1. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    multiple publishers

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by black-radish, May 3, 2010.

    hi, just a quick simple question:

    Is it alright if you send your manuscript to more than one publisher at the time?
    Is it best just to send it to as many as possible (that publish your type of novel) ? and what should you do if more than one is willing to publish it? (See my optimism? haha)

    Thank you for the advice :)

    Xx
    ~ Lola
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Most publishers don't allow simultaneous submissions, and in general it's frowned on in the industry, because of exactly the situation you mentioned. That's not to say some don't allow simultaneous submissions, but most don't. If in doubt, always check the submission details.
     
  3. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    Well I checked the submission details and there isn't one publisher that says anything about it. (here in the netherlands)

    But now I get why it takes years to get a publisher.. if it can take up to four months before they get back to you...

    Thanks for the help!
    ~Lola
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I must admit that most of my experience with publishers is in relation to magazines and anthologies- short stories, basically. And with most of those, they're fairly explicit about not allowing simultaneous submissions.
     
  5. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never heard that sending your manuscript (we are talking novel here) to multiple publishing houses being an issue before. Obviously if you went crazy and send it off to as many as you could at one time then that wouldn't be wise at all, and would harm you and your name in the business. but if you send it to say three, i can't see that being overly bad. As long as you don't than send more out until you have your replies back.

    Someone else could give you advice on IF you got more than one letter of acceptance. Chances are low that will happen though. I always imagine that if i was submitting my MS to publishing firms i respected, (And allowed my story) Id just accept the first offer and phone/email the other publishing houses as soon as possible and tell them what has happened (In a professional, friendly matter) I mean just because you decide to get published under one house doesn't mean you wont use any others one day ;)

    That's why like i said early, id do my research and only ever send to PH that i really would love the opportunity to work with.

    Sara Douglass (Aussie Author) who has published over 20 books worldwide goes along with the above advice anyway, on her website.

    If you only send one at a time, and if you get like 30 rejections like Stephen King did, he/you would almost be on the pension before you'd strike it lucky,
     
  6. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    Thanks for your advice! I found a special publisher that only publishes fantasy novels for young adults, which is exactly what I'm writing! So I guess I'll give that a chance before any other publishers.. :)

    ~ Lola
     
  7. Meliha
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    Meliha Member

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    I've read that publishers (at least here in the UK) have become tolerant about someone contacting more the one publisher at the time, due to the fact that it takes such a long time; however it is good practice to mention that in your letter.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, you don't just send your ms to a publisher...if you do, more often than not, it won't be looked at, or even opened, if they haven't requested it...

    what you do do is send queries to as many publishers as you can manage, who handle your type of book... then, if you've written a good enough query letter and have a marketable ms to offer, they'll ask to see either the full ms, or sample chapters...

    but quite a few won't even accept query letters from unagented writers, so why don't you try to get an agent first, and let them do all the shopping around work?... having an agent will get your work noticed and will usually get you a better deal, if it snags a publisher... more than making up for their 15% commission...
     
  9. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    I'd recommend you pick 5 top publishers and send them a query package. Query letter, first 20-50 pages of your manuscript, and a brief synopsis. Give them at least 6 months to respond, then pick another 5, etc. This way you won't have too many packages out in case someone shows interest, but you'll have enough out that you might be able to generate an auction situation if your novel gets an offer.

    For short stories, there is never an auction, so send only to one place at a time. But for publishers of novels, why not? It's what a good agent would do, and how auction situations get started.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    fyi, 'top' publishers rarely accept unagented submissions and some won't even accept unagented queries...

    first thing you must do is check each publisher's guidelines to find out what they do accept... and if you don't want to be wasting a lot of paper, ink and postage, don't send them anything but a query letter, unless they say it's ok to include more...

    'auction situations' rarely [if ever] have occurred from self-promoting writers hitting publishers with material they haven't requested...
     
  11. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    mammamia- actually, they might say they don't accept unagented queries, but they do. I know this for a fact, because not only do I know plenty of people who have had full requests (and then sales to) from publishers who say they don't (but really did) but I myself just got a full request from an editor at a publisher whose guidelines specifically say "no unagented submissions".

    Ignore the guidelines if they say that. Seriously. If you send them a query package (query, a few sample pages, a short synopsis) directly to editors, generally the editor will take a look at it just to see if it fits their line. If it does, they will request the full. If it doesn't, they'll just slap a form letter on it.

    Worse case- they reject you. Best case- they buy your book.

    You've got nothing to lose. And they will take a look at it.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You do have something to lose, if their submission guidelines specify a query letter only and you send them a full package. You waste postage and the printing cost for your fisrt chapters (paper, ink, wear and tear on the printer), and you are also more likely to be rejected summarily for your inability to follow directions.

    It's true you probably have less to lose by submitting to a house that specifies "no unagented queries", but it is still to your best interest to only submit what the guidelines specify.

    Maybe you know some people who got lucky, but publishers do not establish submission guidelines because they want them to be ignored.
     
  13. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Sigh. I don't know a few people who got lucky. I know quite a lot of people who have careers as authors who sell their own books (and then use agents or lit lawyers to negotiate the contracts).

    You will not be blacklisted for sending in a query package. Seriously. Editors won't even remember who you are unless you do something stupid like threaten them. If you send them something they can't use, they'll just reject it. Simple. If you send them something they can use, they'll ask to see more.

    I didn't "get lucky". I sent a good query on a good novel to an editor who buys those kinds of books. And I got a full request. Publishing is a numbers game. Write good books, send them to people who can buy them. Some will reject you, no big deal. That's normal, it's part of the business.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    such as...?

    a few names/book titles would help us take your advice more seriously...
     
  15. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Sure. Laura Resnick, Kristine Katherine Rusch, and Dean Wesley Smith are a few of the most sold examples I can think of off the top of my head. Tom Clancy and John Grisham famously both sold their first books without an agent. Jim C Hines sold his first book and then approached an agent with the offer in hand (and his LJ has a very interesting first book poll he did recently where it looks like about half of the responders sold their first books without agents).
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This does not address youer original assertion that you should ignore submission guidelines and send a query letter, a separate synopsis, and the first 1-3 chapters to every publisher, regardless of what their guidelines specify.

    In fact, you seem determined to argue, and to alter the arguing point so you cannot be pinned down.

    You don't have to look very far to find articles by submissions editors that advise would-be authors to follow the publisher's submission guidelines to the letter. They routinely dump submissions into the trash, and instead spend their time screening the submissions that do meet the guidelines. Even so, they don't have time to waste. They pick a small number per day that warrant a closer look.

    That's the process for unsolicited submissions. The queries received through agents are similar, but an agent known to the publisher is more likely to get the submissions editor's attention.

    When I referred to people who got lucky, I meant that if they ignored the submission guidelines and yet found a submissions editor with a few free minutes and a generous mood.

    If you wish to maximize your chances, then certainly submit, submit, submit. But do pay attention to what the publisher wants, and does not want, for submissions. Otherwise, you'll be lucky if the submissions editor even sees the request. His or her assistant will likely have screened it out already.
     
  17. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    If the guidelines call for something else, send that. I'm just saying that is the standard package generally if the guildelines say something like "no unagented queries".

    For what it is worth, I have a full novel manuscript on the desk of an editor. The guidelines for that house says specifically "no email queries, no un-agented submissions". Guess what? I emailed exactly the package I described before and got a full request a couple months later. That wasn't luck. I did my research, found editors who've bought books similar to mine, and send out submissions to them.

    Editors will usually at least look at the cover letter. If it is professionally written and has a good hook, they'll then glance at the pages. If the book seems like something that would fit their line and they like the writing, they'll ask to see more. If it doesn't, they'll slap a rejection letter into your SASE and that's that.
    There is nothing to lose except the cost of postage (and email queries don't even cost that). And there's a hell of a lot to gain.
     
  18. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    As far as I can tell, he's only saying that you can get away with ignoring the "no unagented submissions" part. And if they do say that, why would they have any more details, anyway? It's generally not worth trying, but I have met a man who did it.
     
  19. Azihayya
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    Azihayya Banned

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    confidence is essential, know your work and trust that your selling it to the right place
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but i think it's naive to the max to claim luck played no part in your 'package' getting to an editor who asked to see the full ms...

    how many other editors did you send that unsolicited material to, before one responded with a request for the ms?
     
  21. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If writer knows a specific editor at a specific house, and knows that editor's preferences, and addresses a package to that editor, the chances of being viewed are certainly higher than a blind/generalized submission to a house that does not accept unsolicited submissions. I cannot speak to the success that may come of it.

    My experience has been to follow directions provided by a publisher to navigate the submission process. It's gotten me through the slush, to the full read and even sitting on the executive editor's desk, awaiting a decision.

    Terry
     
  22. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    mammamaia- I sent the package to 5 editors. This is the first one I've heard back from. But considering how publishing works and how slow things happen, I'm not that surprised I haven't heard anything since it has barely been two months. If I haven't heard from the other four after about 6 months I'll note them down as a non-response and mail to four more editors. Not a big deal. Either they will be interested in this book or not. If they don't respond, I'll just move to the next editors on my list.

    Mind you, I'm not just randomly submitting to any editor at any house. I've researched the editors and houses to make sure I am submitting to editors that buy books like mine. That's simple common sense (I wouldn't send an adult fantasy novel to a children's book editor, for example). It's important to send to editors who buy the kind of book you write, because then you up your chances of a sale, obviously.
     
  23. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    well the netherlands is a pretty small country, even the biggest publishing houses request that you send your ms, not a query letter. I guess they have more time on their hands. :)

    I checked the sites of publishing houses that fit my type of novel and I can't see any information about sending it to multiple publishers at one time.
     

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