Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 Year in Review

2014 was in many ways a step backward for me in terms of my fiction writing. While I sold one more story than in 2013 (and still sold quite a few stories in general), I didn't break into any notable new markets and I only sold to one SFWA-qualifying market in 2014. Just as important, I didn't feel as if I wrote stories in 2014 which would be likely to help me break into new markets.

There were some good things. I received my contributor's copies of my first major digest publication ("Lakeside Memories" in the February, 2015 Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine). One of my stories was listed as an Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year. Another of my stories made the Tangent Online Recommended Reading List. And my acceptance ratio was up a bit from 2013.

Overall, I made a total of 174 non-reprint submissions in 2014. I received 199 responses, some of which were for submissions sent in 2013. (Conversely, some of my 2014 submissions did not receive responses during the calendar year.) For those submission responses:
  • Five submissions received no reply.
  • Two submissions were withdrawn.
  • I had 17 acceptances. (I also had a paying reprint acceptance.)
  • And I had 175 rejections.
Of the 18 paying acceptances:
  • Two were to pro-rate SFWA-qualifying markets.
  • Four were to pro-rate markets not on the SFWA list.
  • Seven were to semi-pro markets, this includes the reprint sale.
  • Five were to markets which pay, but either have a per-word rate below semi-pro rates or which pay a flat rate which can fals below semi-pro. For at least one of these, my pay worked out to pro rates, but I still classify it here.
I sold 18 different stories in 2014:
  • Seven of those were flash length (1,000 words or fewer), including the reprint.
  • Seven were between 1,001 and 3,000 words.
  • Four were over 3,000 words.
  • Nine were science fiction stories.
  • Six were fantasy stories.
  • Three were horror stories.
The length breakdowns were very similar to 2013. I had more SF sales this year and fewer fantasy.

I hesitate to call any year where I sold seventeen stories "disappointing" but the fact is that I think I can do better, so in that sense, it was. I'm going to work at improving my writing and submission process and will hope that the work leads to an even better 2015.


  1. Thanks, Michael, for sharing these stats. In some ways, it's encouraging, and in some, it's depressing. The big lesson is how many submission it really takes to get around a 10% acceptance rate. Onward!

  2. Thanks for sharing this information. It helps to see what others go through, especially when I'm feeling stuck because I've submitted to two places and been rejected by both. Your report should be a good reminder to me to keep at it.

  3. Wow 174 submissions. I can't begin to imagine writing that many short stories. The fact that you had 18 acceptances is daunting to someone who is far less prolific. Thank you so much for sharing. And here's hoping 2015 gets you over 20! Best on that.

  4. Hi Michael ... just read your story on DSF (Monday 23rd) Delightfully twisted! :D