Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Notice: Send your questions to: stuartcwmg@aol.com

Q If you make simultaneous submissions to several publishers, and decide to accept an offer from one, are you obligated to contact the other publishers? Is there a difference if they are periodical publishers—rather than book publishers?

A – When it comes to simultaneous submissions, there are a number of acceptable actions or reactions you will always want to follow:

* Before submitting simultaneously to any publisher, check the market guide or their guidelines to determine if they are actually open to such submissions. Some publishers expect them—others may have an angry response and you will miss an opportunity to sell to them.
* Once you have identified those who are open, start by submitting to them one at a time.
  • After you've given each of them time to respond, you can move on to those who are open and prepare those simultaneous submissions.
  • You always let the publishers you are submitting to know that it is a simultaneous submission. As long as a publisher has indicated simultaneous submissions are acceptable, you don't risk getting a rejection by sending one.
  • Once you get your first acceptance in response to your submission, you can either accept it or wait to see if you get a better offer (such as a more prestigious publisher or higher payment).
  • When you accept an offer, you are not obligated to contact the other publishers to let them know the project has sold—but it is the responsible and ethical thing to do. In most cases you will be submitting to these same publishers in the future and you want to stay in their good graces.
  • That other possibility is that you may get more than one positive response. In that case you definitely need to let those you decide to turn down know that the piece has been sold. Thank them for their interest and assure them that you'll be getting back to them with another submission in the near future. Then see that you do. Again, you don't want to burn any bridges.
         You also asked if it makes a difference whether you are dealing with book or periodical publishers. The simple answer is—not really. The difference may come because with a book publisher you typically would be sending a book proposal first and with a periodical, it may be a query letter first—rather than the full manuscript in either situation. If that's the case with either type of publisher, it's important to let them all know when submitting, that although you are sending the proposal or query simultaneously to several publishers, you will only send the completed manuscript to one at a time. Some will even require that in their guidelines. Some will also specify the amount of time they want to consider the full manuscript before you submit it elsewhere. The bottom line in all of this is that you follow their guidelines exactly. That may mean making a few adjustments to the query, proposal, or manuscript before sending on to the next publisher on the list.

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