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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!



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