It’s that time of year again when I look back at my writing hits and misses for the year. I’ve been doing these roundups the past couple of years, and you can find last year’s report here. I think that if you accomplished any tiny goal in 2020 then you should count that as a huge win, because it has definitely been a year.
Despite it being such a strange year, I did achieve one of my super long-term goals this year of signing a book contract. Did not exactly have writing said book during a global pandemic on my vision board, but I’ll take what I can get.
Because of the global pandemic and the fact that I shifted to focus on the book mid-year, I haven’t done as much freelancing or reading as I thought I might, but that’s okay. I still got some writing in and actually finished some things!
Here are pitching/submitting stats for 2020:
- Number of pitches/submissions sent: 49
- Number of rejections: 25
- Number of non-responses (which is really just another type of rejection): 13
- Number of acceptances: 11
- Acceptance rate: 22%
As I’ve said in the past, the acceptance rate is a little arbitrary because I could be submitting to reach pubs or more likely to publish me pubs, and I typically do a mix of both. Last year it looks like I was at 24%, but it’s a variable number.
A few other fun facts:
- Most rejections from a single pub: 8 (McSweeney’s for the win).
- Runners up: New York Times with 5 rejections and New Yorker Shouts with 3 rejections.
- Most rejections for a single piece before an acceptance this year: 6
At one point right before the worst of the pandemic hit, I told myself I would try to post to Medium once a month. Then I was remote schooling two kids and remote teaching and basically threw in the towel on that one. I did publish a few pieces there though (in Slackjaw, Frazzled, The Haven, and Epilogue) and made a little bit of money through the partner program.
My most viewed Medium piece this year was this one with 2.2K views. My most popular Medium piece of all time (I think mostly thanks to SEO) is this one about humor writing markets that currently has 38k views and counting and has made $228, but my lowest earning pieces on the site have made less than $3, so take that with a grain of salt.
How I did on my 2020 goals:
- I wanted to submit/pitch 50 times, and I hit 49, which I’m going to call close enough for 2020.
- I had a list of 8 different pubs I wanted to pitch this year and I pitched 5 of them. The remaining 3 were travel pubs and well, this was a tough year for travel writing.
- I wanted to revise some existing picture book ideas and work on 2 new ones. I did the revising but stalled out on new ones. I just haven’t been in the headspace, but I’m hoping to get back to it in 2021.
- New York Times was once again my goal pub to break into for the year (my perennial favorite) and I did not manage to crack them. I did submit a few times though, and in the end that’s all I can really control.
- I co-wrote two McSweeney’s pieces this year that both made it to the trending list for a bit and were shared by the Cup of Joe blog. “Living Through a Pandemic or Potty Training a Toddler” and “Would-You-Rathers for Parents During Quarantine.”
- I had a humor piece appear in the February print issue of Real Simple magazine. Unfortunately, they have since stopped running their humor column there.
- I had one piece about National Novel Writing month appear in New Yorker Daily Shouts.
- In addition to the pieces at Medium and other places listed above, I also had pieces run in Parents digital, Oh Reader, the Submittable blog, the Brevity blog, Weekly Humorist, and Mockmom. You can find them here.
- I’m going to aim for 50 submissions again. I feel like a lot of my writing time this year is probably going to be in support of my upcoming book and that will include some freelance pieces, but I’m not totally sure how that will shake out, so I am just going to aim for the same goal. On to 2021!