A FAQ is often raised regarding whether your work is considered PUBLISHED once posted on the internet to a meme such as Write..Edit...Publish. Here is what I know.
When someone like Mills&Boon contracts an author, they then give permission if that author wants to post excerpts on their site. Or it may be in their contract to say that 'Published with Permission from M&B'
That's one aspect of it. The other is, if I post a snippet from a wip(work in progress) online, and then later change, edit, add, flesh it out-it becomes different. And if the end product is contracted by a Publisher, and if the contract says that you can't post excerpts from it, the end product is contracted.
And now you can't post excerpts without explicit permission from Mills & Boon.
Individual writers/authors need to check with their publisher if they have one, or a potential publisher if they don't.
Once there was a blanket opinion that anything posted on the internet was considered PUBLISHED. However, that has changed and many publishers of short story anthologies/magazines have altered this, realising it is an impost on a writer.
There is usually nothing to worry about if you follow the process I (Denise) use.
With each monthly prompt for RFW, I would post a new story to get feedback regarding whether the story had potential. If I got positive feedback, I took away that flash fiction piece, reworked it up to 3,000 - 5,000 words from the original 400 - 1,000, then submitted it to a fiction magazine in Australia. The finished story was practically unrecognisable from the original piece. I have had no problem with this process. I have had stories published that I first posted online. The magazine buys the rights to my finished story, not the flash fiction piece I published on the internet.
PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU HAVE ANY FURTHER INFORMATION FROM PARTICULAR PUBLISHERS.
I will continue to research publishers as time allows.