Simultaneous Submissions

Publishers and agents often prohibit simultaneous submissions. They want your manuscript to go to them alone – where they often sit on it for six months. This prohibition is morality viewed from the point of view of the publisher. Don’t we writers have rights?  Why should our work sit on someone’s desk for a long time?

When you see a prohibition against simultaneous submissions, ignore it.


8 responses to “Simultaneous Submissions

  1. Aren’t you talking about “simultaneous submissions”? I’ve usually heard “multiple submissions” only used to mean sending more than one story to the same person/agency/editor.

    Regardless, whatever you call I do hate the all-too-common prohibition against it. But it’s the rights monopoly that pervades the arts. Or the “This only has value to me if it is MINE.” Which, to be quite honest is a ridiculous stance for an agent or editor because most reject about 99% of submissions. Why claim exclusive rights to consider so many things you’ll reject?

    That being said, if you do ignore it you can get yourself into trouble. In the past I have always abided by the multiple/simultaneous submissions rules. But I’m not submitting anymore.

  2. It takes a reader (agent, editor, publisher, you) just a few pages, sometimes less, to decide whether or not to continue reading a manuscript. If people in the publishing industry demand exclusive submissions to avoid spending (wasting?) time reviewing a manuscript that could be acquired, meanwhile, by someone who’s had equal opportunity, how much time was really wasted? Unless it’s deemed a potential money maker. Perhaps that is when a request for exclusivity should be made, along with a worthwhile offer to entice the author to agree to those terms. Submissions, especially to an agent, are like job interviews, after all, and should always be two-sided affairs. A writer’s time is as valuable as an agent’s or publisher’s.

    Personally, I’d disclose that my submission is not exclusive and hope the receiver rewards my honesty with an honest review of my work.

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