Simultaneous Submissions

Writing

In all my years of submitting to literary magazines, I have never invoked the simultaneous submissions option. I think this partly stems from what an effort sending to these magazines used to be back when few of these magazines were on the Internet, and one had to print things out and stuff them in envelopes and pay for postage. Sending one thing anywhere was time consuming, so the thought of doing that for several magazines never felt much like an option. Also, I felt it was more considerate to the magazines to only have works under consideration at one place at a time.

Of course, in recent years, most magazines not only have options for sending things electronically, but they often prefer that method. Sites like Submittable and Submishmash make submitting and tracking submissions incredibly easy. But I still hesitated to submit works to more than one place at one time.

However, very recently, I’ve decided to give simultaneous submissions a try. One reason is the slow response times of some literary magazines. Some places can take 4-6 months to respond, which means if I wait to hear from one place before submitting to another, I may only be able to send any given piece out 2-3 times a year.

But I think what really has convinced me to submit to multiple places is the statistics provided by DuoTrope, which is an excellent resource for researching markets and tracking submissions. One unique feature of DuoTrope is that it tracks the response times and acceptance rates of its users and then reports those statistics, so before submitting anywhere, you can see average response times and acceptance rates. Sarah Baughman has a great review of DuoTrope over at Write It Sideways.

I always knew that acceptance rates were very low, but to see that most literary magazines have acceptance rates in the 0-2% ranges has been eye-opening. The chances of being accepted anywhere is so slim that the likelihood that a piece would be accepted at two places at the same time is nearly infinitesimal. Any concern I had that I would be inconveniencing editors and needing to withdraw a piece from consideration went out the window.

And now with easier ways to submit and track those submissions, the workload is no longer a hindrance. So, I am going to give simultaneous submissions a try hoping that it will increase my chances of having other work published.