I love this post that Lola Akinmade Åkerström put together breaking down her stats for freelancing in 2015, and was inspired to write my own version of a year end writing review.
I started writing and submitting again in the summer of 2015 after a long break from it after I had my first son in 2011. I had tried submitting a little here and there in the intervening years, but hadn’t really made much of an effort.
The break seemed to help on a lot of levels. I looked at some essays I had written previously with fresh eyes — some I weren’t interested in anymore and others I still really liked and wanted to revise and submit.
Also, the amount of online markets to submit to and resources for submitting has increased dramatically. Resources I found like Beyond Your Blog and the corresponding podcasts and Facebook group have helped so much with submitting leads, tips, and a supportive community of writers.
I submitted to a wide range of markets in 2015 — lit magazines, print magazines, and websites. I did some pitching and a fair amount of submitting on spec since the latter is more common with essay and humor writing.
So here is my Harper’s Index type year in review of my 2015 writing stats:
Date of first submission for the year: May 11, 1015
Last time I had submitted a piece of writing prior to 2015: July 24, 2013
Date of first rejection this year: May 21, 2015
Date of first acceptance: June 18, 2015
Longest it took an editor to get back to me with interest in a pitch: 2 1/2 months
Total pieces published (or accepted and yet to run): 16
Total new markets published in: 10
Total pitches sent: 12
Pitches rejected: 6
Pitches never responded to: 1
Pitches still reasonably waiting on a response on: 2
Pitches accepted: 3
Percentage pitches accepted (total minus 2 still “reasonably waiting”): 30%
Total spec submissions: 87
Spec rejected: 43
Spec I withdrew: 9
Spec never responded to: 20
Spec submitted and still reasonably waiting for response: 2
Spec accepted: 13
Percentage spec accepted (total minus withdrawn and reasonably still waiting): 17%
So looking at the basic numbers, it seems like I’m having better luck with pitching percentage-wise. But some of these spec submission numbers are for lit magazines which I typically simultaneously submit to so that’s why the numbers are so high (and why the withdraw rate is high when something gets accepted).
I also write a lot of short satire pieces that often require spec submissions and often get rejected or accepted at shockingly fast rates, so that ups the numbers in the spec department.
Overall, I was really happy with the work I got out there in 2015. I published in some markets that had been on my wish list and in some new formats I wanted to branch out into.