The Complete Picture: Nine Years of Submissions

Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows how much I love stats. From rejections numbers to acceptance percentages, I enjoy diving into the data to see how much I’ve progressed as a writer over the years. Now, normally, I pull these numbers from Duotrope by running Excel reports, doing a little math, and then pulling important data that I often share. Well, Duotrope has a new (I think?) feature that gives you all the basic submissions stats by year, and when I ran it, I realized some of my math has been a little off here and there. 🙂 Not by a lot, but by enough that I’d like to share my true yearly numbers in this post, so here they are.

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Submissions 6 16 38 46 53 74 120 76 87
Acceptance Percentage 0.0% 0.0% 13.2% 11.1% 18.9% 6.0% 15.4% 14.1% 21.6%
Rejection Percentage 66.7% 85.7% 81.6% 84.4% 79.2% 89.6% 81.3% 83.3% 77.3%
Non-Response Percentage 33.3% 14.3% 5.3% 4.4% 1.9% 4.5% 3.3% 2.6% 1.1%
Accept-to-Reject Ratio 0.0% 0.0% 13.9% 11.6% 19.2% 6.3% 16.0% 14.5% 21.8%

First, some definitions (as I understand them). Submissions is, obviously, the number of submissions I sent in each year. The acceptance percentage is derived from the total number of all submissions, same goes for rejection percentage. Non-response percentage is the number of subs that never responded or were withdrawn. Finally, acceptance-to-rejection ratio is the acceptance percentage with the non-responses removed. The last number is usually how I figure acceptance percentage, but some folks might prefer that number be derived from every submission, even ones that were withdrawn. The only number that is likely to be a bit off here is the number of submissions. That’s because I occasionally submit to markets that are not on Duotrope. Still that accounts for maybe three or four submissions total over the last nine years.

It was really interesting to go back and look at the last nine years of submissions to see how I’ve progressed. I didn’t get serious about submitting my work until 2014, and then things more or less improved each year (either I sent more subs or I got more accepted). Except for the blip in 2017–that was a really strange year–my acceptance percentage has been over ten percent, and in the last three years it’s been closer to fifteen percent. Though I fell short of my 100-submission goal in 2020, the acceptance percentage last year was the real achievement. Twenty-one percent is a great number, and I’d certainly like to repeat it in 2021.

Now lets look at my averages over the last nine years.

2012-2020 2014-2020
Submissions 57 71
Acceptance Percentage 11.1% 14.3%
Rejection Percentage 81.0% 82.4%
Non-Response Percentage 7.9% 3.3%
Accept-to-Reject Ratio 11.5% 14.8%

The first set of averages is my true nine-year average. It’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of, and all the numbers are respectable enough. The second set, which I consider a truer picture of my submission efforts, starts in 2014 when I got more serious about my writing and my submissions. Those numbers, I believe, are more in line with the writer I am today, but I wanted to present both sets to give as transparent a picture as possible.

So there you have it, the most accurate picture I can paint of my submissions efforts in the last decade. Interesting stuff.

If you use Duotrope and have not discovered this feature yet, here’s how you find it. From the Duotrope home page, click Your Control Panel. About a third of the way down the page, you’ll see this link: See full report of my Submission Statistics. Click it and run reports to your heart’s content. I realize this may be old news to some folks, but I sure as hell missed it for quite some time. 😉

Anyway, if you’d like to share any of your numbers, I’d love to see them in the comments.

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