1. Godot
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    Godot Member

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    Traditional I submitted my story in a contest does this ruin my chance at publication

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Godot, Jul 7, 2013.

    Hello,

    I am a new user. I have been lurking here over the past few days and came across some damaging info :( Such as entering a novel in a contest is considered publication and I would only be offered a reprint.

    The thing about my situation is that I entered my novel in a competition 6 years ago; and it was only a 50 page short story. I was still a student in high school. (not sure if that makes any difference) Technically it is a sequel to the unfinished novel that I have been working on; on and off for the past ten years.

    Too keep it short. The novel in its currently form is vastly different. Different genre, different themes, ideas and characters.

    Pretty much the short story I entered into a competition six years ago is a sequel to an unfinished novel. Does this effect my chance of publication?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Was it visible to the public, either as a posted entry or a isplayed winner? If so, you may have blown your publication chances with that story
     
  3. Godot
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    Godot Member

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    Honestly I do not know. My teacher made the submission and I received a letter a few months later stated that I did not win.
     
  4. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    Entering a novel into a contest is in no way publication. The only situation I can imagine where entering your story in a contest would be an obstacle to publication is if the entire thing was then posted online or printed in a book by the contest organisers. This generally doesn't happen.

    If the short story you entered into a competition was published as part of that contest, that's still very unlikely to be an issue. The novel that follows from it is, as you say, substantially different. If it worries you, you might want to mention it to your agent and publisher - but no sensible publisher would decide against publishing a novel because the author published a short story containing some of the same elements many years ago.

    In short, I don't think the situation you describe is any cause for alarm, but if you're still worried consult your agent when you have one.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think you have anything to worry about. Novels are usually much longer than the short stories you might have posted, and most agents don't see any problems with it. The bigger problems in this area are with the short stories themselves -- if you want to republish them after they've been published as a whole somewhere on the internet, some magazines won't publish them -- you'd just want to check the specific guidelines. Unless you've published most of the novel, for example, on a blog or something, you really should be fine. A great many novels start out as short stories that are then expanded.

    Especially since you say your novel is vastly different, I really don't see the problem.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the answer to your question is right there... it's 'no!'...

    there's no reason why having submitted a short story would hamper your chances of having a novel published... even if it had been published, it wouldn't affect the novel, except to perhaps make it more appealing to a publisher, if the short story was well received... some of the most successful authors have turned their short stories into bestselling novels... it's done all the time...

    so stop worrying about nothing and work on getting that novel published!

    love and hugs, maia
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What's the problem? You didn't even win, meaning even if the contest included publication, yours did NOT get published.

    And besides, you keep saying the short that you submitted is a SEQUEL. So it's a different story to your novel.

    And even if it wasn't a sequel (which it is), and you'd won the competition (which you didn't), AND it got printed (which it didn't), you say it's still a vastly different story, different ideas, different themes, meaning... well, "different story" should give you a clue :D It cannot possibly be a "reprint" if the same story has never been printed before.

    As with competitions generally, in the T&C it usually states if the organisation holds the rights to your work and for how long, and it'd normally state whether the winners would be published and if so, in what format (anthology, novel, ebook, website, blog).

    Anyway, "published" means that your work needs to be available to the general public, either for free or for a price. Entering a competition isn't the same thing, and I emphasise again - you didn't even win. Even had publication been part of the T&C, it wasn't yours who got published, but the winner's. On top of this, a short story is NOT the same thing as a novel!
     
  8. Godot
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    Godot Member

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    thanks everybody!
    i am a new user and the first thread i went to was about people posting their stories online and entering it into competitions ruins their chance of being published!
     
  9. Kyle Lemieux
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    Kyle Lemieux New Member

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    quick related question if you dont mind. does that mean that if you post stories on sites like fictionpress or wattpad that you can not get them published as a book? i was curious because i have stories that i may want to publish one day that are already on these sites.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Traditional publishers often want first rights, and if you have already published the story somewhere, then first rights are off the table. This can substantially reduce the value of your work. It's not necessarily a killer, and things are starting to change (slowly), but if you're serious about publishing something through a traditional publisher, or a short story market, or whatever, my advice is not to put it up online anywhere.
     
  11. Kyle Lemieux
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    Kyle Lemieux New Member

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    ok thank you. I like the sites because i can get user feedback as i go but it makes a lot more sense from a publishing point of view to keep it off the web. i appreciate the advice. :)
     
  12. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    I have another related question. If excerpts from a novel are posted to sites like this one for critique, can that damage chances for getting it published?
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I say no. Agents who have discussed this issue say no. Some others on this site have the opposite opinion. The whole issue is really one of, is it already available out there? (That is, the first rights to publication.) If it's already out there and available for anyone to read, why would they then buy it? Or if it's self-pubbed, and very few people have bought it, why would a publisher think they'd have better luck? If it's just a small excerpt, especially one that is critiqued and will be revised, then this isn't really an issue.
     
  14. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    Thankyou, it was something that had niggled at the back of my mind for a little while now.
     

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