Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How do you feel about multiple submissions?

Last September at the ACFW conference I learned about writers who sent proposals to several agents at the same time. I'd been convinced that was a no-no. An agent asked for my proposal, then a few weeks later, that agent asked for the full manuscript. Being as yet unpublished in long fiction, I jumped for joy. My only question came from her letter which asked for an exclusive

An exclusive? Wasn't that what they always got? I did what any self-respecting want-a-be would do. I asked the writers on my loops. The consensus was sending to several agents at one time was not only accepted but expected. I received several opinions about the length of time to give an agent an exclusive if I wished to do that. I did.

Now I'm in the process of choosing four agents whom I personally like and think I could work with. I will send my latest manuscript to them all.

At our local RWA chapter meeting last Saturday, our speaker told us multiple submissions were okay even for publishers if we apprised them of our intentions. I've always heard that was bad form. You sent to one editor, gave them whatever time they needed to decide (sometimes months), then when it was rejected (Please, no), you spruced it up and sent it to another. Our speaker said one publisher kept her manuscript for five years.

But, oh the risk. They could reject it immediately if you tell them it's a multiple submission. Do I have the nerve? I'm shaking in my Texas boots here.

If you're reading this blog, let me know your thoughts on this. Is this really acceptable practice for most agents and publishers? Personally, I hope so. What do you think?


Debra said...

Janet, I think you'll never know unless you try.

Anonymous said...

Different agents have different expectations.Same thing for publishers. Most tell what they expect on their websites. Have you checked out agentquery.com? It's a pretty good resource. Some of the information is old, so always go check the agent's site too.
I'd be reluctant to give an exclusive for a long time, but if it was a requested full, and I really wanted them, I'd do what they wanted. Remember sending out multiple queries doesn't mean you've "multiply submitted" the manuscript. The query isn't really a submission, it's that foot in the door to get to submission. :-)