Monday, August 29, 2011

I never make a complaint, 'till it's too late for restraint

Note from Romancing the Muses: Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Hurricane Irene’s warpath. Please stay safe.

Simultaneous submissions. Most all publishers, on their submission information page, include a note about their policy regarding simultaneous submissions. It’s rare nowadays to find a publisher that all-out states they don’t want a manuscript if it’s being considered elsewhere, but even then you want to be careful to whom you submit if you’re planning on more than one publisher.

Here’s the rub. Sometimes your manuscript resonates with more than one publisher, and even more so, sometimes the publisher’s response time is a little off. Sometimes when you hunker down for a 12-16 week wait, you hear something within ten days. And then you’re in a pickle.

Yes, this is a personal story. I completed a manuscript about six weeks ago that I figured I’d be lucky if anyone wanted, since it’s darker and has elements of dubious consent. Well, blow me down. I got two offers on the same freakin’ day, each from a publisher I’d be fortunate to have behind the manuscript. So obviously, the question became…which one do I choose?

Granted, there was nothing wrong with being in this situation, especially since I had alerted both houses that the manuscript was being considered elsewhere. The trouble came in playing the “pick the publisher” game, weighing the pros and cons, and knowing that no matter which venue I chose, I’d always be chased with the question of “what might have been?”

I’m not going to preach against simultaneous submissions, because even though right now I have promised my crit partners and myself to never put myself in that situation again, I know I’m impatient. I know I don’t want to play the waiting game just to receive a rejection letter, then start all over with another waiting game. My point is this: be careful what you wish for. It’s awesome, yes, knowing your manuscript is in demand…but saying no to someone isn’t easy.


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