What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets?

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What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets?

Postby Jason Parker » Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:34 pm

I guess you'd call it a conversion rate. At least in direct marketing you would...

The markets I'm submitting to accept between half a percent and a percent of submitted stories. As a writer, what is a good conversion rate? Three percent of your submissions accepted? Ten percent? I don't mean three or ten percent of stories accepted, but submissions.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby morshana » Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:53 pm

Jason Parker wrote:I guess you'd call it a conversion rate. At least in direct marketing you would...

The markets I'm submitting to accept between half a percent and a percent of submitted stories. As a writer, what is a good conversion rate? Three percent of your submissions accepted? Ten percent? I don't mean three or ten percent of stories accepted, but submissions.


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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Jason Parker » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:13 pm

morshana wrote:
Jason Parker wrote:I guess you'd call it a conversion rate. At least in direct marketing you would...

The markets I'm submitting to accept between half a percent and a percent of submitted stories. As a writer, what is a good conversion rate? Three percent of your submissions accepted? Ten percent? I don't mean three or ten percent of stories accepted, but submissions.


1.5 % wotf019


That actually sounds about right for my past submissions to non paying markets at New Pages. I thought I was doing horribly. Guess it was about average. I only just now started submitting to paying markets using the grinder. We will see!
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby MattDovey » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:19 pm

I'm currently at 6.06%. I have seen other writers with significantly higher sub counts come down around the same mark, between 4 and 6%.

That's over 132 lifetime subs (excluding those still pending). Over the first 100, it was 4%. Over the first 50, it was 2%.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Jason Parker » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:46 am

MattDovey wrote:I'm currently at 6.06%. I have seen other writers with significantly higher sub counts come down around the same mark, between 4 and 6%.

That's over 132 lifetime subs (excluding those still pending). Over the first 100, it was 4%. Over the first 50, it was 2%.


Good to know.

This stuff should be common knowledge in every writing book. There's no telling how many writers have quit, thinking they suck because they have a "measly" 2% conversion rate.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby amoskalik » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:08 am

I do not have proof of this, but suspect this to be true. Two things help your submission. One, having some previous creds in your cover letter (this guy's stories can't be too bad, so and so bought one) and two, submitting to that market before (This is the fifth story from this guy this year. He's a dependable writer and his other stories weren't too bad even though they didn't fit. I'll give this one a chance).

That would explain why acceptance rates go up over time anyway.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby morshana » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:19 am

amoskalik wrote:I do not have proof of this, but suspect this to be true. Two things help your submission. One, having some previous creds in your cover letter (this guy's stories can't be too bad, so and so bought one) and two, submitting to that market before (This is the fifth story from this guy this year. He's a dependable writer and his other stories weren't too bad even though they didn't fit. I'll give this one a chance).

That would explain why acceptance rates go up over time anyway.


Also, our writing hopefully improves with practice. wotf007
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Jason Parker » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:23 am

amoskalik wrote:I do not have proof of this, but suspect this to be true. Two things help your submission. One, having some previous creds in your cover letter (this guy's stories can't be too bad, so and so bought one) and two, submitting to that market before (This is the fifth story from this guy this year. He's a dependable writer and his other stories weren't too bad even though they didn't fit. I'll give this one a chance).

That would explain why acceptance rates go up over time anyway.


Could be a case of persistence melting resistance.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby MattDovey » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:22 pm

amoskalik wrote:I do not have proof of this, but suspect this to be true. Two things help your submission. One, having some previous creds in your cover letter (this guy's stories can't be too bad, so and so bought one) and two, submitting to that market before (This is the fifth story from this guy this year. He's a dependable writer and his other stories weren't too bad even though they didn't fit. I'll give this one a chance).

That would explain why acceptance rates go up over time anyway.


TBH I think it's just getting better at writing the more you do. I know a number of markets don't even read the cover letter until after they've read the submission, and anonymous submissions are becoming more common (FFO, Escape Pod, Diabolical Plots...).

Look at it from the other angle: an editor isn't going to buy a story just because you've sent five others this year, or to keep up with the Joneses and publish you because Market X did. They're only going to buy a story that's good enough and fits them. And I wouldn't want it any other way--I want to earn my sales, not have them out of pity wotf011

In other words, and to paraphrase Dory: just keep writing, just keep writing... and you will get better, and you will start to get sales.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby LaurieG » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:25 am

I truly think it's all of the above, except anonymous subs. I've heard several editors ( Stan Schmidt, Ginger Buchanan, Dean Wesley Smith and others) say good covers and persistent submissions might edge a story over other submissions. But as Matt says, it still has to be a good story, so quality trumps all.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Jason Parker » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:27 am

I sort of agree with all of you. Pre-framing and persistence work in salesmanship, but the product must also be so good that it can't be ignored.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby george nik. » Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:12 am

I've been through this before, but here is my ratio(s) again:

2012-2013 1.09%
2014-2015 2.29%
2016 so far 5.71%, and I hope I'll make 300 submissions by the year's end.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby morshana » Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:35 am

That's awesome, George! wotf010
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby george nik. » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:14 am

morshana wrote:That's awesome, George! wotf010


Thanks, Jeanette! wotf007

There's a downside of course; nowadays I spend much more than half my available writing time on submitting, re-submitting, re-formatting for submissions, writing cover letters, trying to decide where to submit next, keeping track of my submissions, and mundane things like that wotf018

On the other hand, there's no skipping around it wotf012
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Jason Parker » Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:54 am

George,

What's your submission strategy, if you don't mind my asking?

Mine has been to submit to these markets in order:

F&SF
Clarkeworld
IGMS
WOTF

Then I have no strategy beyond that.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby george nik. » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:47 am

Jason Parker wrote:George,

What's your submission strategy, if you don't mind my asking?

Mine has been to submit to these markets in order:

F&SF
Clarkeworld
IGMS
WOTF

Then I have no strategy beyond that.

It's a bit complicated. I have a spreadsheet with all available pro and semi-pro markets, with data collected from the Grinder, which I try to update every week or so. When I'm sending out a story, I make a list of the top paying markets that it can go out to (excluding the ones that are temporarily closed, the ones that have already rejected the story, the ones that don't take multiple submissions and I already have a story in their queue, the ones that the story can't go out to because it's too short or too long and the ones where the story is not a good fit for -- for example, anything can go to CW or FSF, but IGMS is PG-13, BCS only takes secondary world fantasy, Analog takes only hard SF, etc) and then I decide between the remaining ones. I submit to higher-paying first, with the extra consideration of speedier replies and easier submission manner -- for example I prefer Moksha and Submittable to emailing stories and IGMS is the worst). Sounds daunting? It is. But I have to submit the stories, or there's no point in writing them. And keep in mind that I have a lot of stories in circulation and many of them have already been to 20 markets or more, so there's no way I can keep submitting without diligent record-keeping and market research.

WOTF is a different ballgame, as it's only one every three months and very few of my stories are suited to it, so for that one it's not where to send but what to send.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Jason Parker » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:05 am

george nik. wrote:
Jason Parker wrote:George,

What's your submission strategy, if you don't mind my asking?

Mine has been to submit to these markets in order:

F&SF
Clarkeworld
IGMS
WOTF

Then I have no strategy beyond that.

It's a bit complicated. I have a spreadsheet with all available pro and semi-pro markets, with data collected from the Grinder, which I try to update every week or so. When I'm sending out a story, I make a list of the top paying markets that it can go out to (excluding the ones that are temporarily closed, the ones that have already rejected the story, the ones that don't take multiple submissions and I already have a story in their queue, the ones that the story can't go out to because it's too short or too long and the ones where the story is not a good fit for -- for example, anything can go to CW or FSF, but IGMS is PG-13, BCS only takes secondary world fantasy, Analog takes only hard SF, etc) and then I decide between the remaining ones. I submit to higher-paying first, with the extra consideration of speedier replies and easier submission manner -- for example I prefer Moksha and Submittable to emailing stories and IGMS is the worst). Sounds daunting? It is. But I have to submit the stories, or there's no point in writing them. And keep in mind that I have a lot of stories in circulation and many of them have already been to 20 markets or more, so there's no way I can keep submitting without diligent record-keeping and market research.

WOTF is a different ballgame, as it's only one every three months and very few of my stories are suited to it, so for that one it's not where to send but what to send.


Thanks! That helps. I appreciate your time.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby amoskalik » Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:38 am

george nik. wrote:
Jason Parker wrote:George,

What's your submission strategy, if you don't mind my asking?

Mine has been to submit to these markets in order:

F&SF
Clarkeworld
IGMS
WOTF

Then I have no strategy beyond that.

It's a bit complicated. I have a spreadsheet with all available pro and semi-pro markets, with data collected from the Grinder, which I try to update every week or so. When I'm sending out a story, I make a list of the top paying markets that it can go out to (excluding the ones that are temporarily closed, the ones that have already rejected the story, the ones that don't take multiple submissions and I already have a story in their queue, the ones that the story can't go out to because it's too short or too long and the ones where the story is not a good fit for -- for example, anything can go to CW or FSF, but IGMS is PG-13, BCS only takes secondary world fantasy, Analog takes only hard SF, etc) and then I decide between the remaining ones. I submit to higher-paying first, with the extra consideration of speedier replies and easier submission manner -- for example I prefer Moksha and Submittable to emailing stories and IGMS is the worst). Sounds daunting? It is. But I have to submit the stories, or there's no point in writing them. And keep in mind that I have a lot of stories in circulation and many of them have already been to 20 markets or more, so there's no way I can keep submitting without diligent record-keeping and market research.

WOTF is a different ballgame, as it's only one every three months and very few of my stories are suited to it, so for that one it's not where to send but what to send.


Actually, The Grinder handles a lot of these details for you. When you search for new markets to submit to it can exclude markets you already submitted that story to, markets that are closed, markets where you have another story submitted to, markets that do not accept a story of that length, etc. You can tweak any of these settings as you see fit, but by default most of these are already set up when you do a market search. You can also sort by pay scale, response time, etc. as well.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby george nik. » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:08 am

amoskalik wrote:
george nik. wrote:
Jason Parker wrote:George,

What's your submission strategy, if you don't mind my asking?

Mine has been to submit to these markets in order:

F&SF
Clarkeworld
IGMS
WOTF

Then I have no strategy beyond that.

It's a bit complicated. I have a spreadsheet with all available pro and semi-pro markets, with data collected from the Grinder, which I try to update every week or so. When I'm sending out a story, I make a list of the top paying markets that it can go out to (excluding the ones that are temporarily closed, the ones that have already rejected the story, the ones that don't take multiple submissions and I already have a story in their queue, the ones that the story can't go out to because it's too short or too long and the ones where the story is not a good fit for -- for example, anything can go to CW or FSF, but IGMS is PG-13, BCS only takes secondary world fantasy, Analog takes only hard SF, etc) and then I decide between the remaining ones. I submit to higher-paying first, with the extra consideration of speedier replies and easier submission manner -- for example I prefer Moksha and Submittable to emailing stories and IGMS is the worst). Sounds daunting? It is. But I have to submit the stories, or there's no point in writing them. And keep in mind that I have a lot of stories in circulation and many of them have already been to 20 markets or more, so there's no way I can keep submitting without diligent record-keeping and market research.

WOTF is a different ballgame, as it's only one every three months and very few of my stories are suited to it, so for that one it's not where to send but what to send.


Actually, The Grinder handles a lot of these details for you. When you search for new markets to submit to it can exclude markets you already submitted that story to, markets that are closed, markets where you have another story submitted to, markets that do not accept a story of that length, etc. You can tweak any of these settings as you see fit, but by default most of these are already set up when you do a market search. You can also sort by pay scale, response time, etc. as well.


The Grinder is great and it's 99% reliable. But I've seen it wrong in various occasions (mostly regarding markets who have recently changed their guidelines) so I prefer to maintain my own database.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:48 pm

http://lithub.com/why-you-should-aim-fo ... ns-a-year/

I found a thing! Thought it might be useful.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby reigheena » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:03 am

I like that thing. I also have a rejection goal. Because of it, I got held for consideration at a market I wouldn't have submitted to otherwise.

Now to prepare my story to go get another rejection. wotf024
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Ishmael » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:33 am

I don't really see it as aiming for rejections; rejections are just an inevitable consequence of voluminous submissions.

I've noted this on another thread, but it's relevant here. Last year I made a neat round 300 submissions, garnering 9 acceptances and 267 rejections, of which 48 were personal. It doesn't add up because of dead letters and carry overs of responses into the current calendar year.
I need to go a bit to keep up that rate of acceptances this year, but I'm still in there pitching! wotf024
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Jason Parker » Thu Aug 04, 2016 9:55 am

wotf009

wotf024 yaaar!
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby dstein » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:32 pm

Ishmael wrote:I don't really see it as aiming for rejections; rejections are just an inevitable consequence of voluminous submissions.

I've noted this on another thread, but it's relevant here. Last year I made a neat round 300 submissions, garnering 9 acceptances and 267 rejections, of which 48 were personal. It doesn't add up because of dead letters and carry overs of responses into the current calendar year.
I need to go a bit to keep up that rate of acceptances this year, but I'm still in there pitching! wotf024


Ishmael, how on earth do you make 300 submissions in a year? I'm juggling maybe six publishable stories and I think the shortest rejection turnaround I've ever gotten was about a week. But it's often a month or more.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Ishmael » Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:43 am

I have over forty active stories. Experience has taught me the wisdom of Heinlein's Rule 'Keep it on the market until it sells.'
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby dstein » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:12 pm

Ishmael wrote:I have over forty active stories. Experience has taught me the wisdom of Heinlein's Rule 'Keep it on the market until it sells.'


Ah, that'll do it. I probably also need to reduce the turnaround on my demoralized, "nobody will ever love this story" period following a rejection.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby Jason Parker » Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:05 pm

Ishmael wrote:I have over forty active stories. Experience has taught me the wisdom of Heinlein's Rule 'Keep it on the market until it sells.'


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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby MattDovey » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:10 am

dstein wrote:
Ishmael wrote:I have over forty active stories. Experience has taught me the wisdom of Heinlein's Rule 'Keep it on the market until it sells.'


Ah, that'll do it. I probably also need to reduce the turnaround on my demoralized, "nobody will ever love this story" period following a rejection.


This is the advantage of the "know a story's next market in anticipation of the rejection" tactic--that feeling can't stop you :)

It's also useful if you have some form of community submission challenge, so you want the point for subbing more than you want to wallow in your misery. I may be speaking from experience here.
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Re: What's a good conversion rate when submitting to markets

Postby dstein » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:27 am

MattDovey wrote:
dstein wrote:
Ishmael wrote:I have over forty active stories. Experience has taught me the wisdom of Heinlein's Rule 'Keep it on the market until it sells.'


Ah, that'll do it. I probably also need to reduce the turnaround on my demoralized, "nobody will ever love this story" period following a rejection.


This is the advantage of the "know a story's next market in anticipation of the rejection" tactic--that feeling can't stop you :)

It's also useful if you have some form of community submission challenge, so you want the point for subbing more than you want to wallow in your misery. I may be speaking from experience here.


That's something I hadn't considered--using groups to hold me accountable for submitting as well as writing. That's a good idea.
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