Monday, October 18, 2010

Simultaneous Subs and Tiers

(Advice from someone who knows more than me)

In my writing class, we recently got into the business side of things.  The teacher has published a few dozen pieces in various literary magazines, as well as a volume of poetry, so I thought his advice might be interesting to the rest of you. :)

  • Do simultaneous submissions, but do them within a tier.
  • This means you need a tier list with about 8-10 journals or magazines in each. The top tier is the journals you'd love to be published in... even if they're long shots. The odds of getting into The New Yorker with an unsolicited manuscript is low, but if you're going to submit, do it in your top tier. This might also include journals like the Atlantic or Glimmer Train, or Poetry or other big journals. Or whatever your dream publication credits would be.
  • Then a mid-tier, and a third tier. He only went to three tiers, but you know me. I have five.
  • It's important to do your simultaneous subs within each tier before bumping down to the next. You don't want to submit to Joe's Basement Literary Journal and, say, Narrative, and have Narrative accept after Joe's - you'll already be obligated to Joe's.  So stick with one tier, and once (if) you've gotten 5 or 6 rejections in that one, move to the next tier.
  • When a piece does get accepted, politely notify the other journals where your story or poem is still under consideration that you are withdrawing your piece. Most places don't mind simultaneous subs these days (or at least, grudgingly accept them, for writers' lives are short and reading periods are long), but we still need to be courteous.
This advice got me excited about querying more of my short fiction and poetry. That excitement lasted through the creation of my tier list and fizzled out when I started actually preparing more submissions. :p Oh, and then I got a rejection back from my last batch that I sent out.  Booya.


Sara McClung ♥ said...

Great advice--my writing instructor gave the exact same advice!! Lucky us :)

Old Kitty said...

I'm sorry about the rejection!! But I say it will find a home!!! Good luck!!

The tier system makes sense, thanks for the info! I'd love to think I've got enough confidence and enough faith in my writing to be able to even think about such a disciplined way of submission! :-)

Take care

Shelley Sly said...

Thanks for passing along this wisdom. It seems like this could also apply to querying agents (although I do remembering hearing that we shouldn't query our top agents first, in case our queries have flaws and we want to edit them later.) Good to know for submissions, though!