisher. 

          Occasionally, a publisher will re-release a book already published IF the author is upfront and the circumstances are such the publisher decides to do that. However, the author must be honest and tell the publisher from the beginning. The rights for the book must be released legally from the other publisher, all copies of the book must be destroyed, and the author must go through regular channels to have the book edited and to meet the new publisher's standards. Accepting a book for re-lease, though, is the choice of the publisher, not the author.

          No matter how many times the message is made public about "publishing" on the Internet, some people either don't read or listen or don't care. From this point forward, any manuscripts 4RV Publishing discovers has been misrepresented, whether accidentally or on purpose, the submission will automatically be rejected or the contract will be null and void. Any contracted author will be charged for any and all editing and other services done on the project by the time the misfeasance is discovered. Some publishers take legal action against authors, but we won't go that far unless under special circumstances. 

          Yes, the preceding sounds harsh, but a publisher takes a gamble that the company might make a profit on a book -- someday. The odds are already against a company, but when material which is already published is used, the likely hood of any profit is null and void.

          Please be honest, no matter which publisher you choose or which agent. 

4RV Publishing Catalog 

Wednesday's post will be about promotion again: media kits, why and how.


  1. (I've commented twice to using my word press info, but it wasn't liked)

    I've heard this information before. It's nice to know that certain publishers may not automatically shut the door in the author's face if they are up front about where their articles have been posted previously.

  2. I'm sorry WordPress info wouldn't work, but then my blogger info won't work on WordPress. Why can't they play together and get along? *laugh*

    Anyway, pre-published items being accepted depends on the publishing company and the circumstances, but some publishers do.

  3. Vivian, this is information that every author should know. Thanks for posting it.

    Still, as my father, an attorney, told me when I was in elementary school, ignorance of the law is no defense. We, as authors, need to educate ourselves, about this as about anything else.

  4. Does this include when authors share excerpts on their blogs/websites from books that are not yet contracted? Would the whole book then be considered 'previously published material'?

  5. Yes, Margaret, everyone should know this information. I'm trying to remind and educate.

    Susanne, excerpts for promotion doesn't count UNLESS they give away too much of the story and/or the conclusion. Excerpts must be short, just teasers.