Thursday, October 2, 2008

What I was going to write about today was taken, so...

I was going to write about the Pulitzer prize picker who said that American literature is basically trite compared to European literature but I believe that Stuart Neville said it quite elegantly so I will leave that post to him. He actually was talking about the differences in genres but I think that the argument stands.

So, since Neville stole my thunder on that topic, I am going to talk about something I am curious about. I never simultaneously submit to a magazine if it is specifically in their guidelines and if they say it is okay I don't really have a problem with it. My bookkeeping methods are pretty good. I know exactly where all of my stories are and I have no problem telling another publisher that a story has been accepted by someone else.

I just wonder if that is fair to the other publisher. I don't know if they have taken the time to read the story and if they have I really feel sorry for them, it is a waste of time. It can be a big waste of time if enough people withdraw their stories after they have been read but before a decision has been made.

Does anyone else out their sim sub if the magazines say it is okay? I try not to do it very often but many of the literary magazines that I submit to, I mean really, the chances of one of my stories being picked up by several of them is minuscule at best and some of them have six month or better response times. I am pretty patient but give me a break. Do I really need to wait six months (9 months for one of my stories) just to have them give me a form letter saying they don't want it, good luck somewhere else, or is it best to lay your precious eggs in many different baskets?


Jeremy D Brooks said...

I haven't yet, but I have been considering of my stories has been out for over two months, which is normal for that market, but so far I've had pretty quick turnarounds so it hasn't been an issue (if you can consider getting rejected "not an issue"...). You're right, though...some of the lit markets can take a long time, and my opinion is that it isn't any more effort for them to pull it out of the slush pile and delete it than it would to read it a few weeks later if you didn't withdraw.

I guess the real question, then, is: if a market doesn't specifically forbid you to do so, are you burning bridges by shotgunning subs and potentially doing multiple withdrawals, or is that just expected behavior? I know the last thing any of us need is to get on the bad side of editors and publishers...anyone had experience there?

Cate Gardner said...

I've never sim subbed a short story.

I understand your point about the 6/9 month wait from some Editors, and yes waiting years for a few form no's is very frustrating, but I prefer not to sim sub. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this, and if an Editor says it's okay, then I don't see why it wouldn't be.

Novel's however - I sim sub queries all the time.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I hadn't even thought about the novel sub process. (something I haven't had to deal with yet, hopefully next year)

Fox Lee said...

I have an overactive guilt complex, so I don't send more than one story at a time. That said, I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Like you said, the odds of more than one publications accepting the same story is low. And I'm sure editors are aware of the possibility.

Rob Brooks said...

I don't typically do sim subs. HOWEVER, I just sent a story taht I've had out with "From the Asylum" for over 6 months. I sent it to a market with a very fast response time. But generally sim subs just feel...dirty, somehow.