Stats: Submissions, Rejections, Acceptances, and Notes from my writing career to date

My amazing writer’s group* has been comparing the number of rejections we’ve all had in the last few years. Rejections are a measure of success because they mean you’ve been submitting your work, giving it a chance to be sold. Other folks in the group have 200, 300+ rejections, which means they’re submitting over a hundred times a year.

I haven’t submitted 100 stories in my lifetime.

I went over my notes from 2010 to now, and compiled my stats:

I have submitted 37 pieces (1 essay, 1 poem, and 35 fiction submissions) so far.

Sold/placed 24, had 13 rejections.

The rejections represent 9 pieces I haven’t yet been able to place (including a couple that I’ve trunked now). Of these, two ended up in my collection, so I’ve sold them that way, but they weren’t accepted by someone else.

4 personal rejections, 5 form, 3 maybe-form rejections, one “market closed while my piece was on sub”.

Of the sales, one was a reprint, a couple were micro-fiction, one was a pro-rate story (“Call Center Blues” to DSF)**, one was non-speculative noir. Three were for invite-only anthologies, and one of those was the essay. Less than 1/2 of the paying sales were for flash, which surprised me; I always thought of myself as more successful with flash, and it’s true that I’ve sold nearly all of it that I’ve written, but I’ve made more sales overall of longer pieces (for $) which means I must be writing more short stories than I thought.

This doesn’t count all of the non-paying non-fiction work I’ve done: guest essays, podcasts, blog posts, and my columns for Functional Nerds and SF Signal. Those weren’t things that were really going to be rejected, and other than building my resume/fan base, they don’t help my fiction career.

On the upside, my acceptance rate is pretty high, but that’s because I carefully research my markets, very selectively submit, and haven’t been subbing to many pro-markets. I didn’t aim low but I didn’t aim too high, either. I’ve started to change that this year, with my first submission of the year to Clarkesworld Magazine (and my first rejection, from them, 48 hours later).

As I get more out, I know my enviable ratio is going to drop like a stone. That’s the price of moving forward, and I’m willing to pay it if it means a more successful 2014.

* which includes Julie Day, Michael J. DeLucaAdam MillsDon PizarroAngela Still, and Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam. Aren’t I lucky?

**  which made me eligible for the Campbell in 2012 and 2013, but I never felt I’d sold enough to warrant publicizing myself as such, and I’ve now expired out.

Pay what You Want Ebook Bundle: Women and Other Constructs (32 hour sale)

Part of my goal in self-publishing my short fiction collection, Women and Other Constructs, was to gather information about what sells, at what price, and so on. Already I’ve learned to offer PDFs of the book, and I’ve created an online shop to make buying easier… so, let’s try an experiment:

WomencoverebookSMALL

From now until 12 am, EST, July 5th, I’m running a sale. You can buy the ebook bundle of my book–which includes ePub, mobi, and PDF–and you can decide how much to pay for it. When you’re ready to check out, the screen suggests $3.99 (what I think it’s worth) but you can change that to any number you like. More than $3.99? Sure. Less? Okay.

Nothing at all? That’s fine, too. If you think it’s worth nothing, read it for free.

But hurry… time is running out. You’ve got less than 32 hours now.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE EBOOK BUNDLE

#SFWApro

A Podcast, Some Advice, and a Story (new places to find me online)

I’m going to skip my usual “things I did last month” roundup because I’ve actually talked about most of them (sick, Readercon, IN SITU, temp job, etc). I’m hard at work getting FISH finished up, and  other Dagan Books business like con planning, advertising, hiring, accounting and so on. It’s quickly becoming an actual 40-hour a week job (the weeks I can keep it to only 40 hours) and perhaps in another year or so it will start doing nifty things like paying me.

We’re not there yet. In the meantime I’ve done a couple of non-Dagan Books things I’d like to share:

  • Last week I was on an episode of the Hugo award nominated podcast at SF Signal, “Readercon, Harassment and Making Positive Changes” with Stina Leicht, Mur Lafferty, Jaym Gates and Patrick Hester. It’s not the only podcast to have covered the topic or even the recent incident at Readercon, but it’s part of the ongoing conversation. I think we said some good things. You can listen to it here: Episode 143
  • My most recent Tech Nerd column is up at Functional Nerds: “Ten FREE Apps That Make My iPhone a Mobile Office
  • Mrs. Henderson’s Cemetery Dance” was published by Red Penny Papers in their Summer 2012 issue. Click on the link to read it for free.
  • “No Hand to Turn the Key” (my clockwork erotica/librarian story) sold to the STEAMPUNK CTHULHU anthology forthcoming from Chaosium. I’ll post more details once I have them, but for now, check out the cover by Daniele Serra:

A Story and Two Podcasts (online now)

Right now you can find me in a few different places:

Monsters, Monsters, Everywhere” is now available to read (free!) online at Crossed Genres in Issue #34 (MONSTERS), out October 1, 2011.

And SF Signal has graciously let me take part in their last two podcasts:

SF Signal #82, Science Fiction Movies, with Lisa Paitz Spindler, Scott Cupp, Derek Johnson, Jessica Strider, and Patrick Hester.  (posted Oct 3, 2011)

SF Signal #80, Near-Future Science Fiction, with Jeff Patterson, Fred Kiesche, John Stevens and Patrick Hester (posted Sep 26, 2011)

I won’t be on the SF Signal podcasts every week but I should be in one or two a month for the foreseeable future, and thanks for listening!

New Sale! Details and an Update

I am thrilled to announce that my most recent sale is to Crossed Genres magazine. My story, “Monsters, Monsters, Everywhere”, was written specifically for their upcoming monster-themed issue, so it’s great that they liked it enough to accept it. I don’t often write stories to meet a certain themed magazine issue or anthology, and Crossed Genres is a market I’d been hoping to get into since I met the editors at Readercon this year. In addition to having beautiful covers, the magazine has also featured writers I admire, like Don Pizarro, Wendy Wagner, Barbara Krasnof and Camille Alexa, to name a few (links go to their CG stories online).

Maybe the next time Crossed Genres has a reading, I’ll get to be a part of it.

The issue comes out October 1, 2011, and I’ll post links once it’s available to purchase.

Also, my story “Call Center Blues”, sold in July to Daily Science Fiction, is tentatively slated to be published the first week of November.