Q.The question is prompted by my starting to send off one article to a major newspaper, then realizing I hadn’t had it ruled out yet by another, already submitted. It can be up to 6-8 mo. to hear back from some publications and meanwhile the piece just sits. I know, only submit to those who accept multiple or else just keep writing…but? Any advice?
Well Rabbit, here’s my take, and I’ve left a resource link for you to check out as well.
If you are submitting to newspapers, you can submit simulaneously to other newspapers as long as you are out of their “area”. That area is around 100-150 miles. So, you could submit the same story to The San Diego Union Tribune as you do the San Francisco Chronicle. And so on across the country. The only ones I would not put into this game of play is the big national five. New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and Christian Science Monitor. For those, wait, and they’re usually good about getting back to you in a reasonable amount of time. Just make sure that when you’re submitting simultaneously, you let them know in your cover letter. Also, if you have their guidelines beforehand, that will help and it should state whether or not they accept it or not.
At Travelers’ Tales we get the occassional call from writers who ask about their story. And this was always laughable to me. Because we don’t buy all rights, or even first rights, they can send it wherever they want first. Sending it in to us did not prohibit them from sending it elsewhere. Also, books can take years to make. Especially ours. I found out that we don’t even send our rejection letters anymore. And that’s bad, but we’re small staffed and on tight budget. I will probably do rejection letters out of my own pocket for the humor book.
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Here is a resource that I’ve found on the topic that you might find interesting.
Simultaneous v. Sequential Submissions from Writing-World.com.