Simultaneous Submissions and Such

Flooding the market has its ups and downs

As an active working writer, I confess: I simultaneously submit work all over the place. A lot of journals these days have woken up to the fact that authors are going to be sending their work to multiple places at various times, and therefore, editors have broadened their horizons about simultaneous submissions — manuscripts sent to more than one venue at a time.There are a few journals’ bosses that still frown on this practice however; they assume that you must value their opinion so much that you would NEVER send your work to someone else at the same time. This elitist and frankly inefficient mentality is a holdover from a more Guttenbergian time, when “gentlemen” were expected to give their exclusive attention to one press at a time. Rarely do things operate in such a way today, though. Journaleers who expect writers to give them some kind of preferential treatment are as obsolete as tophats and typewriters.Recently, I submitted some pieces to a publication that included among its guidelines the statement, “We prefer no simultaneous submissions.” In my cover letter, I told the editors forthrightly that the pieces were being “shopped around” to other publications — if they want my work, they’ll have to come to grips with the fact that I have bills to pay and I operate largely on a “first-acceptance, first-dibs” basis. This isn’t some kind of snobbishness on my part; it’s just sound business practice. I want my work out there efficiently and presented well. Whoever does that the fastest and the best is the proverbial “winner.” If writers have to grapple with competition from others, why shouldn’t editors and publishers as well?Granted, the aforementioned publication might frown upon someone so recklessly disregarding their preferences, but at the end of the day, I know I have to face myself as a professional poet, and sometimes that means going against the grain. Here’s hoping I haven’t burned a vital bridge in the process…

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