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What Are Simultaneous Submissions?

Simultaneous SubmissionsSimultaneous Submissions Definition: Simultaneous submissions happen when a writer submits a given work to more than one market (like a literary agency or literary journal) at one time. In other words, if you prepare a short story and send it out to 25+ markets at the same time, you’re making simultaneous submissions.

Simultaneous submissions are sometimes confused with multiple submissions. When you make multiple submissions, you’re submitting more than one piece in a single packet (three stories to one market at the same time). In the case of poetry, submissions are often made in groups of three to five poems, so a multiple submission would include two groups.

Read more: How To Interpret Submission Guidelines

The good news is that most literary agents and editors of literary journals are open to simultaneous submissions. Some include a request like, “Let us know if this is a simultaneous submission,” so the writer adds a note in his/her cover stating that. However, perhaps more important than a note in a cover or query letter is a follow-up note if there is interest in the work in question.

Editors and agents hate spending hours and hours deliberating on whether or not to accept a piece for publication or make an offer of representation only to discover that said work is no longer available. That said, some literary journals are open to accepting reprint rights instead of first rights (but the majority are not).

When Making Simultaneous Submissions To Literary Journals

Most lit mag editors understand that writers must submit a given work to more than one market at a time. If you find yourself with two offers of publication on the table, just be sure that you understand what rights you’re granting to each editor.

Read more: Literary Journal Contracts: Terms And Conditions.

When Making Simultaneous Submissions To Literary Agents

Simultaneous submissions for books can be fantastic, especially if you receive interest from multiple literary agents. Even if you don’t have an offer of representation, you can sometimes leverage one agent’s interest into interest across the board.

To learn how to handle this situation, start with these two articles: Literary Agent Manuscript Requests and When A Literary Agent Requests An Exclusive: Solutions For Sticky Situations.

Happy (simultaneous) submitting!

Questions for WritersQUESTION: Do you make simultaneous submissions, or submit one place at a time?

3 Responses to What Are Simultaneous Submissions?

  1. Hi Tracy,
    Yes, the “no simultaneous submissions” includes contests. In addition, most contests don’t want previously published material, so you’d be out your entry fee if a journal accepted and published a poem or story you’d also entered in a contest.

  2. What I don’t understand is if a person submits to a literary magazine that says “no simultaneous submission”, can she submit to a contest but not a literary magazine? Is no submission to contests also assumed (some contests publish winning poems; others don’t). I can’t find the guidelines for this issue anywhere.

  3. The important follow-up note (if there is interest in the work) has become easier with e-mail submissions or submission managers that generate a confirmation e-mail, or keep track of one’s submission hitory in a common database.

    A small risk that remains are small, proprietary, web-submission managers of some contests or mags that don’t keep one’s entries in a well-known common database, yet don’t send any confirm signal either (or, send a bunch of e-mails, none of which mentions any title.) I think this is an unintentional trap, both for the embarrased writer and the editor.

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