Wait For It…

Here’s some stats to give you an idea of what you’ve let yourself in for by submitting your story, or rather, how much time you’ve given yourself to write (edit, revise, start on) something else. These numbers come directly from my own submission tracker, and reflect the state of my submissions on Feb 13, 2014.

Response times
Response type Min Ave Max Ave sale to pub
Open 62
Open – shortlisted 113 544 974
Rejection 0 72 495
Reprint sale 69 150 194 133
Sale 9 139 449 231
Totals 0 91 974 209

Just so there is no mistake, let me point out some of the more remarkable statistics here.

  • It takes about three months on average to receive any kind of response.
  • Rejections take slightly less time: 72 days on average.
  • Acceptances/sales take twice that: 139 days on average.
  • After acceptance, it takes another average 231 days before your story finally sees print. Add them up: more than a year from submission to publication! (Reprints move slightly faster for some reason.)
  • There are enormous outliers in these stats. One of my stories sold in nine days; another got rejected the same day (ouch!); at the extreme opposite end of the scale, one of my stories has been waiting on a shortlist for an unbelievable 974 days! (And that’s not even counting the 202 days they had it before coming up with a rewrite request.)

But even with these intimidating numbers, you will eventually receive a response. Usually. And if you’re disciplined about writing (editing, revising, starting on) something else, quite often this response comes when you least expect it.

Or maybe it already has?