Sunday, January 6, 2013

Never Tell Me The Odds.

One thing to always remember about odds is that they only pertain to chance - and generally only when all outcomes are equally possible.

When a writer looks at Duotrope (sigh...) and its acceptance rates, it's important to remember this. An acceptance rate of  .25 does not mean you have a one in 400 chance of selling to that market. That would presume that all submissions are of an equal standard. From what I've been told, as much as 90% of submissions are rejected before the end of the first page. Most editors can reject a story after reading only a paragraph or two.

I still find it hard to believe, but I've been told that one SF market (and I'm sure this is true of most markets) receives submissions of all sorts; non-fiction, articles, poetry and even recipes/cookbooks. Don't people read guidelines?

And so the odds are actually much lower than advertised, once you reach a certain standard. But even then it's not a random selection. It comes down to competing with the other submissions regarding quality of writing, editorial tastes, themes, differences to other recently accepted stories, word length and even whether you have a recognised name.

It's not a crap shoot. The odds don't matter.

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