What Not to Do Wednesday and the Simultaneous Sub

Whenever I call a submission a “sub,” I get a little hungry. Which is kinda funny, since hunger has something to do with the simultaneous sub, grasshopper.
After all, the hungry writer wants to make money. Rather than send his or her submissions out one at a time, the writer hungry for success may be tempted to send those submissions out willy nilly, hoping one will land in a cash-paying market all the sooner.
Of course, many editors are not fans of the simultaneous sub. Some editors go to a lot of trouble to give each sub a fair reading. And after investing that kind of time, an editor is not happy to get a note from a writer saying , “Oops! I’ve already sold that submission elsewhere!”
If a writer’s guidelines say “No Simultaneous Submissions,” I generally follow that little rule. Mostly, because I’m afraid that a little thing called karma will catch up to me and smack me around if I don’t. But also because I don’t want to have to say to an editor, “Oops! I sold that piece somewhere else.”
Just like I had to do the other day. In my defense, I’d sent that story out months and months (and months) ago to an anthology. I’d completely given up on it since I’d assumed that the anthology editor had given up on it, too. But I’m a hungry writer. So I sent the same story back out into the world to a magazine market that just happened to be a “No Simultaneous Subs” market.
I sent an “Oops!” email to the magazine editor and he was quite nice, actually. I may even work up the nerve to submit to the magazine again. I mean, I’m still a hungry writer.
But you can’t always depend on such kindness from a stranger. Or in your case, grasshopper, an editor. So follow that “No Simultaneous Submission” rule and good karma will come your way. Or maybe just a good sub with plenty of pickles and onions and mayo.
Mmmmm. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
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4 thoughts on “What Not to Do Wednesday and the Simultaneous Sub

  1. This is excellent advice. The only person to whom this would not apply would be Stephen King. He could write a book every 15 minutes and no one would get the same manuscript!

  2. Ha! That’s true. But he started out hungry like the rest of us. And remember his first book, Carrie? That was a teeny, tiny book. Then wham! That guy started writing phone books.

  3. You said you sent a story out months ago and had given up. What’s a reasonable amount of time towait? Two days between pitches in a World Seriesgame? That’s absurd Oops, different blog. Sorry. Seriously though, when do you decide to stop waiting and start eating?

  4. Most markets (including anthos) will give you an idea of when you can expect to hear back. I’ll wait a few more weeks after that. And then I send my submission out again, because generally, if I haven’t heard anything in 3 months, I’m not gonna get good news when I do hear back.

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