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To reprint, or not reprint, that is the question…

I find that in my own publishing career I run into the question of what to do with works once they have been published. If they are still online to attract readers, than it is easy to leave them there. They also serve as an accessible way to show someone your work, either by giving them the direct address, or linking to them on your website, as I do. But what if it was published in an old print magazine? Or a website that is no longer in existence? I know some people retire their story and leave it be once it has been published, but I’m not a fan of that. For example, I’ll use three different scenarios I’ve come across.

  • One is a story that was published in a medium market in 2003. The story has been out of print for eight years, and the magazine no longer exists.
  • One is a story that was published in an online pay to view site that went out of business and the work is not longer available.
  • One is a story that was published in an online site that was up for  a good while and then went out of business.

All three of these I chose to try and have reprinted elsewhere. My logic behind each one was similar – the piece in the print market is no longer available anywhere, as are the two online pieces. With both of the online pieces they were up for a good amount of time, and a significant amount of time passed before I submitted them to other markets. One has been published, and the other hasn’t yet.

I tend to feel that the more accessible a piece is, particularly if it was published in a  small market, the more it can benefit me as a writer. It’s like being able to pull out a résumé on demand, and offer someone samples of my work. And of course the more visibility you have the better.

I should say though, I spend just as much time researching second markets for my work as I do for new market submissions. Having a piece reprinted in an unprofessional manner, or in a sloppy-looking format hurts more than it can helps your career. I don’t feel that having a piece reprinted is an act of desperation to get it into public again, rather it is a matter of finding the right place to give your baby some sunlight once again.

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