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Multiple Submissions:
Fair or Foul?
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Multiple queries, single submissions

With this strategy, you write query letters to several publishers or agents at a time, offering each an exclusive look at your manuscript for 30 days. You fulfill requests on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If the first respondent hasn't given you a decision within 30 days, you then have two choices:

  • Phone or fax your request for a decision within two weeks, or...
  • Move on to the next editor or agent who requested the manuscript.

This approach has several advantages:

  • It's courteous to the editor or agent.
  • It just might win you a spot near the top of the reader's manuscript pile.
  • It helps to shrink the glut of unread manuscripts in editorial departments. (If every writer followed a "mutiple queries, single submissions" rule, publishers might be less hostile to unagented manuscripts.)

Magazine markets

Some magazine editors are open to multiple submissions; others insist on having an exclusive look and don't even like the idea of multiple queries.

To avoid misunderstandings, check the listings in Writer's Market or send a self-addressed stamped envelope for a copy of the magazine's editorial guidelines.

Another viewpoint

Those Terrible Multiple Submitters
Children's writer Aaron Shepard blames "manuscript glut" not on multiple submissions, but on beginning writers who submit en masse to editors who have been featured in writers' magazines.

- Durant Imboden

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