Should you send simultaneous submissions or not? Even professionals disagree on this issue. I read one colleagueâ€™s opinion this morning in her newsletter. She advises sending simultaneous submissions to magazines even when the editor says, â€œno.â€ She said that if we all do that and editors miss out on some good articles, maybe they will learn to get through their slush piles a little faster. Interesting point.
After 30 years in the article-writing business, I tell my clients, SPAWN members, audiences and anyone else who will listen to abide by the policies of the magazines. If they say, â€œNo simultaneous submissions,â€ donâ€™t send them something that is already with another publication. Hereâ€™s my submission formula:
1: Study appropriate magazines and choose half dozen or so.
2: Read their submission guidelines and adhere to them.
3: When it is appropriate to do so, send your piece to the magazine at the top of your list.
4: If their policy is, â€œNo simultaneous submissions,â€ do not send it to anyone else.
Now, if you donâ€™t hear from this editor within their advertised waiting period and you decide that you want to send your piece to another magazine, hereâ€™s what I suggest:
â€¢ Email or write to the editor requesting a response.
â€¢ Tell them that you are sending your submission elsewhere.
You can either withdraw the piece (simply tell the editor that you are withdrawing it) or just let them know that their time with it is up and you are sending it elsewhere. Sometimes, I will tell an editor they have a week to respondâ€”that I am sending the piece out a week from that date, for example. If you decide to leave your piece with editor number one, be sure to tell editor number two that this is a simultaneous submission.
Itâ€™s true that writers are not always treated very well by editors. Iâ€™m sure that editors get their share of weirdo, uninformed, untalented writers, but I also believe that, for the most part, if you approach editors in a professional manner and do your best to adhere to their policies, you will be respected. If you decide that you canâ€™t abide by a policy or an agreement, communicate this to the editor.
Eight weeks or even two might seem like a long time to wait for a response on your fabulous story or article, but the time will go much faster if you have other stories in the pipeline. Write another great article or story while youâ€™re in waiting mode. Or send off dozens of query letters featuring new ideas.
Donâ€™t let the policies of editors bug you, depress you, annoy you. My recommendation is, adhere to the rules of the game and then rise above the nonsensical through volume. If you hope to promote a book through article/story submissions, you want to establish a career writing for magazines or you just want to earn a little spending money from time to time, you really need to think in terms of volume. Donâ€™t pin all of your dreams on one or two pieces. Keep the flow of articles/stories going and these little inconveniences perpetrated by a sometimes ridiculous industry will seem less important.
As an aside, I know one magazine that asks writers to wait 6 to 8 months for a response. Yes, it can get ridiculous.
To learn the ins and outs and ups and downs of establishing a career (or promoting your book) writing articles for magazines, order A Writerâ€™s Guide to Magazine Articles. http://www.matilijapress.com