Fun with Submissions Trackers

I enjoy reading Jamie Todd Rubin’s blog posts about writing. We’re similar in a lot of ways (like tracking writing) and very different in others.

His recent post covers, among other things, why he doesn’t use submission-tracking services or track response times.

I do log my submissions in my own tracker, but I also log them on The (Submission) Grinder. I log them twice because my system is my real record, and logging on the Grinder contributes data that others can use.

While it’s true that even without this, I would know not to query about the story that’s been out for a week, and I really should query about the one that’s been at a market for three times the average, the useful thing I get out of the Grinder is what the market’s real average response time is. Some places don’t give an estimated response time. Others…well, one market claims 60 days and their current calculated average is twice that. Without the data, querying at 90 days would seem reasonable.

But who cares? Stories come back when they come back, right? Suppose you have five stories. Three are currently on submission. Two are brand-new and can be sent anywhere. Your two favorite markets have response times of one week and six months. And there’s a really cool anthology call with a deadline in two weeks, another deadline in a month, and a magazine that’s only open for one week every quarter.

Knowing how long your three stories are likely to be out–the real number, not the editor’s ideal–can help you decide which story to send where. You might not want to tie up a story at the six-month market if it means you’ll miss another opportunity.

Or you might argue that you’ll send stories to whatever’s available whenever, because the few minutes it takes to think about this could better be spent writing. I won’t force you to use the Submission Grinder. Even if I want your data.

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