No Simultaneous Submissions

As I have started to look up agents to submit my work to, I am noticing something I had heard about before but hadn’t fully realized what it meant.

No Simultaneous Submissions.

If you query most agents, you are not allowed to query anyone else while they consider your work. Many take 4-6 weeks to consider your submission package and decide if they want more.

That means you’re looking at 8-9 rejections per year because that’s the total of potential agents or publishers you can query. In a year.

Understand, I am an outsider looking in, but this strikes me as odd. At no point in my career was I only allowed to interview with one potential employer, much less only allowed to send my résumé To one.

It was expected, particularly when I had no work, that I would be sending my résumé out to multiple companies. I would interview with multiple companies. I would go to second and third interviews with multiple companies. Human Resources at prospective employers often asked me if I had any other offers or where I was in the process. They knew and understood I was looking for work.

Kind of like I am looking to get my work published.

While a query letter is not a résumé, it functions much like one to get an agent or publisher to want to “ask you for more” or, in the case of a résumé, to get that first interview. I cannot imagine sending my résumé to one company and waiting 4-6 weeks to hear if they were interested before sending it to another.

I understand rejection in publishing is quite high. What I don’t understand is why the industry would function like this.

I can only assume it’s supply and demand. Lots of people want to be published authors and there are far fewer slots for them. These agents must be getting tens of thousands of queries. Which makes me wonder all the more why no simultaneous submissions. If they have such choice, then from a business standpoint, one particular author matters a great deal less.

I am sure there are reasons for it, and I am curious what they are.   Off to Google!!

And my Google results were . . . disappointing. And disheartening. Common consensus Bullywas an author’s chance of being accepted were about 1 in 7,000. Probably true. But the only real explanation I could find as to why simultaneous submissions were not allowed was that an agent or publisher didn’t want to spend the time looking at a piece of work only to discover that it had already been sold.  I get that. Who does? But it still seems quite limiting to an author whose chance of being accepted is 1 in 7,000.

Glad it didn’t work this way for my day job.


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5 thoughts on “No Simultaneous Submissions

  1. Yeah, this is one of the things that makes me feel like trad publishing isn’t for me. The way to get out of it, the way around it? Is go to a bunch of cons and talk to all of the people and make them love you. Then you can jump lines.
    The good news is you can keep writing your next projects while sending off the query letters.

  2. Sadly, cons aren’t something I can do with two little kids. And being around a bunch of people I don’t know is worse than a root canal for my introverted self. Marketing myself or my work is a huge weakness for me. It’s one of the reasons I chose a career in accounting.

    Maybe traditional publishing isn’t for me, either. Especially if they still require me to do all the marketing.

    1. I don’t even have the little kids excuse. Just the introverted root canal one.

      It is part of why I started the podcast. I’m much better at talking up other people and I feel like I’m helping others when I work with them on a piece or give them feedback and then finally when I bring it to life. So I feel much more comfortable marketing listen to these other authors and hey authors let me help and market you.

      Because self publishing still requires you to do all the marketing. There doesn’t seem to be a no marketing option.

      But if I managed to find something I can make work for my introverted self I think you can too 🙂 and trad publishing with an agent might be right. I’d say at least try a few. If this book sits for 6 months will it loose anything? If not try a lap or two with agents.

  3. Thanks for the insight.

    And, you’re right. It’s not going to lose anything sitting for six months or even a year.

    It is interesting that a craft like writing that naturally draws introverts seems to require you to be so extroverted.

    1. It is. I feel like in 15 years someone will write a book about the Great Transition to Self-Publishing and the Extrovert Explosion in Writing. (If you write this book and use this title please don’t tell anyone I came up with it!)

      But I do think that people can still succeed without being traditionally extroverted, and finding other ways to reach out and find readers. Just maybe requires being creative.

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