Simultaneous submissions

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Ishmael
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Simultaneous submissions

Postby Ishmael » Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:55 am

I try to comply with the requirements of those magazines that ask you to avoid simultaneous submissions to other magazines, I really do.

Until today I thought it reasonable to assume that 184 days and two unanswered queries was evidence of lack of interest and could be taken as a rejection. I even asked my wife to confirm that this was a reasonable assumption.

Then I sent the story somewhere else that outlaws simultaneous submission.

Then I got an email from the first magazine saying 'I've been ill.' On the same day and within two hours. After 184 days. I kid you not.

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T. R. Napper
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby T. R. Napper » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:36 pm

Ishmael wrote:Until today I thought it reasonable to assume that 184 days and two unanswered queries was evidence of lack of interest and could be taken as a rejection. I even asked my wife to confirm that this was a reasonable assumption.


It's reasonable. I've had similar experiences to the one you've described where I've put a 'never responded' entry in Duotrope and forgotten about it.

The ones I really dislike are the markets that don't acknowledge receipt of submissions, then ignore queries on whether they've received your submission, but still demand no sim-subs. That mob are just asking for it, in my view.
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Mike Resnick
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby Mike Resnick » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:23 pm

When a publisher says "No simultaneous submissions", he is making an unspoken but tacit
contract with the writer, which, if spoken, would sound like this: "I do not want a
simultaneous submission, because if we go to the trouble to read it, decide we like
it, and make an offer, we don't want to be told that you've sold it somewhere else.
On the other hand, no agreement is one-sided, so in exchange for you submitting it
nowhere else until we make a decision, we guarantee to make that decision in a timely
manner. It is no more fair for you to sell the story elsewhere while it's been on
submission here for only 3 weeks, than it is for us to hold it for (X months or years)
and prevent you from marketing it."

Figure out what a fair response time for that publication is (and yes, it varies
tremendously, not just between books and magazines, but between different
book publishers and between different magazine publishers). Let them hold
it a reasonable time for that magazine, plus 10%, and your obligation to them
is done. Don't pull it; they may yet buy it. But send another copy or e-copy
to the next publisher in line.

Example: If you send a story to the book or magazine line I'm currently editing, and
I promise to report back in 6 months on the book and 6 weeks on the magazine, and
I hold your story or book for a year, I have clearly broken our unwritten agreement,
and you are clearly free to submit elsewhere.

-- Mike Resnick
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Mike Resnick
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby Mike Resnick » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:17 pm

Addendum to the above: submit elsewhere under those circumstances, but don't tell the
editor you've done so. After all, slow as he is, he may still buy it. Once it's sold elsewhere,
then of course you're obligated to tell him...but it's not a bad idea to explain with some
subtlety that you waited an unconsciounable length of time, and it clearly -was- a saleable
story, and would he like to see another submission now that he knows you're a selling author?
If he says Yes, it's almost a given that he'll get to the next one a little quicker.

Mike
Last edited by Mike Resnick on Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Gossamer
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby Gossamer » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:16 am

Mike Resnick wrote:Addendum to the above: submit elsewhere under those circumstances, but don't tell the
editor you've done so. After all, slow as he is, he may still buy it. Once it's sold elsewhere,
then of course you're obligated to tell him...but it's not a bad idea to explain with some
subtlety that you waited an unconsciounable length of time, and it clearly -was- a saleable
story, and would he like to see another submission now that he knows you're a selling author?
If he says Yes, it's almost a given that he'll get to the next one a little quickerr.

Mike



Your last two posts were very reasonably presented, Mike. Common sense tells us you're right.
However, being a greenhorn, I am quite concerned of being placed in a secret blacklist of simul-sub authors shared among editors. Some of the warnings about simul-subs are quite scary. Here's one:

There are few things editors hate more than falling in love with something and then finding out it’s been sold to someone else. We remember that forever.


Have you had a personal experience that you could share?

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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby E.CaimanSands » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:29 am

Interesting, Mike. What you say seems very sensible to me and I've certainly considered sim-subbing on occasion. But the main reason I haven't is because I wouldn't know what to do if the really slow market I subbed to bought the wretched story the day after I submitted it elsewhere. What would you do then? Withdraw it from the second market giving no reason? Or own up and tell the first market you've subbed it elsewhere and they can have it only if market #2 rejects it.

I tell myself I'd do the second action, but if market #1 is Analog, say, and market #2 is Green Swamp Stories I might have a hard time deciding. wotf004
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Mike Resnick
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby Mike Resnick » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:35 pm

You say "Damn! My wife (husband, son, daughter, best friend) sent it off without telling me, same day I sent to you, and it sold. I apologize for their enthusiasm, and may I send you another, now that you know I can sell?"

Mike
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby Mike Resnick » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:42 pm

Gossamer: No, it's been something like 30 years since I haven't gotten a fast report. I don't sell
everything the first time out, about 10% bounce, but it saves me the trouble of having to
simultaneously submit.

As an editor, I've run into it a couple of times (not with Galaxy's Edge), and I just say to myself:
"Amateur idiot." I'll read another submission by the author, but only after he assures me I'm
the only one reading it until I make a decision.

Believe me, it doesn't happen enough to matter. Most beginners can submit simultaneously
to 5 markets and be bounced by all 5; that's why they're beginners who don't have the
credentials to move them out of the slush pile.

Mike
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E.CaimanSands
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby E.CaimanSands » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:09 pm

Mike Resnick wrote:You say "Damn! My wife (husband, son, daughter, best friend) sent it off without telling me, same day I sent to you, and it sold. I apologize for their enthusiasm, and may I send you another, now that you know I can sell?"

Mike


Splendid!

I really should develop my talents at lying, after all, I'm trying to do it professionally.
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thewritescott
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby thewritescott » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:27 pm

Mike Resnick wrote:Gossamer: No, it's been something like 30 years since I haven't gotten a fast report. I don't sell
everything the first time out, about 10% bounce, but it saves me the trouble of having to
simultaneously submit.

As an editor, I've run into it a couple of times (not with Galaxy's Edge), and I just say to myself:
"Amateur idiot." I'll read another submission by the author, but only after he assures me I'm
the only one reading it until I make a decision.

Believe me, it doesn't happen enough to matter. Most beginners can submit simultaneously
to 5 markets and be bounced by all 5; that's why they're beginners who don't have the
credentials to move them out of the slush pile.

Mike


How much will a lack of credentials hurt a new writer?

I want to believe that someone reads all of my submissions, provided I don't mangle some part of the process.

But, for instance, there's a certain publisher of science fiction that shows where in the queue the stories are. And on a number of occasions I've gone from being somewhere around 41 to rejected in under an hour. That's an impressive reading rate for their slush readers.

I know slush readers have to sometimes look for reasons to reject. I just hope that but having enough sales isn't one of them.

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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby bobsandiego » Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:26 pm

thewritescott wrote:
Mike Resnick wrote:Gossamer: No, it's been something like 30 years since I haven't gotten a fast report. I don't sell
everything the first time out, about 10% bounce, but it saves me the trouble of having to
simultaneously submit.

As an editor, I've run into it a couple of times (not with Galaxy's Edge), and I just say to myself:
"Amateur idiot." I'll read another submission by the author, but only after he assures me I'm
the only one reading it until I make a decision.

Believe me, it doesn't happen enough to matter. Most beginners can submit simultaneously
to 5 markets and be bounced by all 5; that's why they're beginners who don't have the
credentials to move them out of the slush pile.

Mike



How much will a lack of credentials hurt a new writer?

I want to believe that someone reads all of my submissions, provided I don't mangle some part of the process.

But, for instance, there's a certain publisher of science fiction that shows where in the queue the stories are. And on a number of occasions I've gone from being somewhere around 41 to rejected in under an hour. That's an impressive reading rate for their slush readers.

I know slush readers have to sometimes look for reasons to reject. I just hope that but having enough sales isn't one of them.



a few years ago I took part in a little crowd-sourced slush-pile reading for a tiny press publisher.
The vast majority of the dreck that is sent isnyou can spot in a line or two. The marginal stuff might take a couple of paragraphs.
41 to reject in a few hours, very believable. I have suffered it and I have done it.
What's frustrating on the author end is that if you get a full read, you usually don't know, so can't tell if you are part of the vast pile of slush, or that material that is getting close.
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thewritescott
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby thewritescott » Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:12 am

That makes me feel better, Bob. I'm quite certain my stories can hold most readers past the first two lines. wotf008 Some of them can probably hold out past a few paragraphs too.

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Mike Resnick
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby Mike Resnick » Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:23 pm

Established authors don't go into the slush pile (though of course they did before they became
established authors.) Back in the late 1990s, when I was doing the "Ask Bwana" column for
Speculations, one of the questions concerned the odds of getting out of the slush pile.
I contacted Gardner Dozois, who was editing Asimov's at the time. He told me they get
about a thousand slush stories a month, and that they buy 3 a year...so it's 4,000-to-1
against. Kris Rusch was editing F&SF, and the odds were considerably better there:
700-to-1 against.

Back when I was editing a trio of men's magazines in the mid-1960s, the publisher had
a policy: he fired any slush reader who couldn't reject 30 stories an hour, because
that was how fast they came in. That gave the author 2 minutes for the slush reader
to open the envelope, pull out the story, start reading...and if it was a turkey (and
most slush stories were and are), stuff and seal the envelope and go on to the next one.

Horrible odds? Yes. But every writer whose name you know beat those odds. It only
takes half a page to know most slush stories are truly dreadful...and but also only
takes a page to know you're looking at a good one. How good is up to the editor,
but if it's got any quality at all, the slush reader will pass it on to the editor.

Another thing to remember is that if you are submitting to a prozine, rather than
some semi-pro or amateur publication, they're in business. What does that mean?
Well, for example, it means, for starters, that the odds against you selling them a
novella, no matter how good it is, are astronomical. Reason: no editor working for
a magazine that exists to make a profit is going to turn over half his issue to a
name that he can't put on the cover, a name that won't add a single sale.

-- Mike
Hugo & Nebula multi-award winner
Writers of the Future Contest Judge
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Holly Heisey
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Re: Simultaneous submissions

Postby Holly Heisey » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:34 pm

Wow. Thanks for that info, Mike! I'm feeling slightly more daunted by the slush...but eyeing my personal and hold pile rejections with a bit more respect.

I did notice a jump in personal rejections once I got to put finalist on my cover letter, but it wasn't steady. And I was writing at a much higher level than my previous subs. A few more personal and almosts have come when I added in my pro sale (and I'm still marveling how I made it out of that slush), but I think part of that is I've been getting to know some of the editors and/or slush readers, either tangentially or personally. That's only for some of them, but I'm sure it helps! (Which I should note is just community socializing - I'm anti schmoozing. Ick.)

On simultaneous submissions, though, I'm not sure I could send something out again without withdrawing it first. (I say as I eyeball a short that's been on hold and under consideration forever...)


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