Saturday, 24 January 2009

Multiple Submissions

I recently had a horrible feeling. I wondered if I’ve been doing the right thing by adhering to publisher’s guidelines too strictly all this time. And I wondered if I might be harming my chances of being published by doing so.

In the beginning I sent my submissions out into the world, to carefully chosen publishers, in the formats they wanted, and then waited the months they stipulated.

Nothing would come back. Not even a form letter of rejection.

So, I’d question its worth, as you do, edit the story and send it somewhere else.


It got to the stage where a rejection email would get me as excited as winning the lottery. Sort of.

I guess I don’t have the experience behind me to take silent rejection in my stride. I need feedback. I know what you’re thinking, and it crossed my mind too. Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe I’m the guy clutching his wonderful, dog-eared book of crappy poems, who won’t admit they’re garbage.

I don't want to be that guy. I also don’t want to be the guy struggling to carry bricks when a wheelbarrow is close by. If there’s a better way of doing something, I wanted to know about it.

I joined a very useful writers group. On the Internet as I don’t live in Metropolis. I seem to have lucked out with this forum. The one I latched onto actually has active members who want to help. Better yet, some of them have the backgrounds to give proper answers to my stupid questions.

I put to them the query of making multiple submissions. Does it increase my chances or is it the anathema publishers warm against.

Unsurprisingly the answer is ‘DON’T’.

The question arose from trawling the Internet and finding a few writers’ blogs encouraging that very thing. ‘Flood the market, someone will pick you up, and screw the rest.’

Common sense, and empathy for an editor’s workload, already told me it would only piss them off to finish their vetting process, accept a story, and then get a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ from the writer in return.

Mind you, it’s good to have my belief confirmed by industry professionals. I’d hate being the only one still standing in line while everyone else has used the side door and are already inside.


Scott-TheBrewClub said...

One of the biggest components of success is persistence! Hang in there and don't give up the dream!

You write damn good stuff, and someone someday will pick it up!

Coops said...

Thanks Scott. I appreciate all encouragement. This past year has been an intense learning experience for me. One filled with frustrations caused by ignorance on my part. However, I am very open to advice and will push on with my submissions.

CIS said...

I've asked the same question. Multiple submissions or no. It almost feels like admitting other copies are floating around in the ether is akin to slapping the editor in the face. I, like you, Submit a story and wait months and months to receive, "you write very well, but your submission does not meet our current needs." I HATE that line. So, with my last story, I did multiple submissions and told them guiltily in the cover letter. Only time will tell the results

That aside, dude, your style of writing blends humor and the acerbic realities of life perfectly. KEEP writing. I'll keep reading. Charlie.

Coops said...

Mate, the fact that you are receiving rejection letters should be seen as more positive than the deathly silence of no reply. At least someone has read your work and may remember you and your persistence. Perhaps they'll see an improvement or change in your later work that, in their eyes, makes you publishable.

We are all trying to please individuals who have specific ideas on what is good or not. They are having bad days and good days, just like us too that can skew their judgment. There are no absolutes with writing, so I guess we have to keep plugging away and hope our submissions hit the right desk at the right time.

Good Luck with your writing too.