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December 8th, 2004, 07:30 AM
Hey all. :)

I know that it is standard practice when sending novel manuscript samples to send them to a variety of publishers all at once.

My question is...does this apply to magazines/E-zines?
Is it acceptable to send a short story to several different publications?

December 8th, 2004, 09:13 AM
I've noticed from looking at submission guidelines that it depends on the magazine you are submitting to. Some mags frown upon muliple submissions and others do not mention it. My advice would be to read the sub guidelines for each magazine you'd like to submit to. Good luck!!

December 8th, 2004, 10:47 AM
Yes, I've come to a similar conclusion myself. Most of them don't mention multiple/ simultaneous submissions, while some say they don't accept them.

What's the difference between multiple and simultaneous submissions? I have an idea, but am not totally sure.


December 8th, 2004, 11:17 AM
With a lot of the magazines I have submitted to, they say they want you to tell them immediately if another magazine picks it up (for those that don't discourage it to begin with)

December 8th, 2004, 11:52 AM
I say send it out to as many publications as you can afford if you believe in your work.

The chances of being accepted by two magazines at the same time are so thin, you could toast and butter them!!! And what a great problem to have if it did happen (oh poor you!!!). Simply write to them both and say that you DO accept simultaneous acceptances :D

December 8th, 2004, 11:55 AM
PS. The closest I came to that happening, was winning an anthology competition with a crime short, then seemingly having a good chance of the story being picked up by a great magazine... I withdrew it from the competition and then it was rejected anyway... Go figure.

December 8th, 2004, 12:12 PM
I think the first refers to sending more than one piece to a publisher at the same time, the second refers to sending one piece to several publishers at the same time

Scott Lynch
December 8th, 2004, 01:07 PM
I say send it out to as many publications as you can afford if you believe in your work.

The chances of being accepted by two magazines at the same time are so thin, you could toast and butter them!!! And what a great problem to have if it did happen (oh poor you!!!). Simply write to them both and say that you DO accept simultaneous acceptances

Whoa, whoa, whoa, there! If only! But that's not quite the case.

First, for JamesL: "Simultaneous submission" means sending the same piece of work to multiple publishers at the same time. "Multiple submission" means sending more than one piece of work to one publisher. Of course, if you're crazy and hopped up on caffeine, you could no doubt attempt simultaneous multiple submissions. ;)

Second, you're quite right, Juzzza-- the chances of being accepted by two markets at the same time are pretty thin. But there is a chance it might happen, especially if your submission is any good. ;)

If, by some miracle, two markets bit at a submission from you simultaneously, and one of them DID accept simultaneous submissions, you would be off the hook, at least as far as that publisher was concerned.

But not many professional markets accept simultaneous submissions. And simultaneously submitting to markets that don't want simultaneous submissions is a rude, counterproductive thing to do, no matter how much you believe in your work. Here's why:

A) It tells them that you didn't read the directions.

Almost every market that doesn't accept simultaneous subs will say so in their submission guidelines, and if a market doesn't say, you should always assume that they wouldn't like it. It's the safe bet.

Frankly, you should never submit to any market until you've thoroughly digested their submission guidelines, and once you've done that you should follow them to the letter. Not following them sends the message that you're inconsiderate, or reading-impaired, or both. You might not mean anything by it, but the point is: All things being equal, why would you want to make yourself more difficult for a publisher to work with than you need to?

You have no control over the circumstances under which your submission is going to reach your target market. It might just happen that your improperly formatted submission reaches a slush pile manned by a sleep-deprived, flu-ridden editorial assistant whose boyfriend just broke up with her. And it might just happen that out of the last fifty envelopes, forty-eight of them contained submissions that didn't follow the basic freakin' submission guidelines. If your submission is number forty-nine in that parade of infamy, your submission is toast. Hello form letter.

Remember, when you follow submission guidelines with absolute precision, you are denying the publisher reasons to bounce your submission before considering the story itself. They want you to do this.

B) If two markets try to buy something simultaneously from you, you might have just created a hellacious headache for several people with very little spare time on their hands.

I don't mean to sound like I'm yelling at you here, because, believe me-- I didn't realize this until an editor explained it to me.

Whether your target market is a magazine or a publisher of novels, there is going to be one undeniable truth about the place: it will be busy. Editors at any publishing house are always juggling a ludicrous number of projects and responsibilities.

Let's say you simultaneously submit a story or a novel to two different professional markets. An editor at one of them reads your submission, and really likes it-- really, really likes it. That editor is going to have to involve other people in the process of examining it. Their assistants will read the piece to provide supporting opinions. They'll pass it around the office for feedback. They'll talk to their superiors about the piece-- is it right for our market? Can we get permission to make an offer on it? Where can we fit it into our schedule?

If the editor gets permission to go after the piece, other arrangements need to be made, too. Maybe something else needs to be moved around in the schedule-- this will cascade and affect everything everyone else in the entire company is doing. Art and marketing people might switch tasks. Especially if your submission is good enough to make the editor you sent it to want to rush it into the publication schedule-- illustrations and copyediting and all of that need to be arranged for. Contracts need to be prepared, forms filled out.

By the time an editor gets back to you and says, "I'd like to buy your piece from you," rest assured that juggling has already been done-- meetings have been taken, notes passed around, feedback solicited, schedules adjusted, budgets examined, etc. The editor has given up time spent working on other projects (and the editor will have LOTS of other projects) to work on yours. And if your response to this is, "Oh, dear, I'm so sorry, but another market made me an offer for the story two days ago," you're going to have a VERY irate editor on your hands.

Especially if that editor's company guidelines say "No simultaneous submissions."

We're talking baseball bats, blowtorches, gettin' medieval on your ass.

But since physical assault will be out of the question, they'll simply resort to an easier, more insidious punishment: ensuring that your inconsiderate butt never receives the time of day from that publisher again. If another submission from you shows up in the slush pile? They're gonna hand-roll cigars from it and smoke it, baby.

Don't think of publishers as faceless machines for processing submissions and waiting upon your whim. Always remember that they are relatively small, extremely overworked families of people that do not need or tolerate this sort of hassle. Your submission isn't slipping leisurely through the door to plop down into an empty 'In' box. It's more like trying to merge onto an eight-lane highway where traffic is already bumper-to-bumper for ten miles in either direction.

The last thing you need, as a writer, is to give someone a good reason to bump you off into the ditch on the side of the road.

And on THAT note, I've used up my metaphor allowance for the day, so off I go!



December 8th, 2004, 01:07 PM
Ok guys, thanks, especially Scott for his extremely thorough and helpful post. :)

This whole business sounds like a big, nasty, drawn-out leviathan of a process, but hey-ho. No point in making people's jobs harder and ruining my future chances with them.


Rocket Sheep
December 8th, 2004, 05:41 PM
Remember too, at this stage in your career the magazines you are submitting to are probably semi-prozines... ones where the authors get paid a nominal amount and the readers/editors volunteer. So you have some poor old volunteer struggling to keep the slush pile down around their day job and by the time they find your gem in the slushpile and read it, and find a gap in the publication the right length... it's already gone to some other mag.

I always take pity on semi-prozines and at least stagger the submissions based on their guidelines. If the guidelines say no simultaneous submissions and that they usually take six weeks to read it, I wait six weeks before sending it off somewhere else to sit in their slushpile for six weeks.