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Multiple Subs/Simultaneous Subs

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Jaina

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I'm getting ready to submit my pet project, and I've targeting one house that I think is absolutely perfect.  They're a small imprint of a larger house, and they seem to value the same things in PBs that I do.

My cover letter started out rather stiff, but I've worked on it until it sounds more honest and friendly right from the get-go.  The problem is:  Now I want to mention that it's a simultaneous submission.  It sounds ridiculous, if they're so perfect, that I'd also be sending it someplace else.  I feel like it's going to sound odd...  "Here's a manuscript because I admire your style so much and blah blah blah it fits right in with your line, which is why I've also sent it someplace else."

What's the best way to phrase this?  "This is a simultaneous submission"?  It doesn't seem to fit the friendly tone I've set in the rest of the letter.  Right now I have something like "Though this is a simultaneous submission, I would love to work with ___ Books blah blah blah" at the end.  More or less "You're my first choice" if you read between the lines.  It doesn't really sound great, does it?

I'm not sending it willy-nilly all over the place.  The other house (just one other for now) I'm going to mail it to is large and does many, many books of all kinds of styles each year, so I think they might like it, too.  I don't want to wait 6 months for each go-round!  Help!
#1 - October 08, 2003, 11:11 AM

tgseale

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Ack!  I hate this, too.  It always seems so RIGHT THERE with no place to hide.  Someone in my crit group just puts an enclosure notation at the bottom, underneath their signature, and then lists SASE, simultaneous sub.  I've also seen it noted by the word count.  I dunno.  I just try to slip it in that last paragraph myself, but I hate it for the very reason you mention.  That is one of the reasons I rarely simul. sub, although I know I really, really should.

#2 - October 08, 2003, 11:20 AM

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A friend said Michael Green of Philomel says not to bother mentioning it, that it's no one's business but yours.

If you're sending it to Philomel, don't worry about it!

Seriously, I obsess over this, too, and haven't yet come up with a good answer.

Anne Marie


#3 - October 08, 2003, 11:22 AM
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GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
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lj

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This is something that bothers me too, especially when they ask you to tell them if its simultaneous.  And they are the 'perfect' house. And you've told them why.  

 :bat: Eek!  
#4 - October 08, 2003, 12:52 PM

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I would just keep it simple and say "This is a simultaneous submission" toward the end of the letter.

I would leave out, I would love to work with etc etc.

Your wonderful manuscript will speak for itself.


#5 - October 08, 2003, 01:01 PM
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I agree with Shirley.  I put it down at the bottom of the letter.  A simple line, "This is a simultaneous submission" is all you need.  

And you do NEED to put it in.  While a few editors don't care, most DO, and what you don't want to do is [word censored] editor's off that are interested in your work!   :!  I've heard too many editors explain what goes into consideration of a manuscript to not respect their feelings about this.

EXAMPLE of one kind of scenerio that can take place:

Editor finds a manuscript she likes in the slushpile.  She sets it on her desk for a week or so and finds she can't stop thinking about it.  It grows on her, the more she reads it.  She loves it!  She wants to publish it!   She meets with marketing and the art department to discuss costs, size of book, format, etc. for the project, then digs out her company calendar and schedules it for the next acquisition meeting.  

Arming herself with everything she has compiled for this book, she pitches it at the meeting, hoping to sway the committee to agree to take on this wonderful book.  Sometimes, they want time to read it over and consider it further, and the project is tabled until the next meeting, in order for others to have time to consider the project carefully.  Finally, after a number of months, the project gets a green light!  The editor is thrilled! She gets to publish this wonderful story!  

She immediately makes THE CALL to the waiting author... and imagine her frustration and unhappiness if the author then tells her, "Oh, gosh. I'm sorry. I just signed that book up with Rival Publishing Company yesterday."    

IF the editor had known ahead of time that the story had been sent out to other places as well, the second she knew she was interested, she'd have contacted the author to find out if the story was still available, and to alert the author that it was under serious consideration at her house.  That way, those months of work on that book won't have been for nothing....

It's a courtesy, and a darned important one, I think, to tell an editor if a story is not an exclusive.



#6 - October 08, 2003, 01:20 PM
Verla Kay

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Jaina

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Thanks for your replies, everyone.  I think I'll just mention it very simply before my closing.  Short and sweet.

That's a good point, Verla, about courtesy.  I recently heard this story from an ed. at HarperCollins about why you should never submit the same story to a different ed. at the same house...

He said that a new young ed. had gotten a submission, liked it very much, enough to bring it to a meeting (one of the smaller meetings first).  He had only just started talking about the book when his fellow editors stopped him.  "Are you CRAZY?" they said. "BigTime Editor-Person just presented that same book and went through a whole battle over it and it finally got shot down and now YOU'RE bringing the same book to the table?"  The young editor was completely embarrassed.  Being new to the company, he had no idea that the same story had caused WWIII at the same house in the previous year.  The author was doing him a real disservice by setting him up for that scene (thank goodness he learned about it in this little meeting, so only a few people heard his "pitch").  The editor probably remembered that author for some time, and not in a warm fuzzy way.
#7 - October 08, 2003, 01:49 PM

lj

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Yikes! :eek5:  Good example of what not to do, Jaina.  

Verla, good point about showing the editor courtesy.  I agree.  It just feels  :werd  sometimes telling an editor why your story is a 'perfect match' for his house, yet I'm hedging my bet by subbing elsewhere at the same time.  But I understand that's how this works.  :-\
#8 - October 08, 2003, 02:09 PM

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I recently heard this story from an ed. at HarperCollins about why you should never submit the same story to a different ed. at the same house...

He said that a new young ed. had gotten a submission, liked it very much, enough to bring it to a meeting (one of the smaller meetings first).  He had only just started talking about the book when his fellow editors stopped him.  "Are you CRAZY?" they said. "BigTime Editor-Person just presented that same book and went through a whole battle over it and it finally got shot down and now YOU'RE bringing the same book to the table?"  The young editor was completely embarrassed.  Being new to the company, he had no idea that the same story had caused WWIII at the same house in the previous year.  The author was doing him a real disservice by setting him up for that scene (thank goodness he learned about it in this little meeting, so only a few people heard his "pitch").  The editor probably remembered that author for some time, and not in a warm fuzzy way.

Sounds like a good manuscript that was knocked down by the marketing department.

For new writers--and old--it takes a while to learn all the unwritten rules. It's good to have a board where we can share these types of things. There are a lot of things not in the "how to" books.
#9 - October 09, 2003, 07:33 AM
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I was so excited to have three requests for the same MS (after querying) that I forgot all about adding the "multiple submission" line.  On one hand I think, no biggie--what are the chances two publishers would want the same story.  On the other hand, I think oops.  Is it really a "big" deal?? :confused2:
#10 - October 12, 2003, 02:42 PM

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Yes, it IS a "big deal."  However, you do NOT have to tell people in a query that you've sent the query to more than one publisher.  You only have to tell them when you send the MANUSCRIPT itself.  So... now look at the three requests.  Do they all accept simultaneous submissions?  If so, send it to all three, mentioning that you are also sending it to another publisher who requested it at the same time.  (That should build a quick fire under them, if they like it!  They'll want to get their offer to you FIRST and beat out the comptetition.)

If they don't all accept simultaneous subs, then you have to make a decision.  Who do you want to see it first?  Who has the reputation of responding quickest?  Which publisher do you truly believe it's the "best fit" for?  Send to that publisher,  and wait on the others.  IF it comes back from the first one, then you can send to the second one that requested it, and then to the third one.  I wouldn't say anything to the other publishers about sending it elsewhere first, because if you do, then when they get it, they'll know someone else already rejected it and it might "color" how they see it when they read it.

Publishers are notorious for making us wait.  Just remember now it's THEIR turn to wait for YOU, and do what you think is best for you and your manuscript.

Good luck!   And keep us posted on what happens!
#11 - October 13, 2003, 10:12 AM
Verla Kay

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