mer: (Default)
The Underworld (not the criminal one, the metaphysical one) figures prominently in my book. (I'm delighted that I can now say "which one?" when talking about my books, but at this point, I can also pretty much determine that The Book is the one I've sold. Oh, liminal states, you never fail to entertain me.)

All that Underworld research led to a short story by itself. I started writing it blithely under the title "Thirty Rules for Commuting to the Underworld" and then, about three rules into the writing, changed it to "Five Rules for Commuting to the Underworld." I'm always amused when that sort of thing happens. You'd think I'd stop titling things before I write them, especially when there are concrete numbers involved.

Anyway, then this happened:

today before I checked my email

Pending responses for last 12 months: 3
Acceptance ratio for the past 12 months: 21.05 %
Congratulations! Your overall acceptance ratio is higher than the average for users who have submitted to the same markets.


today after I checked my email

Pending responses for last 12 months: 2
Acceptance ratio for the past 12 months: 25.00 %
Congratulations! Your overall acceptance ratio is higher than the average for users who have submitted to the same markets.


Yep, Duotrope and I are still locked in a battle of wills about what an acceptable acceptance rate is--they might not know they're locked, but they are. I've been watching my ratio creep slowly downward, feeling both depressed and triumphant. "See?" I would think. "Thirty percent was just a serious fluke. This is more how it is. Watch, they'll see me get like twenty rejections in a row--they'll see."

Then, I went and sold another story.

Duotrope, you and I aren't finished yet!

Also, my story will be out in August, at Strange Horizons, for they are the ones who purchased it. I find it quite likely that I will post a link when it comes out.
mer: (Eclipse)
1) We made it to the gym this morning. The orthotics performed admirably. However, I have a lot of joint pain in the Dread Arthritic Ankle. We are going to work on the arthritis next. Glucosamine or whatever. Building up muscle. Whatever it is you do.

2) I've been keeping closer track of my writing time. I am not pleased by the truth--I seem to average about 10 hours a week. Even weeks where I push harder against resistance still seem to hover around the average (last week, I managed 12 hours). Now, this IS counting ONLY writing time, and not throat-clearing time. So I wonder if that has something to do with it. Hm. I also started tracking the barriers to writing--not only the barrier, but what it represents, what other need it most likely fulfills, or what bad trait it caters to. I lost a huge chunk of time to Duotrope annoyance last week. Another chunk to watching American Idol with Kayla. So, annoyance, family time, distraction... I lose a reasonable amount of time to LJ posts I don't end up making. That's therapeutic time.

Bleah.

3) Speaking of Duotrope, the answer was courteous but not helpful. I'm going to quote most of it, rather than report it. So, after the nice greeting and beginning, it gets to the meat:
Our system of following submission patterns really has nothing to do with the assumption of honestly or dishonesty.

It truly is about following patterns and determining norms.

We realize that our system currently will discount highly successfully authors, but let's be frank, a high level of success in this industry is not average by any means. Congratulations on your success!

We have considered the verficiation of sales model in the past, but discounted it due to (1) not having the time or resources to fact-check every acceptance reported and (2) because it wouldn't prevent people from failing to report rejections, which is the biggest problem we face.

Followed by pleasant closing.

I still really don't get how discounting above average people means you even have any idea what true averages are, and it was as I suspected, it's all because some people don't report rejections, or are believed not to report them, though seriously, if you don't report rejections, wouldn't you be more of a 100% success rate kind of person, and not 30%? Who under-reports just to get to 30%? What kind of marker of success is that, that you'd manipulate your own data to be able to say, "I broke 30% on Duotrope?"

Doesn't make sense.

Anyway, I guess I won't be overly trusting of their data, and I'll for sure be ignoring whatever nonsense it spouts to me in the control panel. Of course, the control panel now says: "Congratulations! Your overall acceptance ratio is higher than the average for users who have submitted to the same markets." So--they are still not counting my data and they're just not openly admitting it? Or they changed the way they do things (raised the rate to 40%?) without telling me in the email?

This is so beyond even a First World Problem. I go quiet now.

4) Today, Ben-at-work said that he was going "gymly," meaning going to the gym. But then we posited that Gymly is actually Gimli's brother who works out really a lot.

Yeah, that was the walk to my car. Time well spent.

5) I'm frustrated by things beyond my ability to influence. Life as usual. Carry on.
mer: (Not Amused (Bones))
Things that are ridiculously disheartening--

From my control panel in Duotrope:

Pending responses for last 12 months: 4 (Subscribe to a RSS feed Special RSS Feed of your Pending Submissions) BETA
Submissions sent last 12 months: 14
Submissions sent this month: 3
Acceptance ratio for the past 12 months: 30.77 %
Note: Your acceptance-rejection ratio is significantly higher than the average for users who have submitted to the same markets. Please report all your rejections as well as your acceptances. Your submission reports will be discounted by the system until your submission patterns fall within normal limits.


WTF?

I've not under-reported a single rejection or submission.

I understand wanting to filter out bad data, but c'mon. I'm hardly burning up the world here with my 30% success rate, and while it is flukey, there are other legit folks who have 30% years, I'm quite certain.

I'm gonna have to write a ranty message to the Duotrope folks, I'm afraid, because I really don't need to be chastised for the truth. It's a great service. I donate to it, even.

What kind of message is that, anyway? That there's a level of success that's believable, but anything more than that, you're not a real writer? Uhm...

Look, I sold two stories last year--one new one to a great market, one reprint to a great reprint market. But this is hardly the stuff of pathological lies. For my troubles, I got 10 rejections and a dead market (and one pending response), and yes, that is a pretty fantastic rate of return, but I also made a whopping $260 on that, so come on. It's not like I'm faking acceptances from the New Yorker while secretly filing all my rejections in Peru--or insert your own strangely difficult to render politician sex scandal joke here--, and it's certainly not like I'm not reporting my rejections. There are some stories I have sold on the first time out. There are many more that I have never sold. The data backs all of that up.

What's the writing world really about if even my tiny modicum of success is considered a fabulistic outlier?

April 2015

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