I Need Advice, Please
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I'm in a quandary and it could be considered a question of ethics. I could use a bit of perspective from other writers. I have an essay published in an anthology. I was just alerted to another opportunity to submit an essay on the same subject matter as the published essay. Because the new opportunity doesn't allow previously published work, I'm thinking of completely rewriting my published essay so I can submit it. Does this make sense? Is it ethical to do this? 

  • In journalism, freelance writers often market the same story written for different venues. While the opinion and idea may be the same, the requirements for a radio essay, newspaper feature, and a magazine feature differ. Even within the magazine market, the same story written for an adult audience can be revised to target a children's audience.

    I think this is ethical if it's a true revision and not simply a re-arrangement of the same words, which we call self-plagiarism in colleges.

    I hope this helps, Grace. I'm new to SheWrites and not sure exactly where I'm jumping in to the discussion : )

    Jackie McNamara


  • I think you should pose this question to the Publishing groups here.  I am a member of several groups, and I know there are authors as well as publishers who visit the site.  They always seem to give great advice!

    Try:  Small Publishers & Independent Authors, Publishing Industry News, & Copyright & Intellectual Property.

  • The anthology publisher had first rights only so I know I'm okay that way. I wouldn't resubmit the same essay because the new contest required unpublished essays. I did rewrite it already. It's much shorter and succinct but thought I'd ask all of you before making my final decision on whether to submit or not.  I don't want to do anything unethical. Maybe I'm overthinking it. :) 

  • Wouldn't you have to check with the anthology publishers as well?  This dilemma sounds like one I have heard from college students trying to figure out whether they can re-submit papers already written for different classes.  Some professors allow it; some don't.  I will be curious as to the responses you get.

    If you re-write, could you consider taking a different approach with the second essay?  Perhaps write from a different perspective?  Just wondering.