If I upload a short story to a site online, delete it, search for it on various search engines and fail to find the page again, would publishers such as The New Yorker etc still accept it even though it was previously published online? I know nothing is ever completely removed from the internet. :smack::smack::smack::smack::smack:
Just because you can’t find it doesn’t mean they won’t. And if you tell them it hasn’t been published online, and later they find out it has, they might be unhappy. And then the New Yorker may never accept one of your stories. And until then, you will have to wonder if the the story you’ve told will one day unfold, revealing the story you sold.
But I would start by making sure the New Yorker cares if something was once published online and then deleted from that site. Perhaps there’s another story you’ve published online and then deleted that you could ask them about, and if they object, you don’t give them that one.
The issue is this: if you do this – put it up and take it down – you’ll need to mention that in your cover letter. You may get away with it if you don’t tell them (and your scenario makes that seem likely), but if it’s discovered, you can forget about selling to that editor ever again, or to any editor who knows the first editor.
It also depends on the site. You can upload a file to a membership-only site like Critters.org for critiquing and no one will care, nor do you need to tell anyone about that.
Tripolar is correct. Either query the editor or indicate the situation in the cover letter.