Saturday, October 27, 2007

Simultaneous Submissions - Or, can you do two things at once?

Are simultaneous submissions OK?

Here I venture into an area already covered by thousands of scribes.

Is it OK to submit the same manuscript to several publishers at once?

The answer is yes, no, sometimes, and well, it depends.

The latest discussion I've read on the subject was one of the sanest. It boils down to this: When submitting a manuscript, follow the publisher's rules, use common sense, common courtesy, and good communication skills!

Recently, when I submitted to a small publishing house, I intended my manuscript be for that house only - for a while. But, I failed to say so in my cover letter. (Whoops.)

So, a couple of weeks after sending the ms, I followed up with a letter to the editor stating (a little more professionally than this, I hope), "this is for your eyes only - until the week of Thanksgiving. If you want more time to "digest" the submission, let me know."

See, there are oodles of publishers and billions of oodles of writers out there. And that's just taking into account the good ones ;) Everyone has their own rules.

Some houses will consider ONLY exclusive submissions; others are cool with knowing their transom is just one of many a manuscript may cross - on the same day.

Some writers (I suppose) are content to wait for a response from one house before moving on to another house. I'm not. But common sense must prevail.

In the case I described above, there were extenuating circumstances. Let's face it; there always are. That's why common sense, good manners, and clear communication is critical in the writing/publishing game.

In my case, I think I did a good job selecting a publisher where my manuscript would "fit." I had queried long ago, and received a note of interest - so I felt I "owed" the publisher a period of time to review the manuscript in its entirety without feeling I'd offered the (fabulous) idea to another house.

And of course, I think it's really fabulous. I can't wait to see the thing in print. On bestsellers' lists, even. So, while I'm content to wait (about six weeks) for a reply, I'm not going to wait around forever.

After all, there are readers waiting to hear from me, right?

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