Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Duotrope, I can quit anytime I want...

For those who don't know Duotrope, is a site designed for writers to find and research writing markets. They currently have 2,650 markets listed, many in genre fiction. For those that do know, you may also frequent www.ralan.com . I love Ralan's site and got my first few acceptances from markets I had found on Ralan. While I do love Ralan's site, I am not addicted to it. Of course, I'm not addicted to Duotrope either (coughs and breaks eye contact), I can quit anytime I want. I just don't want to.

What attracts me to Duotrope all hours of the day and night is the data. First, they are set up as a search engine. I can keep my search general and get all 2,500 markets, or I can refine my search so it will display only the pro pay markets for horror that take short stories and are offered in print, accept electronic submissions, and I can choose not to show markets that are temporarily closed. Booya baby!! Today there are 10 such markets and I can sort them alphabetically, by pay, average response time, or % of acceptance.

Now this is enough for me to swear undying loyalty to Duotrope, but that's not all the site offers. Oh no, not by half. I love data. I love spreadsheets and for a few years I tracked my submissions on a spreadsheet. Then a friend (or enabler??) told me about a feature on Duotrope called submissions tracker. By creating a profile (it is free), you can add stories to your list as you write them, then you can track who you submit to. By selecting a response option of "Pending", you can let the site keep track of your submissions for you. But wait, that's not all! The site tracks this data on the markets own page, so we can all see how many people (not names, just numbers) are pending (aka, waiting for an acceptance or rejection) and the average number of days they are waiting.

Duotrope keeps the last twelve months of data on each of the markets pages. Necrotic Tissue has had 339 reports in the last twelve months with an average response time of 15.1 days (not too shabby). It shows two pending, which means that two writers haven't updated their pending to either an acceptance or rejection, because we responded to everyone that submitted for July by August 15th. When a writer changes their status from Pending to Rejection, they can pick one of eight other options which include form or personal rejection.

There is a page that summarizes what they call "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", where they list the best and worst for response times and acceptance rates. Possibly my favorite feature is the "What's New?" page. It shows the newest markets added, which have recently opened or closed and has a detailed list of everyone that has used submissions tracker to reflect a rejection or acceptance. I could go on and on, because there is more, but I think I've made my point. My point was that I am, despite my denial, addicted to Duotrope, but with good reason. As a publisher and as a writer, it is a fantastic resource. It's also a great resource for fans. If you love reading and want to find a new magazine or book publisher, Duotrope is the site for you. Each market page has a link to the actual website so you can check them out in detail.

I noticed that Dark Faith Anthology hasn't sent out a response lately, and that my submission was sent 86 days ago. In that time, I have realized that the submission I sent needs some work. I have a bad habit of getting psyched about a stories premise and sending it off before it is polished. By clicking on the market's link, I see that it closes on November 1st. I'm hoping to get my rejection before then (I am assuming it's a rejection at this point, but you never know), so I can squeak in a more polished and perhaps more appropriate story before the deadline.

My goal is to only pull up Duotrope once a day, since the data does not update in real time (yet). Odds are it will look the same no matter how many times I obsessively open it on the same day. I do have five stories currently out there, so there's a lot to check. Really, I might have missed something. Got to go, I have something I need to do.



  1. You have managed to accurately describe the time-suck that is Duotrope. Although I think it is a worthwhile time-suck, most of the time.

    What did writers do before the internet? (my guess is that they were more productive, or they took frequent smoke breaks.)

  2. I would have commented earlier, but I was busy updating Duotrope. Sorry.

  3. I'm cured, I haven't checked Duotrope in hours... Erm..

  4. Yessir, you've hit the nail on the head about My Preciousss--I mean, Duotrope.

  5. I don't know what it is, but I rarely, if ever, use Duotrope and stick with Ralan or word of mouth. I have no idea why. Literally.

    As for submissions tracker, I have my little note book here. I've used it since I first started submitting. The little guy and me have been through a lot over the last 5 or 6 years. I'd be gutted if anything happened to him. It's my best piece of work: an epic tale of highs and lows, success and failures. There's also some bad guys in there (acceptances that then ceased to exist) and angels (the repaet acceptances! lol).

  6. There is no methadone for Duotrope, Daniel. It's best that if you have done without it this long to stay away. Even now, alone in my man cave, first thing in the morning, I can hear her seductive call.

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  8. oops I had a typo and didn't know how to edit after posting - so let's try this again.

    I too am a Duotrope junkie. If I miss a day without checking the "what's new" page, I feel off balanced. I've considered naming my pet Duotrope. I don't have children. Do you think Duotrope sounds like a girl's name or boy's?