I keep track of my submission, acceptances and rejections monthly and annually. I like to see what parts of the year I am slow and prepare for that. I also like to see if I’m getting better at sending the right submissions to the right publications or if I’m still sending stuff wildly into the unknown.
I love to color code my charts using the Pantone colors of the year.
Here’s a look at my 2016 activity in terms of submissions.
I had the most submissions in February and March, but it’s clear my best months for acceptances were May and October. What isn’t highlighted by this simple numerical record is my selection as Pen Parentis Fellow in August. If I could put a big star by that one acceptance, I would!
Another highlight this chart doesn’t show is that all four acceptances in October were actually assignments, not responses to queries. That’s a great sign that editors look to me for work, instead of me constantly pitching them.
Another big improvement is my overall acceptance rate. In previous years, I had 6.3, 8.8 and 10.8 percent acceptance rates. A 14.6 percent acceptance rate is a definite improvement. I think that indicates a greater knowledge of what certain publications want.
Things are starting off just a touch higher than last year. I feel very satisfied with this rate, especially when I look back at my submissions rate from past years.
Do I have a monthly submissions goal?
Yes, but I won’t freak out if I don’t meet it. I’d love to send out 10 pieces a month. I think that shows I’m an active writer. Yes, a writer is someone who writes everyday, but I’m also a business owner and I want paychecks and clips. I know it’s not always going to be possible to submit more than 10 pieces a month, but I need a goal.
This tracker also doesn’t include contracts that involve writing but aren’t exactly submissions with acceptance or rejections. I have some assignments coming through Upwork that are based on contract proposals, not story ideas, so I’m not tracking them here. I also have contracts that involve editing but not a lot of writing and I’m not counting them here, either.
In some ways, these charts are just ways to prove “I’m busy.” But they are always ways to boost my confidence and encourage me to keep working.
Do you track your submissions and rate of acceptance?
Have you noticed an improvement?