2018 Review: Writing by the Numbers

Well, here we are with a brand new year, so I thought I’d look back at 2018 and talk a bit about how I did, writing-wise, in the last twelve months. This is gonna be one of those posts where I give you a whole bunch of numbers, so here we go!

Total Words Written: 153,842

This total ONLY includes projects I started and finished in 2018. This includes 1 novel, 1 novella, 1 Dungeons & Dragons adventure, and 17 short stories. Of the 17 short stories, I subbed 13, and 6 were accepted for publication. The novella will be published by Privateer Press this month. The novel, hopefully, will be published in 2019. The Dungeons & Dragons adventure was published by Goodman Games back in August.

Of course, I wrote a lot more than that. The number above doesn’t count stories I started in 2018 and haven’t finished yet or the stories (and novels) I started in 2017, worked on in 2018, and still haven’t finished. It also doesn’t count things like blog posts. If I had to guess what all that other writing would add up to, I’d guess it’d be another 100,000 words or so (96 blog posts is an easy 50k all by itself).

The Novel

I wrote a horror/urban fantasy novel called Late Risers in 2018, and I’ll turn over the “final” draft to my agent next week. I’ve been trying to get to that stage for months, revising and revising and revising, but now, finally, it’s almost ready. Anyway, here are the basic stats for the novel:

  • Word Count: 93,549
  • Time Spent Writing First Draft: 3.5 months
  • Time Spent Revising Draft(s): 6.5 months
  • Number of Revisions: 4

The word count might drop a little more once I finish this final round of revisions, but it’ll still be around 90,000 words. That’s a nice, comfortable 350ish-page novel. When I wrote the outline, that’s what I was aiming for, and I’m pleased that I pretty much nailed the length. It took me exactly 111 days to write the first draft. That wasn’t a continuous thing, though. I took about three weeks off to work on another project. The revision time includes about a month where my critique partners were reviewing the book.

The revision process went like this. After I finished the first draft, I immediately started the first revision. That revision was to fix all the huge, glaring issues I knew were there. When that was done, I sent the book to my critique partners. Once I had their notes in hand, I started the second revision, fixing the issue they called out. When I was done with that, I went back through again, fixing more issues that cropped up after some extensive rewrites. Now, in this fourth revision, I’m polishing the language as well as making minor continuity and character fixes. If this book goes anywhere, I have no doubt more revisions will be needed, but, hopefully, those will be suggestions from my publisher.

So, roughly a year of work on this novel, give or take a week or two, that will hopefully pay off in 2019.

Short Story Submissions

Okay, let’s get to the nitty-gritty here. Here are my stats for short story submissions in 2018.

  • Total Submissions: 120
  • Total Rejections: 100
  • Total Acceptances: 19

This is by far my best year for submissions, and I exceeded my yearly bests in submissions, rejections, and, most importantly, acceptances by a wide margin. I managed to crack some markets that had rejected me a bunch, and I got close with a few others.

Submission Details

  • Distinct Stories Submitted: 38
  • Flash Fiction Stories Submitted: 26
  • Short Stories Submitted: 12
  • Reprints Submitted: 7

I sent 38 distinct stories in 2018, 13 of which I wrote in the same year. I sent more than double the number of flash fiction stories over standard shorts, as I tend to write flash over shorts at about the same ratio. Finally, I sent seven reprints, two of which were accepted.

Market Details

  • Distinct Markets: 53
  • Pro Markets: 31
  • Semi-Pro: 19
  • Token/Free: 3

I sent stories to 56 distinct markets, most of them paying a pro rate. I also sent a fair number of submissions to semi-pro markets, but I limited my submissions to token and free markets in 2018. As usual, I used Duotrope’s definition of pro, semi-pro, and token/free pay scales.

Rejection Details

  • Standard Form Rejections: 67
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 18
  • Personal Rejections: 15

I submitted to a lot of pro markets, hence the large number of standard form rejections. That said, I did receive a good number of upper-tier and personal rejections. Since 100 rejections in a single year is kind of a big deal for me, I’ll break that all down further in another blog post. This here is just the basic stats.

Acceptance Details

  • Pro Acceptances: 6
  • Semi-Pro Acceptances: 5
  • Token/Free Acceptances: 8

More than half of my acceptances were of the paying variety, and more than half of those were paid at a pro rate. That’s not too bad, and, of course, I’d like to increase the number of paying publications. That said, I’ll continue to submit to some of my favorite token/free markets.

Free to Read Publications

Okay, if you’re so inclined, here are all the stories I published this year that are available to read online for free. You’ll note the number of publications and the number of acceptances don’t jive, that’s simply because some of the stories accepted in 2018 have yet to be published and some are not free to read online.

“The Food Bank” published by The Arcanist

“Simulacra” published by EllipsisZine

“Two Legs” published by The Molotov Cocktail

“The Inside People” published by EllipsisZine

“Do Me a Favor” published by The Arcanist

“The Last Scar” published by Trembling with Fear

“What Kind of Hero” published by EllipsisZine

“Bear Necessity” published by The Molotov Cocktail

“When the Lights Go On” published by The Arcanist 


And that was my 2018. Tell me about your year in the comments and/or link to a blog post with all the details.

5 thoughts on “2018 Review: Writing by the Numbers

  1. Thank you for sharing your stats. I just started submitting in late 2018 so I don’t have much to share but I am weirdly looking forward to accumulating some rejections. Good luck with 2019!

    Reply
  2. Wow, you had a great writing year. Love seeing the numbers and how prolific you are. I might be the odd one out, but I’m really motivated by prolific writers.

    Congratulations on all the acceptances and the rejections (you made it to 100!). I wrote about 270,000 words but hardly submitted anything. I intended to fix that in 2019 and send out more stuff.

    Reply
  3. Congrats on reaching the submissions/rejections goals! I managed at least 100 for each but don’t have nearly as many words written or acceptances. I need to work on both in 2019. Your blog posts serve as great motivation.

    Reply

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