Yesterday I sent my 100th submission for the year. I’m thrilled to have achieved this goal well ahead of schedule, and in this post I’ll give you all the crunchy data that got me there. Before I get into the raw numbers, though, here are some things I learned from sending so many submissions in a single calendar year.
- You have to write a lot. Yeah, obvious thing is obvious, right? But if you write genre fiction and can’t benefit as much from sim-subs, then you need to write a fair amount of stories if you want to send 100+ submissions. Luckily, I write a lot of flash fiction, so I was able to churn out a good number of new stories.
- You get better. It’s a pretty simple formula in this business that the more you write the better you get at it. I think I upped my short story game this year. I still have work to do in that department, but the number of acceptances I’ve received so far tells me I’m doing something right(er).
- You get a better handle on the market. Sending so many submissions taught me a few things about some of the publishers I submit to and will help me target my submissions more accurately in the future.
- Your rejectomancer level goes up. Sending that many submissions means getting A LOT of rejections. Sure, I’ve received a bunch over the years, but I shattered my yearly rejection record, and my skin is now like elephant hide when it comes to the no’s, we’re gonna pass’s, and not for us’s.
Okay, let’s get to the numbers. Here are the basics.
- Submissions: 100
- Rejections: 72
- Acceptances: 16
- Withdrawn: 2
- Pending: 10
This first set of numbers gives you the basic breakdown of my submission activity. I’m happy with both my productivity (a little over 10 submissions per month) and the results. Yes, I’ve received more rejections this year than any other, but I’ve also received a lot more acceptances. I’d call that a good trade-off. I had to pull two stories this year (though it seems like more) because the market went under while my stories were under consideration.
Let’s drill down a bit and look at the actual stories I sent.
- Unique Stories: 33
- Reprints: 3
- Flash: 24
- Shorts: 9
- New for 2018: 18
I’ve sent 33 unique stories this year so far, nearly three-quarters of them flash fiction. Eighteen of the stories I wrote this year, though many of the older stories were heavily revised. Finally, I sent a few reprints, but they made up a very small percentage of my total submissions.
Now let’s look at the markets I submitted to:
- Unique Markets: 45
- Pro Markets: 27
- Semi-Pro Markets: 15
- Token/Free Markets: 3
I’ve submitted to a total of 45 markets in 2018. I’ve counted markets like The Arcanist or The Molotov Cocktail as one market, even though their regular submissions and contest submissions are listed separately in Duotrope and The Submission Grinder. As you can see, most of submissions when to pro and semi-pro markets, and that’s a trend I expect to continue from here on out.
Finally, this blog is called Rejectomancy, so let’s take a closer look at all my rejections for the year.
- Rejections: 72
- Form: 48
- Upper-Tier: 16
- Personal: 8
Lots of form rejections, which is no surprise, honestly, since I submitted primarily to professional markets. Some of those form rejections might be upper-tier rejections, but where I wasn’t certain I counted them as basic form rejections. The personal rejections this year were all from pro markets, and most of them provided me with very useful feedback.
That’s the skinny on my first 100 submissions for 2018. Of course, there’s still nearly three months left in the year, so I might end 2018 with something like 130 submissions. Here are some stretch goals I’d like to hit before 2019:
- 20 acceptances – I think I’ve got a reasonable chance at this. I’ve only had one month without an acceptance so far, and 20 acceptances would be a great way to end the year.
- 100 rejections – Yeah, I know, kind of a dubious goal, but, hey, great for branding, right? 🙂 I should hit this mark if my acceptance/rejection percentage remains where it is and I hit 130 submissions or so.