Thursday, October 21, 2010

Numbers, Pt. 2

The other day, after my horrid "numbers" thought, I had a nasty attack of shoulder vultures.  I mean, with those kind of numbers, why even try?   I sulked a while, had some chocolate then sucked it up and got back to writing. (Yesterday was good day for sulking...I had to be in the car most of the day.)

Thing is, my numbers aren't "quite" correct and I want to thank Timothy for reminding me of something.

This is part of Timothy's comment...

I've spent the bulk of my career as a publisher's book editor. I reviewed over 20,000 proposals. Most of these had a good idea buried somewhere in a fair or poorly written document. 80% of what I received did not make it past the initial review.

I've heard this before.  I've even heard it's about 90%, depending on the publication.  So, let's look at those numbers from the other day again.

Let's say they get 100 submissions a month but only 10-20 are decent.  But you know what...they only need 15 for that  month's issue.  That makes the chances of getting in a lot better.  Sure they hold things over from month to month but when you get rid of the chaff, the numbers aren't so bad.

And, I don't know for sure but I'd bet out of those 10-20, only 5 or 6 pieces really, really shine. 
Now let's look at the high end of the numbers, 500 submissions a month.  At 80%, 400 of them won't make the first cut and at 90%, 450 won't.  That only leaves 50-100 submissions.  And let's say only about 20 really sparkle and shine. 

Things still don't look so bad.  And that's why it's so important to do your part.  Again, study your target market, know what they publish.  Write the best story you can.  Get reader feedback, polish and shine your submission until it sparkles. Follow those submission guidelines.

Publication can and will happen. :-)


Anonymous said...

FYI, Blog Jog Day will be November 21 if you're interested again. Last year was great! You can sign-up at

Sandra said...

A wonderfully encouraging blog, Jean! And really, you have no chance at all if you aren't sending things out - which is reminding me that it's been a long time since I've sent out a story. I need to get to work with my polishing compound!