Simultaneous Submissions Mean Writers Make More Money
Publishers hate them, butÖ
Youíve written a wonderful article, or a short story, or even a novel and you
realize that there is more than one potential market for your work. Do you dare
submit the same piece to more than one market simultaneously?
As with so many things about freelance writing, thereís no single answer.
But, as a general rule, I come down on the side of yes. Publishers hate simultaneous submissions. They want to look at your work
without fear that someone else may buy it before they have a chance to make a
decision. Some even try to prevent simultaneous submissions by stating they
wonít accept them in their market listings.
The Problem is Time
The problem, of course, is the amount of time it takes publishers to make up
their mind and give you an answer. If the article is timely and the publisher
isnít, youíve lost the opportunity if you havenít tried additional markets.
But even when the work is more or less timeless or evergreen, you donít want
to wait weeks or even months to be told no so you can submit someplace else.
My writing is my product; if it doesnít sell regularly, Iím out of business.
Iím simply unwilling to give what amounts to an exclusive on my work unless
thereís a truly good reason and, usually, if I havenít worked with the publisher
in question there simply isnít that justification.
Here are some things to consider:
- The odds of two publishers accepting the same work at the same time are
enormous; if youíre so lucky, youíll simply have to accept one and withdraw
your submission from the other.
- When youíre considering submitting to more than one market, make sure the
submission is appropriate for each. The shotgun approach to marketing your
writing not only doesnít work, but you risk your reputation as well. The last
thing you need is for editors to recognize your name and ignore your
submission because itís obvious to them from past submissions you have no idea
what they want.
- When you decide to simultaneously submit to several publishers, make it
clear without waving a red flag. Iíve used the phase, ďÖ enclosed is a copy
ofÖĒ successfully for years. I submit simultaneously even when the market
listings says I shouldnít. Some writers go as far as to state the simultaneous
nature of the submission explicitly.
- If you have an ongoing relationship with the publisher, they probably
deserve an exclusive submission. An ongoing relationship often means you can
pick up the phone and ask, which is ideal for both of you.
- When you are doing an exclusive submission, make it clear it is an
exclusive submission and set a time limit on it. Donít make a threat; keep it
simple, perhaps with something like ďIf I havenít heard from you in 10 days,
Iíll go ahead and submit this to other markets.Ē
Simultaneous submissions are a fact of life in the writing and publishing
game. Most publishers are well aware that many writers submit simultaneously.
Donít let their wishful thinking stop you from marketing your work effectively.
Write well and often - and submit!