Time for a confession. I am addicted to both sites.
Here’s the thing. I don’t need either of these sites. I have a doc (not even a spreadsheet) where I note down which pieces have gone to which markets and when. I started it when I first began to send out stories, and I still use it. Because of this doc, I’ve managed not to send something back to someone whose seen it before, so yay, success. Having a redundant tracking mechanism is nice, but it’s not necessary. More useful is the ability to run searches on either site, looking for markets. But I can also do that on Ralan, and I get new market info from Locus and Codex and other places. Still, that’s certainly a convenient function. But its not the reason I’m addicted.
That comes from both sites user generated data. Specifically, what the average response times are for various markets, and when they’re active. Send something in to Lightspeed or Clarkesworld, you know you’ll hear back fast. But Asimov’s or Crossed Genres or Tor? Well, the wait’s going to be longer. A month, two, three, more? You can check. See what the average is, and see how they’re doing lately. Take Tor. They used to have GIANT waiting periods. So their average is huge. But they’ve gotten some first readers now, and they’re moving faster, which you can see in their latest reports (90 days? Like lightning! Not really, but much better)
This means I can now be an informed fretter! Hey, I was supposed to get a rejection from that market today. And I didn’t! That must mean…
Yeah, that’s the problem. What’s that mean? The first reader passed it up to an editor? They’re going to buy it? They’re all at a con? Hurricane? It fell behind a desk- no, it’s mostly email now-it fell into their junk folder? Who knows? Who cares? I get to now think that something might be up. The submission is in the box! It might be alive! It might be dead! It doesn’t matter a bit!
And it really doesn’t. The story will bounce or get bought irregardless of how many times I go to these sites.
But I still go.
They’re good sites. Check them out. Just be careful. Because while it can sometimes seem like it’s more fun to obsess about what the hell is happening to what you have written then it is to write, down that path lies failure and madness and the temptation to argue with rejection letters.
Track, but track responsibly.