2019 Writing Rearview Review

Well, it’s that time of year when writers the world over tell you all about the stuff they wrote and published for the prior year. So here I go! 🙂

Short Story Submissions

Okay let’s start off with short story submissions, rejections, and acceptances:

2019 2018 Difference
Submissions 81 120 -32%
Rejections 61 100 -39%
Acceptances 14 19 -26%
Accept % 17% 16% +1%
Publications 17 16 +6%

As you can see, my production in 2019 was down significantly from 2018. The only thing that increased were the number of publications and my actual acceptance percentage, which is good, though I can’t help but think if I’d had the same output in 2019 as I did in 2018, I might have 20+ acceptances for the year (or maybe just 20 more rejections).

So, why fewer submissions this year? Mostly because I was focusing on long-form fiction, a novel, and more specifically revising that novel, and it ate up a lot of time. Also, I didn’t write much new stuff, and the new stuff I did write was, well, harder to sell until I figured out where I should be sending it (that happened late in the year). The truth of the matter is that some of the old stories I’ve been shopping probably need to be retired, and I need a new crop of pieces for 2020.

Words, Words, Words

Okay, so the above is what I submitted, but how much did I actually write in 2019? Let’s have a look.

  • Written in 2019: 183,632 words
  • Published in 2019: 90,494 words
  • Written AND Published in 2019: 74,978 words

That total written number includes 54,745 words of blog posts, 12,455 words of microfiction, and 6,950 words of stories I began but did not finish (yet). The published numbers do NOT include blog or microfiction totals. I spent a lot of time revising my novel and a bunch of old stories, but it’s hard to quantify that in terms of words written. It feels like another 50,000 or so, but, hell, it could be 100,00 for all I know. Anyway, I stuck with the most easily quantifiable numbers.

Those numbers on a whole aren’t bad, but if you look a little deeper, there are some things I want to change for 2020. For example, of the words written and published in 2019, a measly 2,068 came from submitted short stories, the rest are the novel I wrote for Privateer Press. I simply did not write enough new material this year. Most of my short story publications came from material I wrote last year or the years before. I need to finish and write more new stories for 2020 and stop being lazy and trying to sell old stories that, well, aren’t selling.

There were 260 work days in 2019, and I average a bit over 700 words for each of those days. I’d like to get that up to 1,000 in 2020. That shouldn’t be too difficult, as I’m starting a new novel and revising another.

Goals for 2020

You gotta have goals heading into the new year, right? Well, here are the broad strokes of a few things I’d like to accomplish in 2020.

  1. Write and submit more short stories. Let’s say a solid 100 submissions and at least 20 new stories. This year, I’d also like to crack more pro markets. You know, markets like Fantasy & Science Fiction, or The Dark, or Nightmare, or any of a dozen others. That’s no small feat, and I know I’ll need to up my game, but I think I learned a thing or two in 2019 that might give me a fighting chance. We’ll see.
  2. Release at least one short story collection. I’ve been threatening to do this for years, and now that I have enough published pieces for a respectable page count, it’s time to pull the trigger. Gonna shoot for first quarter, but I won’t hate myself too much if it’s second quarter.
  3. Write a new novel and revise the one I have. I spent a lot of time last year revising my novel Late Risers, but it’s still not where it needs to be, so I’m taking a short break from it and I’m writing another novel, something more inline with what I normally write, more me. That’s not to say that Late Risers isn’t me, just that it’s more experimental, and I struggled with it in places. So the goal is to write the new novel in the first quarter of the year and return to Late Risers after that. It generally takes me about two to three months to bang out a first draft of a novel, so this should be an achievable goal.
  4. Redesign Rejectomancy. The blog needs a fresh coat of paint and slight refocus in 2020. Don’t worry; it’ll still be chocked full of rejections and advice about rejections and all that jazz, but you might have to endure a few more shameless plugs of *gasp* my own writing. 🙂

And that’s my rambling review of 2019. How was your year? Tell me about it in the comments.

7 thoughts on “2019 Writing Rearview Review

  1. This is from The Grinder (so without poetry or nonfiction, which I write little of and track in Duotrope):
    Submissions: 167
    Pending: 14
    Acceptances: 25
    Rejections: 114 (91 form; 23 personal)
    Withdrawals: 14

    Incidentally, the first letters spell WRAPS in reverse. 🙂

    Acceptance rate:

    A/S=15% or 1 in 6.68

    If I correct subs for withdrawals and currently pending, as I’ve got a fair number of each, it’s more like

    A/(A+R)=25/(25+114)=18% or 1 in 5.56.

    My best speculative stories get 10-20 noes before publication as I persist with selective markets for them; I have one story with 30+ noes and a ton of holds that I am still shopping around. In contrast, drabbles are often taken right away, without rejections, and much of my lit fic is published with <5 noes.

    Reply
      • Thanks! Tbh, it doesn’t feel that great. I feel like a lot of time and energy went into submitting (figiring out where to send what, etc.) and not enough into writing. Mostly I feel exhausted by the whole submission business. While one individual rejection isn’t a big deal, the compound effect of a few hundred slaps is grumpiness.

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