Getting your short story, personal essay, or poem published is not an easy task. There are thousands of literary journals you’ll need to review to determine which are the best fit for your writing. Even with hours and hours of research, the writing submission strategists at Writer’s Relief know the industry average is one hundred submissions to get even one acceptance in today’s publishing landscape—and these odds are for very good writing and well-targeted submissions! But our experts know a hack you can use to work this numbers game to your advantage: Make simultaneous submissions. Sending out simultaneous submissions means submitting one piece to multiple literary journals at once. Here’s why simultaneous submissions are a smarter strategy that boosts your chances of getting an acceptance from a literary journal.
Why Simultaneous Submissions Are Better Than Sending One At A Time
Faster results. The math doesn’t lie: The more journals you submit to at once, the faster you’ll reach the average of one hundred submissions per piece. Some journals can take several months to reply. If you submit to only one journal, you may spend a lot of time waiting for an answer! And if the reply that finally comes back is a rejection, you’ll be sending out your submission again to another market—and waiting again.
Additionally, not all journals are open year-round, so if you wait on a single response every time you want to submit to the next journal on your list, you may miss some reading deadlines and have to wait until the journals reopen for submissions (which could be months away or even next year).
But if you submit your work to multiple literary journals at once, your writing will get into the hands of several editors at the same time. Instead of finding out from only one journal whether or not your submission has been accepted or rejected, you’ll be getting replies from many more—and much more quickly.
Earlier feedback. Receiving all those responses will help you determine the success of your writing. While most journals don’t have time to reply personally to every single submission they receive (and often send rejection form letters), some editors will offer feedback for pieces they reject.
You don’t have to make any changes to your work based on the input of one editor—it’s just one person’s opinion, and the next editor might like it as is. But if you’ve made simultaneous submissions to multiple journals and you notice that several editors are offering the same feedback, you might want to take another look at your work.
And if you’ve reached that one hundred mark and still haven’t received an acceptance, you may also want to consider making some revisions. Seek out beta readers or a writing group to help you see the work with fresh eyes.
Simultaneous Submissions Best Practices
Research, research, research! We said it before and we’ll say it again: Don’t send out ANY submissions without doing your research! It’s important to find out if the journals you’re interested in accept simultaneous submissions, because not all journals do. It’s also important that your work suits the journals genre, style, themes, etc. Be sure to check the submission guidelines before you send your work.
Make any necessary withdrawals after an acceptance. You’ve sent your submissions, and you’ve received an acceptance. Hooray! Break out your happy dance moves! And here’s what else you should do: Publishing industry etiquette requires withdrawing the accepted work from any other markets you’ve sent it to that haven’t responded yet. Treat editors’ time and talent with respect. Withdraw work as soon as it is accepted elsewhere.
This way, other editors who received the submission won’t spend time considering work for which they no longer have first publication rights. If you don’t make withdrawals in a timely manner, you run the risk of getting a bad reputation. Editors talk, and you could even end up blacklisted by some literary journals.
Get expert assistance. If you’re going to send out simultaneous submissions to boost your odds of getting an acceptance, you should submit to more than just a handful of literary journals. Plus, you’ll want to be sure the submissions you do make are to journals that are best suited to your writing style. And you’re going to want to submit on a regular schedule to chip away at that one hundred baseline. Sure, you could do this yourself—but how do you make all this happen and still have time to write?
At Writer’s Relief, we’ve been helping writers boost their chances of getting an acceptance for over twenty-eight years. Our submission strategists and researchers will pinpoint not two or three, not ten or fifteen, but twenty-five-plus literary journals that are great opportunities for your work—and that also accept simultaneous submissions. For our full-service clients, we help them target over twenty-five of the best markets every two months. More than 90 percent of our short story and poetry clients have received an acceptance! Submit your writing sample to our Review Board today, and learn more about how we can help you!
Question: Do you make simultaneous submissions? Why or why not?