Q&A: How To Properly Attribute Published Work In A Self-Published Collection | Self-Publishing Relief

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Q&A: How To Properly Attribute Published Work In A Self-Published Collection | Self-Publishing Relief

Once you’ve assembled the poems or short prose you want to have in your self-published collection, the next step is to review the acknowledgments info you should also include. Any works in your collection that have been previously published in literary journals should note the details about that publication credit. The formatting experts here at Self-Publishing Relief have all the tips you need in order to properly attribute your published work for your self-published collection.


How To Correctly Attribute Previously Published Work In A Collection

Q: Where in my self-published book should I indicate that pieces were individually published?

A: At the end of your book. Your book’s end pages provide a great opportunity to include educational back matter, acknowledgments thanking those who influenced the book or encouraged you, and any other relevant material. This is also a good place to include a list of works in the book that have prior publications! However, some writers choose to place this list at the very beginning of their book, near the table of contents. Either placement is correct, so use whichever works best for your collection.

Q: What format should I use?

A: There are several elements you need to include when formatting your credit:

  1. The name of the piece
  2. The name of the journal in which it was published
  3. The issue in which it appeared
  4. The date, season, and/or year of publication

And if you’re publishing an e-book and crediting an online journal, include a link to the piece!

Here’s an example of the order in which you would list the information, and the format to use:

Awesome Journal, Fall 2019, Volume 50, “Title of Poem”


Q: Do I need to ask permission from the literary journal editor? 

A: Only if the rights to the piece have not reverted back to you. In many cases, the rights revert back to the writer after the first publication. However, some literary journals may hold the exclusive publishing rights for a longer time, so it’s important to confirm that you currently hold the rights for any piece you plan to include in your collection. If a journal still holds the rights to a work you want to self-publish, you should reach out to the editor. Be sure to tell them how grateful you are to them for publishing your work, ask for permission to include the piece in your collection, and let them know that you plan to include a link to their journal.

  1. Why must I mention if something is previously published?
  2. If a piece has been previously published, most editors want you to acknowledge that the original publication appeared in their literary journals. Also, keep in mind that any unpublished works you include in your collection will then be considered previously published by literary editors. Since literary editors usually want to have first publication rights, many won’t be interested in anything you self-publish in your book. If you’re hoping to submit a piece to a literary journal in the future, you shouldn’t include it in your self-published collection.

Q: Would literary journals be interested in promoting my self-published collection?

 A: They might consider cross-promoting. Once your self-published book becomes available (with proper credits to any literary journals that published your work!), reach out to the journal editors to see if they’d be interested in promoting your book. In exchange, you’ll promote their journal on your social media and at any book signings or reading events. You should absolutely send journal editors free copies so they can promote your work—and maybe even give you a nice review!

If the idea of having to format and navigate the process of self-publishing your collection on your own seems daunting, the experts at Self-Publishing Relief are always here to help guide you through every step—including properly attributing previously published works in your collection!


Question: Would you place acknowledgments at the end of your book or at the beginning—and why would you make that choice?


1 Comment

  1. Sam Grant

    Have two self – published anthologies. First poem was published in United Press. Subsequent poems were mainly chosen for Forward poetry anthologies. With forty poems published, I decided to compile my own anthology. The same process followed with the second anthology, but this one included short stories. For my third anthology I hope to self – publish rather than be published in other books and magazines. The poems will not have appeared in other anthologies. Enjoy composing poems, writing novels and short stories and crossover from one genre to the other.


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