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Submissions: The Long Road

I've heard many expressions of disappointment, frustration, and sometimes despair about story rejections. As a veteran of many story rejections myself, I totally get it. But sometimes I think new writers (or maybe I should say newer writers, since I'm relatively new myself) have an unrealistic notion of how long it takes a story to finally get accepted and published.

Since I'm an obsessive keeper of records, I thought I'd share my own statistics. I gather that I'm reasonably successful for a writer at my level of experience, so these are the statistics of someone who is doing well. I thought I'd present them as a sort of reality check for other writers.

Year  Submissions      Acceptances
2007            2                         0
2008          72                         6
2009          71                         7
2010          73                         3
2011          65                         7
2012          54                         6
2013          28 (to date)            2 (to date)
TOTAL    365                       31

Types of stories accepted:
Science Fiction: 13
Fantasy: 6
Mainstream: 3
Slipstream: 2
Horror: 1
Crime: 1

Statistics for Stories Accepted:

Minimum:    1
Median:      3
Maximum:   7

Days between first and last drafts:
Minimum:      0
Median:     129
Maximum:  909

Number of submissions:
Minimum:     1
Median:       8
Maximum:   20

Days between first submission and eventual acceptance:
Minimum:         9
Median:        437
Maximum:   1,213

I almost never revise because of a rejection. I'll certainly do it for a rewrite request, but not otherwise. By the time I send a manuscript out, it's already been seen by beta readers (usually my writing group), and I've revised based on some of those comments. I don't see any point in revising it further, because I know how subjective matters of taste are. My typical assumption is that someone, somewhere, will find the story pleasing. I cannot tell you how many times the comments made in a personal rejection by an editor are almost the exact opposite of the comments made by the editor who ultimately accepted the piece.

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