"No Simultaneous Submissions, Please" - Page 2


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Thread: "No Simultaneous Submissions, Please"

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by KyleColorado View Post
    In today's short fiction world, many publications are expressing they will not accept simultaneous submissions. Their reasoning is that it takes their time and resources to review and place submissions, and to do so only to discover the author has sold the story elsewhere is both frustrating and problematic, sometimes resulting in a loss of revenue.

    So, many state in their submission guidelines that simultaneous submissions are NOT allowed.

    The problem is, many of these publications have a response time of three months or longer. For many writers, that would mean waiting on a response from one publication for an entire season, while they could be shopping their story around to other markets in the meantime.

    While researching the topic, I discovered one author who advices going against Simultaneous Submission etiquette. He recommends simultaneously submitting, even if the publications you are submitting to express in no uncertain terms that they do not accept simultaneous submissions:


    I wrote fiction, and sent it off to literary magazines. LOTS of literary magazines. I totally ignored warnings against simultaneous submissions; unless a publisher has paid you money, they have no right to tell you what to do with your work, and you’ll die of old age waiting for some of those journals. When I say I sent to lots of journals, I mean I sent each story out to at least ten editors.
    - Michael Poore, on how he broke into the publishing world and landed an agent

    What do you think about this subject?

    Should a writer have the right to shop their story around at their own discretion?

    Should a publication have the right to maintain sole submission rights of a writer's work?
    Interesting. It obviously depends on the person. Most manuscripts get rejected countless times before they're finally selected. If you only submitted your manuscript to one publishing house as said above and waited on a response, you would probably die of old age before you go an acceptance. Quantity and time are the two main factors in which are limited with such set guidelines. I would just submit to as many publishing houses as I could. If one house does have such guidelines, that's cool. There are plenty of others to submit manuscripts to.
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  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by bookmasta View Post
    I would just submit to as many publishing houses as I could. If one house does have such guidelines, that's cool. There are plenty of others to submit manuscripts to.
    I'm in agreement with you, bookmasta.
    Last edited by Kyle R; October 19th, 2013 at 06:34 AM. Reason: Avoiding ad nauseam

  3. #13
    WF Veteran Bilston Blue's Avatar
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    How you might think our process works

    I gather that a lot of authors think that something like this happens after they submit a story to us:

    Story sits around in limbo for four to eight weeks. Editor then looks at story for five minutes, decides not to buy it, and instantly sends rejection.

    If our process worked like that, then you could withdraw the story at any time up to five minutes before we send the rejection, and it wouldn't cost anyone any significant amount of time. (Some annoyance, sure, but not much actual time.)

    But it doesn't work that way at all.

    How our process really works

    Look at the submission-consideration process from our point of view:

    You send us a story that's under consideration elsewhere.

    It likely sits in our First Reader queue for a week or two. Then one of our First Readers reads it, and they pass it along to us editors. It sits in our queue for another week or two until one of us reads it and passes it along to the other two editors. We read it, we consider it, we re-read it, we talk about it in our weekly phone meetings, we weigh it against other stories. We finally decide whether we want to buy it. After we make that decision, it often takes us up to a couple more weeks to send the acceptance or rejection, for a variety of reasons.

    It's now probably about six weeks after you submitted. Let's say we liked your story enough to buy it. We send you an acceptance letter—

    And you tell us, "Oh, sorry, I actually sold that story somewhere else yesterday."

    We've just wasted a lot of time and energy trying to decide on a story that it turns out isn't available for us to buy.

    The key point here is that you have no way of knowing, at any given time, how much time we've spent on your story. So even if you don't wait to hear back from us, even if you withdraw your story from us as soon as the other venue accepts it, chances are still good that we've wasted time on your story.

    And the next time we see a submission from you, we'll notice the note in our database that says "This author's last story was a simsub; we wasted a lot of time considering it." And we'll think: Why should we spend any time on this new story, after what happened last time?

    Bear in mind that we're getting nearly 500 stories a month, and that we're unpaid volunteers. We don't have much time. We're happy to spend some of our time on stories we like—but if we spend a bunch of time on your story and then it turns out that time was wasted, it makes us angry.


    What if the story sells?

    I think a lot of authors send out simsubs without thinking about what happens if the story sells; they're (perhaps subconsciously) assuming that all the venues will reject the story. But stories do sell, and once that happens, the whole simsub house of cards comes tumbling down.

    For example, think about what you'll do if you get three acceptance letters on the same day. Do you really want to turn down two acceptances, thereby making it unlikely that those venues will ever spend much time considering your work again?


    But what about the author's time?

    At this stage of the discussion/argument, several authors have said: That's all very well, but what aboutme? It's a waste of my time to sit around waiting for a response, when I could be showing the story to ten other venues at once!

    To which my answer is: That's true, and it's too bad, but that's the way most of the field works.

    Sorry, that's the mean answer. Fortunately, there's also a much nicer answer:

    There's an easy way for you to work around this problem: write ten more stories, and submit them all to different venues. That way you've got something under consideration at any given venue at any given time, and nobody's wasting any time.

    If you don't have enough stories to do that with, and you don't have time to write any more stories, then there's another answer: be patient. Sometimes stories take a long time to sell; trying to shortcut the process usually backfires. And if you find yourself getting impatient and wanting to simsub, then take the time you would've taken to submit elsewhere and instead spend it working on another story.


    Conclusion

    The core point of this entry is that we don't consider simultaneous subs. Even if you don't find the above explanation convincing, you're not going to get us to change our minds. It has been our firm policy for ten years. Arguing with us isn't going to help, even if you do it politely, and especially if you do it rudely (as most authors do over this issue). Ignoring our rule and sending us simsubs is really not going to help, especially if you find yourself having to withdraw a story from us because you've sold it elsewhere.

    In short:

    Don't send us simsubs.
    Part of me is thinking, is it any wonder they might take six-eight weeks to read stories and come to a decision (longer, obviously, in some cases) if they spend their time writing stuff like this. Quit the preaching and whining and READ damn it. And that's the first time in many a long month I've written a word in capitals, so I guess it's riled me.

    On another point (but equally as salient, I think), I find myself asking: the fellow who wrote this, who's going to be reading my work, my words, my heart; do I want him to be making this decision? Do I want him studying my grasp of the craft? He just wrote: "but if we spend a bunch of time on your story and then it turns out that time was wasted, it makes us angry."

    Sorry, but you can't measure time using the same unit of measurement as grapes. Wrong. And wrong again. Go to the back of the class. It might seem pedantic, but I think it's important.
    "I think a life is a plot. It's probably the elementary plot. I came across a quotation of Patrick White, the Australian writer, just about the time I needed it. He said he never bothers with plot. He just writes about life 'limping along toward death.' That made me feel much better, to keep this in my mind."

    Carol Shields.

  4. #14
    It's important to keep in mind submission acceptance rates and how many submissions are taken (per month or week or whatever, if the stat is available) when reading about how companies process their submissions.

    "It likely sits in our First Reader queue for a week or two. Then one of our First Readers reads it, and they pass it along to us editors. It sits in our queue for another week or two until one of us reads it and passes it along to the other two editors. We read it, we consider it, we re-read it, we talk about it in our weekly phone meetings, we weigh it against other stories. We finally decide whether we want to buy it. After we make that decision, it often takes us up to a couple more weeks to send the acceptance or rejection, for a variety of reasons."

    This is totally normal and probably an accurate description of how it's done. But I'd be happy to bet that not every story gets past the First Reader. This is the method that the good stories go through, the ones that they honestly believe might have a shot. It's the ones right at the end who might get a personalized note of: Sorry, it was really close but we can't take you on at this time. While we thought...blahblah.

    I'm guessing that at any point along the way, your story can be discarded. As they stated, it doesn't mean you'll be instantly rejected, for a variety of reasons. Depending on how often publication occurs, they might hold off until after the submission window closes.

    It's really nice to think that they consider every story using this method, but if they're even a halfway decent house and get 500 submissions and runs on unpaid volunteers....
    Let's give 'em a nice eight weeks. 168 hours per week, 1344 hours in 8 weeks. There are 500 stories. That's about 2.7 hours available per story (to get their method done) if every hour of every day during those 8 weeks was used. Maybe there's a horde of first readers, but there probably is a limited amount of editors who work a limited amount of time. The phone meetings are weekly, not daily. Do you really think that each week they're discussing 63 different stories?

    The problem is, it's incredibly inefficient and extremely unlikely that this is how the method works for every submission. It's a business (even with unpaid volunteers). Time-wise, it makes zero sense to have a bad submission that no one likes go all the way through four people and be reconsidered, re-read, and talked about. Imagine if every submission got this privilege! The process would be extended for months, not weeks!

    Certainly, you have to weigh the risk and rewards of simsub, but there are plenty of other places to submit and plenty of other writers out there.

  5. #15
    WF Veteran Sunny's Avatar
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    I think that YOU are the one who owns that story! I think that you should do with it as you choose until someone decides they want to stick their name on it with you! Then they can tell you to stop sending it out. Until then, try and sell that baby!
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  6. #16
    You're a fiction writer. And an artist. Use it. If it gets accepted more than once, lie. Piteously. Turn it into a strength. Just don't burn the ones who've been good to you.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

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