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Question regarding "previously published" works

I have a question and would really appreciate some help.  I am starting to submit some of my poetry to writing contests.  Most all of the guidelines state you can only submit unpublished work.  One of the guidelines states in part...

"They may have been posted online to personal blogs or message boards, self-published as chapbooks, etc, but any third party venue that provides literary content to a readership is considered publication, regardless of the format."

Would poetry that I have posted on Red Room and/or WordPres be considered a "third party venue"?  I am very confused by this and certainly do not wish to get in any trouble by sending in something I have posted here already.

Thank you.


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When in doubt - don't.

When in doubt - don't.

That's a little saying I use for many situations.

For instance, by the definition you have posted, I would say Red Room is a third party venue while Wordpress is not. I'm sure the contest actually means any poem you have had published for which you have received some sort of payment. But that isn't what they say

Perhaps you should email one of our Red Room gatekeepers, or even the contest itself, for clarification.

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Dale's advice is good, but I can make it even more simple: Don't send out anything you've published anywhere, including in your blog, in any venue, or in any other blog, etc. Or, better yet, don't put anything in a blog that you'd want to send out. As a short story writer, I'm advised not to put any short story on my own blog, or on anyone else's, because most magazines' submissions pages say that they won't take a short story published on a blog, website, or anywhere on the net. I agree with this. Put it this way: If I Googled your name, or the title of the poem, would it show up as on your Red Room or Word Press blogs? I'll bet it would. So now I can read your poem, for free, on the internet, from one of those blogs. A magazine or website editor will now ask: "Why should I accept this poem when it can just be read elsewhere?" Even worse, from my point of view, if you're trying to win a competition with that poem, I assume the winning entry will be published somewhere, somehow, and you'd be paid for it in copies, or money, or whatever. The whole reason they do that is to get more readers to the magazine, or website, etc. So why would they get these readers when said readers could just read your poem, for free, on the web? For my writing, the general question is: Why would a magazine pay me for my short story when that short story could be read for free on my website? Answer: They wouldn't.

Hope this helps. I'd delete that poem you sent out from your Red Room and Word Press blogs. If I'm a magazine editor or a competition holder, I would consider Red Room and Word Press sites as publication sites. In general, anyplace anyone can read anything makes that place a publication site. If it can be read, it's published.