A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a call for submissions for a new anthology looking for dog stories. A few days ago, Kathleene S. Baker, co-editor of the planned anthology, has put out a second call. This time, the publisher is willing to consider reprints. So, if you have a good dog story which has already been published and is lingering in your files, send it in.
All this brings up the subject of reprints. Many guidelines specify that any submission must never have been published. They want to be the first to publish a story, article, or poem. Some will state that reprints are alright while others say absolutely nothing about it. I've always thought that, if they don't make a definite statement about no reprints, then it's okay to send an already-published piece. I do, however, inform the editor if that is the case in my cover letter. Then, it's their call.
It would be helpful if editors who do not want reprints would make that very clear in their guidelines. The other evening, I sent a story to a new anthology--the one on Life Lessons. I mentioned in my cover letter that the story had won a contest at a memoir website. An hour later, the editor e-mailed and asked if it had been published anywhere else. I fessed up and replied that it had been on a website where writers can post their work. Since then, I have not heard from her again. I'm hoping that means that my submission has been accepted for consideration in the book. Surely, I tell myself, they would have informed me if it had not. (One can only hope so!)
Occasionally, a writer will try to cover up the fact that their work submitted has already been published. Inevitably, they get caught. With the wide range of search engines today, it's pretty easy to find out if something has been published.
Some publications accept reprints but pay less than they do for an unpublished story. Others will pay the same. I've even read some guidelines that say "Reprints welcome" or "We accept reprints" which is all to your benefit. It's great to be able to get as much mileage out of something you've written as possible.
So, do read the writer guidelines carefully and do make sure you check the reprint policy before you waste your time in sending oen to an editor who won't use it.