Story Acceptances: 2020 vs 2019

Yesterday, I received my 15th story acceptance for 2020, which is one more than I received in 2019. That’s pretty cool, and I thought it might be fun (and even informative) to take a look at this year’s acceptances, compare them to last year’s, and see what, if anything, has changed. Okay, to the numbers!

Submissions

First, let’s just look at the raw submission numbers for the two years.

2020 2019
Submissions 77 76
Acceptances 15 14
Accpt % 22 18

So, I’ve sent roughly the same amount of submissions to this point in 2020 as I sent all of last year. My acceptance percentage is higher this year, though I’m not currently counting the eight pending subs in 2020’s number. It could go up, but will likely go down as responses for those subs come in. Also, I’ll definitely send more submissions in the next six weeks, exceeding 2019’s number by at least ten or so, which will also affect my acceptance percentage.

Story Lengths Accepted

Now let’s see what types of stories are getting accepted: microfiction, flash fiction, and short stories.

2020 2019
Microfiction 1 5
Flash Fiction 11 7
Short Stories 3 2

Okay, now you can start seeing some differences between the two years. I’ve simply sold more words of fiction in 2020 than I did in 2019. I’ve sold around 20,000 words this year compared to last year’s roughly 12,000 words. That’s an improvement.

Accepted Story Payment

Finally, let’s take a peek at what I’m getting paid for my work.

2020 2019
Free/Token 4 9
Semi-Pro 1 4
Pro 10 1

And now for the biggest difference between 2020 and 2019. This year, I got paid more for my work. Ten pro sales in 2020 compared to the single pro sale in 2019 constitutes the bulk of this difference, of course. That’s very good news, and it’s a trend I hope to see continue. Oh, and I’m defining “pro-payment” based on the SFWA and HWA definitions.


No matter which way you slice it, 2020 has been far and away a better year for me than 2019, submission-wise. Not only have I gotten more stories accepted, I’ve gotten them accepted by more paying markets. So why has this year been such an improvement over last? I have some ideas.

  1. I got better. I’m always trying to grow and improve as a writer, and the evidence suggests I may have done that in 2020. Some of the stories I sold were ones I failed to sell in 2019, revised, and then sold in 2020. I’ve also gotten closer with some bucket list markets than I have in years prior.
  2. More markets. A number of new pro-paying markets opened up in 2020, and I landed publications at a couple of them. Anytime you can take a whole new set of editorial preferences for a spin, you have another chance to find an editor who digs what you do. In other words, more paying markets to submit to means more chance of getting published at, uh, paying markets.
  3. Plain ol’ luck. As I’ve said countless time before, selling a story is some combination of right story + right market + right editor. A couple of the stories I sold in 2020 were widely rejected in 2019. I ended up selling them unchanged this year because I managed to find the right market/editor for them. If I’d started with those markets, my 2019 numbers might look better. 🙂

That’s my 2020 acceptances thus far, and I hope I can score a few more before the end of the year. My record is 19, so I’d need the next six weeks to be VERY good to beat that.

How’re your 2020 submissions and acceptances coming along? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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