It’s finals week, and I have a couple more papers to turn in before I finish the marathon of academic writing that has been my first term back in school. That’s one down and two to go before I have enough credits for my English Language Arts endorsement and can enroll in the Masters in Teaching program.
For the next three weeks, however, I plan to spend some time on my fiction writing. I got a jumpstart on it this weekend by querying Tor.com about the status of “Relvan’s Rescue,” which I submitted back in April. I queried once already, in September, to ask if they still had it or if it had gotten lost in the transition to their new (at the time) submission process. Editor Liz Gorinsky confirmed “We still have it,” but now I’d like to know if it’s stuck in the slush pile, ready for rejection, or awaiting acceptance. Here’s hoping it’s option number three.
In the process of researching estimated response times for the market, I stumbled across a mention of Duotrope’s Digest. I’ve used Ralan and StoryPilot as my primary market listing tools in the past, and never bothered to investigate what other options existed out on the Internets.
Duotrope has been around since 2006, so it’s not exactly new, just new to me. What attracted me to the site, and got me to register, were the tools offered in addition to the market listings, but let’s start with the listings. Ralan was the first online market listing I was ever aware of and used. It’s a simple site with alphabetically listings of markets organized into categories by pay rate. The structure of the site requires a lot of scrolling and reading to find appropriate markets, much like using a print edition of The Writer’s Market. When a fellow author told me about StoryPilot, with its robust search engine, I thought I’d found the holy grail of market listings.
The market search on Duotrope is not quite as robust, but it includes all the important parameters. There is a form for fiction and another for poetry. One big difference is that Duotrope covers a wider variety of genres (StoryPilot is Sci-Fi and Fantasy only). Then there are your standard search parameters like pay rate and length.
My favorite feature of Duotrope, though, is its submission tracker. You add a submission, selecting its genre, length, and title. Then you identify the market it was submitted to, the date, dates of any responses, and what the response was. Duotrope compares this data to averages calculated from other submissions and from the market’s estimated response time as reported by the market editors/publishers. Your information is kept private, but Duotrope does offer a variety of reports based on the data, and you can export your submission data into Excel. I added “Relvan’s Rescue” and the four markets I’ve submitted it to in the last 18 months. No more need to search my Inbox for confirmation and dates of what markets I’ve sent to and whose already rejected my submission.
Another nifty little feature that Duotrope includes are a variety of RSS feeds for tracking market deadlines, updates and additions to markets, and even responses from favorite markets as reported by Duotrope members. Some of these feeds can be customized, and some of them are in “beta,” which means their functionality may be limited. I noticed that my favorites RSS was only reporting the first market alphabetically.
I know of one other website that combines market listings with a submission tracker, but it is entirely community-driven (writers submit and manage the market listings). Duotrope “is run by very small admin team…comprised of a few published writers and former editors, and is not affiliated with any outside businesses or organizations,” as it states on their FAQ. That gives me confidence in the accuracy and timeliness of their information, and makes Duotrope’s Digest my new home for market listings and submission tracking.