Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG: Why I Don't Do Simultaneous Submissions

It's IWSG day......thanks, Alex. In spite of all the talk I do about my WIPs, my ideas, my manuscripts, and all that I'm-serious-about-getting-a-book-out-there-someday kind of chatter, the truth is, I have only sent out completed manuscripts for consideration to a very small number of industry professionals. I can count the number of official "I'm laying my soul at your feet" submissions with fingers on one hand.



A lot of writers do simultaneous submissions, and that's cool. But I tend to be more slow and selective when it comes to submissions. I like to know who I'm sending my stuff to. I prefer sending stuff to someone I've either researched or have had some previous interaction with, someone who can offer me a vibe from our meeting that there is potential for a fruitful agent or editor relationship. Fortunately, I've met so many lovely agents and editors. 

I also dread the thought of sending out  manuscripts to 100 people, and weeks later, when my eyes gloss over my work, I see a glaring and blatant error. It would seem unprofessional to send a follow-up "Read-this-MS-instead-and-not-the-other-MS-I'd-just-sent-with-the-boo-boos"...and to those same 100 people again....the horror.  

The final reason why I don't do simultaneous submissions is because I don't want my name to be recognized on mailing envelopes or inbox emails as that person who keeps sending queries or manuscripts that all the agents and editors keep passing on. Oh, it's that Cynthia once again, sending yet another tiring query/complete manuscript/first chapter. I wonder if agents and editors who routinely get stuff from the same writers they keep passing on eventually develop a conscious or unconscious expectation that all future submissions from that individual would not be worth a second look. So this takes me back to an earlier point- I like to know who I'm sending my stuff to. That way, I can be assured that the material is suited to the reader's interests. 

Do you do simultaneous submissions? Why or why not?

25 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

I have never done any kind of submission, but I think if I did, I would probably do it your way. I don't like the idea of sending out masses of submissions at once!

Heather M Bryant said...

I've only ever done a few. Maybe ten. Twenty tops. I think the thing about my submissions is by the time I hit five rejections, I'm done. The MS goes back in the cupboard and when I pull it out a few months later, it's easy to see why.

Rachel Morgan said...

Um ... I've actually never done ANY submissions! I think I would probably send out in small batches. Certainly not 100 at once! Probably for the same reason as you.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I like your reasoning, Cynthia. I've had 3 agents and had to learn the hard way that landing doesn't mean much unless they're excited about your work. Works both ways. Years ago I did send out 30 at a time, and I'm here to tell you that receiving multiply rejections in the mall is not a good day.

Best Wishes.

Lexa Cain said...

No simultaneous submissions? Seriously? I've sent 50 queries in the last 2 months and only half have been responded to with rejections or requests so far. At that rate, exclusives would take 10+ years while I waited on stragglers.
I guess it's different if you know agents personally. There's a far better chance of attracting interest that way. But living far away, I don't have that opportunity. I just have a big, long list of well-researched agents, a good ms, and crossed fingers.
Good luck to you! I hope you land an agent soon! :-)

David P. King said...

I used to, but I quickly learned I need to be more selective and careful as not to blow my chances. You can bet the next project will be handled more discretely. Thanks for this post! :)

Kelly Louise said...

I'm embarrassed to tell you how few submissions I've made.

J. A. Bennett said...

Interesting point, and I agree with David. I usually have one out, but sometimes I do two. I imagine there will be a huge gap between the story I'm writing now and the next one I put on submission so I don't really think my name will be recognized, but you never know!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That makes sense. Send out a few, get some feedback, spot the typos, fix, and send to a few more. Perfectionist - I like it!

Lynda R Young said...

I definitely research the agents I send my work to. Like you said, I want to know who I'm sending to. Plus I want the best chances for my manuscript.

Jackie said...

I research and only send out a few at a time. It's just my personal preference.

tfwalsh said...

Researching agents is so important... totally agree. Gives you the best chances:)

Shannon Lawrence said...

I don't do simultaneous submissions. I like to keep track and know who I'm waiting to hear from. Also, it's sort of terrible to get a ton of rejections all at once, or I figure it would be. I had a rough week just from getting two in the same week. I can't imagine 30!

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Susan Roebuck said...

I know what you mean, but some publishers take so long to reply. I start off with maybe five of my top ones. Then I'll send out another five. Hope the news is good for you. Good luck

Sylvia Ney said...

I've done both. If I want one particular publisher to use my piece, I will only submit to them. If I don't have a preference, then I I'll multi-submit.

Cherie Colyer said...

I've wondered if agents and editors start to recognize names too. I've done both, but when I submitted simultaneous submissions it was only to a handful of select people for the same reasons you list.

C.M.Brown said...

A very insightful thought, one that really does ones head in if you really think about it. Good luck with your submissions!

Cynthia said...

Thanks, everyone, for sharing about your submission process. It's always insightful to see what others do.

Tara Tyler said...

simultaneous submissions to me is
send to an agent i have researched, or two
wait a week or so, revise query and send a couple more
if my name is recognized, i'd be amazed
i think if they reject, we are forgotten unless we revise & resubmit...
rejections come in the form of no response too, which i dont like, but understand...
frustrating system, isnt it!
good luck!

Sherry Ellis said...

Generally, I too send out one at a time. Lately, though, I've been sending out one per month, regardlessof whether or not I heard from the publisher.

Lynn Proctor said...

i can't remember when i last sent something out!

Rose Munevar said...

I'm with you in that I don't think mass queries are productive. I would, and have researched the agent thoroughly prior to submitting, but I've only queried twice. I've stopped trying for now and decided that I still need to improve my novel before trying again.

Nicole said...

I query in small batches. It lets me do updates if needed in between, but still gets it in front of several different agents without taking years and years...

Lydia Kang said...

I did SS. Life is too short to wait on one query at a time! I usually did batches of 5-10.

Nick Wilford said...

I sent out about a dozen submissions for my first book, in a couple of batches. That's my only experience of it, not counting magazine submissions of short stories (which I actually did do in dozens, but I thought being "smaller scale", that was OK?) Any more than 5 or 6 at a time for a book is probably too much, but I don't think I could do one at a time - it could take years!

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