Sunday, May 17, 2009

Comforting Statistical Analysis

Though I was mediocre in mathematics, I have a secret love for numbers. Since I embarked on writing short stories and publishing, I've compiled some statistics.

In two years of submitting short stories to dozens of journals, I've had ten stories published (This is not counting non-fiction, commercial articles and book reviews). That's an average of one publication every ten weeks, or roughly every seventy-three days. In terms of overall numbers, for every piece picked up for publication, I had to send it out to an average of 35 markets--markets meaning, distinct journals. It also took approximately 6.9 months for a single one of these stories to be selected. 

Numbers like this can make the reality comforting; I actually went for an entire year (2008) without a single acceptance (although several pieces appeared in 2008, having been accepted the year before), and had a string of three acceptances within a six week period this year. In fact, it actually may take more than a year for a story to be picked up. Some remain orphans.  

This doesn't account for those stories that were accepted multiple times; I admit this has happened more times than it should have, which either indicates I'm submitting too many or I'm not waiting long enough to find out if the story is going to be placed where I want it.

My point is that if you are writing and submitting your work, patience and persistence are key. I'll always stand on these factors: make it perfect, send it out, and don't wait or worry if it isn't picked up immediately. If you are diligent and your writing is strong, the story should (I'd rather say, will) find a home. 

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