written by David Steffen
Last month I wrote an article discussing a major event in the writing world: Duotrope requiring a subscription. Among other things I talked about how I thought that Duotrope had handled it badly. I sent a rewording of those suggestions to Duotrope because I really would like to see them continue to be a useful resource, and I got a polite reply that essentially said their plan was fine. The biggest problem with their plan is that it drives their data away by charging high subscription fees. The data is what makes them more valuable than others. (For those of you who don’t know, Duotrope is a writer’s resource that allows you to track submissions, look up markets, and see statistics compiled from user submissions data)
Well, we at Diabolical Plots have not been sitting idly since that article was written. We have been actively working on creating a Duotrope replacement for which we will never require a subscription fee. Anthony Sullivan has been our technical expert, as our resident web guru. I have been the monkey with the wrench that hits things to see if I can break them, as well as market data entry. The Submissions Grinder is already running and ready to go, though we have some work to do yet updating the market listings. Behold, The Submissions Grinder! Please help us signal boost, share this with any writer or group of writers that you can. The more people try us out, the more data there will be to make it useful for everyone.
It’s easy to get started:
1. Go to the Submissions Grinder site.
2. Register, setting up a new account.
3. Once you’re registered and logged in, go to Account link.
4. There you will see an option “Import your Duotrope Data”. This takes the Duotrope export file and imports it so that you pick up right where you left off there. You can do that only once.
And you’re ready to go. Just go to the Account link to do most things, including Manage Pieces which lets you add new stories, and Manage Submissions which lets you add new submissions or resolve existing ones.
How can you help?
The launch is not contingent on fundraising. We may launch some fundraising in the future if we want to try to cover some costs, but again we are committing to not charging for subscriptions. That will not happen.
In the meantime, if you think this effort is worthwhile there are two things you can do, both of which will make the site more useful for YOU as well:
1. Signal Boost. Share the link everywhere that you can, with writers and writers’ groups and re-tweeting and what-have you. The more users that try it out, the more data we have to summarize and share with all.
2. Import your Duotrope data. Each new market imported in Duotrope data becomes an entry for a market that we will update. It will take us a while, but your imports will help guide us–the more submissions to a market the sooner we’ll get to that one. The more data, the more useful the site will be.
3. Suggest new markets, with URLs so that we can find them.
4. The site should serve all of the basic functions we need, but we have plans to make it even better. Along those lines, leave suggestions here for changes that would make it even more useful.