Question, after an explanation:
I publish poems to my personal website. I know most magazines won't accept previously published poems, including those to personal blogs; my question is, if I "unpublish" a poem from my personal site after *already* posting it, does that count as not being published? Or will magazine publishers still not really want it?
@acdw I've actually been curious about this myself. There doesn't seem to be an outright unified answer anywhere.
It seems that if a piece is on a public website, then that is typically considered published. If it's on a member-only feedback site, then it's typically considered not published.
Found two reddit threads and a FAQ page on (a now inactive) lit mag site sort-of answering your question:
@mara_cav_ thanks for these! They're helpful. Looks like I've got already published stuff, so I'll just have to write more!
@acdw That still counts as published. (Source: was editor of a literary magazine)
@acdw they want to be very sure no one can sue them for running the piece, and the only was is to be strict about no-previous-publications
@emsenn dang. Makes a lot of sense. Too bad though. I guess I'll have to subscribe to the "creativity is a well" school of thought, as opposed to the "puddle" school, haha!
@acdw Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The world of publishing rights is a wild land whose borders are defined by arbitrary court cases and threats from big publishers, not written laws, so it's murky and unfriendly.
It's a tough thing to accept because of how communicative writing is, but first publishing is one of the most valuable attributes of any piece of writing you produce, and you should always be making a good decision to give it up.
1/n, silver lining next
@acdw A lot of this stuff is exclusive to region, when you get to brass tacks, so if you publish on your blog copyright to your own nation, say, the US, that's North America publishing universe. But you might still be able to give/sell the European first publishing rights.
@emsenn no worries! I did some student magazine editing myself, so I know how valuable first rights are. I did not know that about overseas publishing though! I have some markets to research 😎