Definition: A simultaneous submission is the submission of the same short story or other piece of writing to more than one literary magazine or publisher at the same time. When submitting work, it is important to check whether or not the publication accepts simultaneous submissions.
Why Do Some Journals Prohibit Simultaneous Submissions?When editors put an issue of a literary journal together, they're thinking about how all the stories and poems will work with each other to essentially create a book. It makes their lives more difficult if they've planned an issue to include a certain story, and then find out from the author that they've already promised it to someone else.
Pros and Cons of Simultaneous Submissions for WritersObviously a story's chances of getting published go up if it's being seen by more people at the same time: so in general, we like simultaneous submissions. On the other hand, literary journals that don't accept simultaneous submissions do tend to respond more quickly. So you don't necessarily have to write a journal off just because they don't take them.
How Do You Know?Finding out whether a journal takes simultaneous submissions or not will be part of your research if you're planning to send a story out to a lot of journals and magazines at once. The lists of literary journals on this site include this information, when it's available. Novel & Short Story Writer's Market also specifies which journals and magazines accept simultaneous submissions. For the most up-to-date information, of course, you may always check the journal's website.
For more information on the publishing process, see the guide to getting published.
Also Known As: Sometimes incorrectly referred to as "multiple submissions."