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Ranty Blogpost: Simultaneous Submissions

Paper Angel Press

It’s happened three times in rapid succession.

I mean, the right kind of problem to have is that you get a flurry of new submissions, and lately, the Press, all its Imprints, and all of its anthologies, are receiving a record number of submissions. We are giddy to see this pickup in volume. A lot of it is word of mouth — our authors saying nice things about us in public, and encouraging their writer friends to find us. So overall, it’s good all the way around, and we’re grateful.

But every once in a while, something explodes in your face.

We have, on and off over the years, accepted simultaneous submissions, and we’ve always made it clear if we are, or are not, right on the Submissions page (which a lot of people don’t bother reading, but that’s a whooooooole other drama, which will probably also eventually generate a Ranty Blogpost). It states quite clearly that we are NOT accepting simultaneous submissions. It’s. Right. There.

Three times now, in the last three months, we’ve gotten a submission, processed it, accepted it, and been told, belatedly by the author, that it was in fact submitted and accepted elsewhere.

What that means is that they sent it to us, and then we spent time

  • processing the submission (retrieving the manuscript, putting it into our system, sending the acknowledgement)
  • reading it
  • evaluating it
  • generating points of feedback, so that rejections know precisely what to work on before resubmitting
  • processing the acceptance through our management system
  • sending the emails

All told, it’s roughly an eight-hour process. One entire working day. For each and every submission we receive. And it’s utterly wasted, because someone was so frantic to get accepted, they blew right past the stated rules, and assumed that their work getting published was more important than respecting my time and effort and energy, and the time and effort and energy all our other submitters have put in for their submissions. As it is, we turn around receipt of submission, and notice of acceptance or rejection, in roughly a quarter of the time you can expect with a big publishing house, if you get a response at all.

The tl;dr here is that we want to get your stuff published; we are a publishing company, for cryingoutloud. And we built the Press(es) expressly because we were not happy with how impersonal publishing had gotten. But as much as we are standing on a foundation of respect for authors, we request and require authors to have that same respect for us. We’re not on a salary here (yet — someday, though…). This is a labor of love and a project of passion and we are doing our level best out here and it’d be really neat if submitting authors respected that enough to follow our stated submission rules.

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