1. Mask
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    Mask Member

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    Traditional Looking for Better Offers

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Mask, Apr 2, 2013.

    I was thinking of writing a short story about a sneaky writer--which I brought up an interesting question for anyone looking to get published.


    If someone approaches you about publishing your work, are you allowed to keep submitting it to other publishers before you decide whether to accept or decline their offer?

    I remember that it used to be you couldn't submit a manuscript to multiple publishers at the same time, without fear of being black-listed. Now, you can send your manuscript everywhere, and then if you're really lucky, get several publishers bidding for the work.
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some publications specify they will not accept sim-subs, but otherwise it would be silly not to submit to multiple agents/publishers at the same time. Never heard of being black-listed for it. If you receive an offer, I'm not sure why you'd continue submitting unless you knew you were going to turn it down, just considering the turn-around time and the fact that even if you got another offer, it might not be as good as the first one. Either you like the offer or you don't. JMO
     
  3. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    There's nothing to prevent you from doing so as far as I can see, until you sign the contract at which point some sort of exclusivity clause will no doubt kick in. However as well as Shadowwalker's point there's another matter to consider - time. Submitting and waiting for replies takes time, weeks at the least. What are the chances that whoever made the offer would still be interested in you after a month or so of waiting around for you to sign the deal? They'd likely assume that you weren't serious and scrap the offer.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  4. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    As others have said, there's a practical issue as far as the amount of time required to submit to other markets is concerned.

    As an editor, if I accepted a writer's work only for that writer to decide to publish elsewhere instead I would be very irritated, and wouldn't want to hear from that writer again. If they weren't serious about publishing with me, why did they send me their work and waste my time in the first place?

    I've recently heard several people mention the idea of getting publishers to bid against each other for a work. For a short story or poem I don't think this is a realistic possibility. For a novel from an author with a proven and exceptional track record I think it's much more likely.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    follow krishan's advice... it's what i would have said, had it not been said for me...

    thanks, k!
     
  6. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    Can I be the Devil's Advocate for a moment? Now, I can see getting aggravated at a writer for dumping you after you had already accepted. Does being accepted mean you would have already discussed terms? If yes, would you want the opportunity to counter?
     
  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If a publisher accepts your ms, that means a contract has been offered - but until the author negotiates/accepts/rejects the offer, nothing is settled. Common courtesy (and good business) would dictate that the negotiation/acceptance/rejection happen within a reasonable time - and the time needed to send out new queries and get responses would undoubtedly be way over that reasonable time frame.
     
  8. Mask
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    Mask Member

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    This makes me wonder how you politely handle multiple deals. If you're corresponding with an editor who is not yet willing to accept your work, then you receive an offer from a separate publisher--how would you politely say you are considering your options?
     
  9. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I were working with a reluctant publisher and then received an actual offer from another (and one I liked), I'd let the first one know I had received another offer, giving them the opportunity to negotiate further if they chose to. If they were still reluctant, I'd thank them for considering the ms and go with the second. As to actual wording, that all depends on the relationship to that point.
     
  10. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    I'm not quite sure what "counter" means in this context. Personally though, I deal with short stories and poetry. The terms of publication are available online, and I'd hope that people read them before submitting. My feelings would be that if they weren't happy with the terms they shouldn't have submitted.

    When working with novels / full-length manuscripts I've been told by agents and publishers that this is fine if done in a polite and timely fashion. I'm sure you'd still somewhat alienate the publisher you dropped, but they'd understand.
     
  11. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    It does depend, yes. I'm not that familiar with the system for short stories, poetry, etc, only novels, but if the terms are 'standard' and negotiation isn't typical, then definitely it's the author's responsibility to submit only to those publishers whose terms they can agree to. Otherwise it would be like submitting to a publisher/agent who states clearly they don't accept your genre.
     
  12. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    Oh, I get you now. If submitting with the understanding of your posted terms, yes, that would understandably be irritating to an editor.
     

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