For us, the decision not to accept simultaneous submissions was born out of necessity. When we started Empty Sink Publishing in 2013, we accepted simultaneous submissions, but by the fifth issue, we had no choice but to change our policy—we had lost so many man-hours on submissions that we only learned were accepted elsewhere after we sent an acceptance, that we were left with no other recourse. While we did have some submitters who were good about letting us know when their submission was accepted elsewhere, sadly, we found they represented the minority. Since the staff at Empty Sink Publishing also submits their own works to other publications, we can certainly sympathize with the frustration of a writer or artist trying to get exposure for their works and definitely appreciate the amount of effort that requires. However, the publication process is a two-way street, and guidelines like this one are implemented with good reason.
Simultaneous submissions are a tool that all authors should use when appropriate. Unfortunately, some don’t use them responsibly, which can cause problems for editors of small magazines like Empty Sink Publishing. Since our work is a labor of love and done in addition to our day jobs, we often don’t have the time or staff available to read submissions and then find they have been accepted elsewhere. In our experience, many simultaneous submitters do not alert the other places where their work is submitted immediately after it is accepted. The Review Review has an excellent article on the etiquette of simultaneous submissions: “The Savvy Writer’s Guide to Simultaneous Submissions.”
What ends up happening is that small publications like ours invest their time in these pieces, only to find out all of that effort was in vain; additionally, this depletes time that could have been spent on the works of other potential contributors, which is unfair to them.
The policy of not accepting simultaneous submissions is not done out of disdain towards submitters or a wanton demonstration of power, but rather a way to ensure that our publication is able to meet the needs of as many potential contributors as possible, as well as enable smooth operation in the selection process. In fact, it is not uncommon for publications to not accept simultaneous submissions. Poets & Writers indicates which literary magazines do and don’t accept simultaneous submissions in their listings.
When you submit your works to a magazine or journal, be sure to read the submissions guidelines, and if simultaneous submissions are not allowed and that does not work for you, seek out another publication that does accept them—there are plenty of venues out there to choose from. New Pages is another great source for lit mag listings.
Keep writing and creating, and don’t get discouraged! Remember: publication policies are in place for the benefit of both the editors and contributors, and when those two are in balance, success is achieved for all parties involved.
Empty Sink Publishing submissions guidelines can be found at: http://emptysinkpublishing.com/submissions/.
DEADLINE: Always open
SUBMISSION FEE: None
NOTES: They do not accept simultaneous submissions
FORMS: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, visual/mixed media, book reviews, video media
PAYMENT: None, however, “We reciprocate by providing our contributors with the very best social media and guerrilla-marketing support a small publication can provide. Our track-record so far has been humblingly successful.”
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