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Would it be okay to do this?

edited November 2016 in Writing
Hi, I'm just wondering if anyone could help me with this. I have a short story I'm about to submit to a womag publication, having tailored it to the magazine, but I was also thinking of entering it in my writers' group story comp. The competition is only open to members, so is quite small, and winning entries are not published - there is a modest cash prize. I know that submitting the same story to more than one publication at the same time is not on, but as far as I can tell, this is different as the competition is a small private one, not to be compared to an open one or a publication. Ideally I would write a different story for the competition, but this story I've got is the right wordcount, under 1500 words, which I usually find hard to keep to (my stories normally come in at 2500 - 3000 words). Although I don't think there are any major problems with submitting it to the magazine and the competition, I just can't work out if it's ethical - hence asking others for advice!


  • Ethical shmethical! Seems alright to me - it's a private (friends only?) group, and sounds more like a friendly get together rather than anything official, so it's like me asking all my friends to read an article before it goes out...doesn't break any rules or principles as far as I can see!
  • Perfectly fine.
    Good luck with both.
  • Thanks, br, and Heather, I kind of thought the same thing when I was mulling it over, though to clarify, it's not exactly a friends only group, (though quite friendly, if you get me). There's a chairperson and secretary, and anyone interested in writing can join if they pay a small fee. The comps are members only, and not publicised outside the group, so you wouldn't get anyone joining just to enter the comps as far as I know. So I'll go ahead... final check of the story first!
  • Interesting point from a 'devil's advocate' perspective.

    Has the story actually been published by virtue of it being circulated to members of the writing group? I know this isn't a legal forum, but we all know how pernickety some writers can be about rules and protocol. I'd hate to think that helenesme could become embroiled in a stirring pot.
  • I'm sure it would depend more on the submission rules of the magazine you're aiming it at.
  • That type of circulation would not be considered to be publication.

    I suppose their could be a slight issue the other way round, if the writing group comp was supposed to be for unpublished things only, but that would assume that the story would be subbed, accepted and published before the comp, which sounds unlikely!
  • Our writing group is similar and has internal competitions and submitting something I'd previously entered there wouldn't worry me. Depending on your competition rules it might be OK to do both at once, or you might be better to enter in the competition and wait for the result before sending to the womag.

    To answer PETs question - having been read by a writing group doesn't count as published. The only way that could be a problem is if the group was an open online one. Eg if it was posted here other than in a private post, then some places might consider that as published.
  • I've only been a member of the writing group a few months, so haven't entered any of their comps before, but from what I've been told there, the prizes are awarded, then the placed entries are just read aloud to the group and definitely not put online or published in any other way. I'll double-check that this is still the case, and if so, go ahead then.
  • edited November 2016
    If the entries are read aloud to the group then I don't see how that can be construed as published in any way whatsoever, helen.

    p.s. edited to add: good luck!
  • Go for it - and good luck!
  • Thanks, TN!
  • If the entries are read aloud to the group then I don't see how that can be construed as published in any way whatsoever, helen.
    With respect, does it not, though, become a 'public performance' of the material, in that the work is circulated in a public setting? (not private - because the writers' group is open to the public) From my understanding, I do not believe that one's work actually HAS to be in print.

    I raise this only as a point of discussion because the idiosyncrasies of what is 'published' and what is not is wide and varied.

  • Very few writing group meetings are open to the public, PET.

  • Very few writing group meetings are open to the public, PET.

    Agree! You're overthinking this, PET.

  • Ok, my 'devil's advocate' MAY have gone a little deep!!
  • Ironically the only problem I can see would be the other way round, if the womag published before the competition was judged. It is a highly unlikely scenario. Your writing group would not count as publication.
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