The Wrong Multiple Submission
For many years, I have been reading submissions from writers. I reviewed these submissions as an acquisitions editor and now as a literary agent. In Book Proposals That Sell, I advocate simultaneous submissions (Secret #19) because of the slow nature of publishing.
Writers are creative people and over the years I've seen some "different" submissions. Several years ago, one published novelist before I had a chance to read and respond to her submission would periodically email me a revised manuscript and ask that I substitute it for the original submission. I was glad to know this author was continually working to revise her story but when I got the fourth substitution, I'd had enough of this nonsense and unprofessionalism. Without providing the reason (which in general editors and literary agents do not provide), I sent this author my form rejection letter.
As I explained in Book Proposals That Sell, writers can't assume that the publishing professional is reading their email or their physical mail every day. We travel and attend conferences and sales meetings plus other immediate priorities push these unsolicited submissions into a "to be read" stack.
Within the last month, I've received a different type of multiple submission and I thought there was value to tell you about it. The cover letter included a date, "The Whalin Agency" then the words, "Please substitute the enclosed in ______MS." Then a signature and email address combined with some strange manuscript pages.
It looked a bit strange and I had not opened the original submission so I had no idea what was being substituted. Then several days later in my mail, I received another letter from this author with different pages to be substituted. Another day I received another thin envelope with different substitute pages. The arrival of the third envelope with substitute pages triggered an email form rejection (which if I had been on top of my submissions would have happened with the first submission since it was totally off the wall).
This writer was clueless about the memorable impression that he was making with these substitutions. I'm certain he was innocent on his part with little thought about how his actions were coming across to the receiver. Whatever you write, take a few minutes and consider how it will be received. Then your pitch will be seriously considered and possibly you will stay out of the rejection pile.