I like reading other writers’ submission stats, so I started tracking mine last year when I started submitting more regularly again.
Last year I only submitted for the second half of the year, but this year I had a full year’s worth of numbers to look at. I freelance as a side gig, but I still got a fair amount out there this year.
Pitches/Submissions sent: 96
Straight-up rejections: 40
Black hole (no response, which is probably a no, but maybe they are just holding my pitch, trying to convince the powers that be to give me large amounts of money?): 28
Still waiting on responses: 3
Pieces assigned to me: 4
Total pieces actually published this year: 27 (Some of these were from pitches sent in 2015, and some accepted pieces in 2016 haven’t run yet, but you get the picture).
So assuming the black holes are actually rejections, that means I had an acceptance rate of 27%. Last year my acceptance rate was 19%, so it seems to be increasing, but there are so many factors that affect the rate — what you submit, where you submit, the alignment of the stars, etc. — that the rate seems somewhat arbitrary.
* I broke into some markets I had my eye on this year including Parents, AFAR, and Marie Claire.
* I wrote several humor pieces — 13 of the 27 published pieces were supposed to be for laughs. These included a Quiz (which taught me an important lesson — people don’t like trick questions), a Harper’s Index type list, and some conceptual humor pieces.
*I had set a goal for 3 new markets and I ended up publishing in 13.
I failed to meet the 2016 goal of a New York Times byline and continued to get rejected by New Yorker Shouts. I also had wanted to do more research-based writing, but I find it really hard to fit in during my free hours of the day, so the quick hit pieces seem more plausible for me now. And I’m okay with that.
Rather than focusing on byline goals, I am trying to set submission goals since I can control what I submit, but not what they accept! Some markets on my submit list this year include NYT, New Yorker Shouts, The Cut, and Atlantic. Should be really easy, right?
I also want to work on/learn how to do more humor pieces with graphic or illustration elements. Since my artistic skills are pretty much nonexistent, this should be an interesting challenge.
I’m sure I will continue to accrue rejections or complete silence, but so it goes. Onward.