The Age-Old Simultaneous Submissions Question

A few years ago, I told my friend Jonathan that I did not simultaneously submit my stories. Like a good girl, I submitted one story to one journal each time and waited and waited and waited.

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he said. “When you’re out looking for a job, do you send one resume out at a time?”

It can take up to one year to hear back from one literary journal, so if you are serious about ever being published, you should be submitting to more than one place at a time.

One Story’s policy is that we allow simultaneous submissions, but you MUST let us know as soon as your piece is accepted somewhere else.

There’s a great website called www.duotrope.com which provides a searchable database of more than a thousand magazines. You can filter out the magazines that will accept simultaneous submissions. This site is also great because it can also filter out temporarily closed markets (for instance, we stop accepting submissions June 1 but will begin again on September 1).

If you go through the list you’ll find a lot of great journals that accept simultaneous submissions, magazines that have won many awards. But if you REALLY want to send your story to that no-simultaneous-submissions magazine, I suggest you follow their guidelines. That’s my opinion, but I’m sure there are others–

Do you follow the submission guidelines, or do you consider the guidelines largely ridiculous?

8 thoughts on “The Age-Old Simultaneous Submissions Question

  1. While I follow the “No simultaneous submission” guidelines for magazines … I often feel like a sucker whose works are rarely read. Of course, this is just based on my own experiences reading slush 😉

  2. We read every single submission that comes in, so submit to One Story and you won’t be a sucker! 🙂

  3. I simultaneously submit, figuring the odds of one of my stories being accepted by two publications were as good as the members of Husker Du getting back together. I guess those odds were better than I thought, two publications wanted one of my stories this year, and I had to write a very apologetic, pleading, graceful note to one of the editors, who was amazingly nice about it figuring, I guess, we are all in this crazy mess together. In the future, I will still simultaneously submit, but will be careful about it.

  4. In a perfect world, editors would have the time and resources to respond to every submission in a short period of time, but the reality of it is that many lit mag editors are: trying to work on their own writing, working a (paying!) job, finishing up their MFA or even – ack – all of the above. It’s something worth remembering when you’re waiting impatiently for word on your work. That being said, if you’re submitting to a notoriously slow market (Duotrope will guide you to those, as well), it might be in your best interest to simultaneously submit and hope you don’t run into MHB’s “problem”! I agree with Pei-Ling – there are LOTS of great magazines that accept sim subs – in which case, you won’t need to worry about it.

  5. I always multiply submit (multiply as adverb??), no matter what the magazine’s policy. Not only do mags take a year or more to reply, but they too often lose stories and sometimes won’t confirm even after six months whether they have your story (this hasn’t happened with One Story, of course). If you let other mags know as soon as you get an acceptance, you shouldn’t end up having to decide between them (though I did hear from a friend who received emailed acceptances within seven minutes of each other!). When I have withdrawn stories even from mags that have such policies, editors have always been understanding. I always take care to submit simultaneously only to mags I feel equally excited about, so I never have to regret saying yes …

  6. The One Story submission guidelines posted on the web site state that One Story accepts submissions between September 1 and May 31. It doesn’t say anything about not reading manuscripts between June 1 and September 1. Which is it? Does that mean that the manuscript I submitted 8 weeks ago doesn’t even have a chance of seeing the light of day for another 9 weeks?

  7. Wow, gentle writers! Apologies for even IMPLYING we would ignore your fiction. I’ve gone in and clarified the wording in the entry.

    One Story does not actually close the “reading period” over the summer–as we are not associated with any universities or etc. and indeed do not take 2 month vacations during any point of the year.

    Indeed, the reason for the break is much the opposite–a desire to conquer the growing pile of submissions before the deluge starts anew in september.

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