New Submission Grinder Features: Piece Priority!

written by David Steffen

A couple of new features were released over the last week on the Submission Grinder.  For those who don’t know what the Submission Grinder is, it’s a donation-supported website that helps writers finds publishers for their work, as well as providing submission statistics from user data.

The Advanced Search Engine can do a lot of things already.  You can search by various parameters like length or pay rate.  You can ignore individual markets so they never show up in your search results, or exclude markets where a particular piece has been submitted.  But it can only work with the data it has available to it, and sometimes that’s not the sort of data that a program can make sense of.  For instance, Beneath Ceaseless Skies takes secondary world fantasy only.  The search engine can base its search on genre, so it’ll find BCS in a Fantasy search, so if you search for your contemporary American fantasy you’re going to keep seeing BCS in your search results and you’ll have to remember to ignore that result yourself.  Or if you have a piece that doesn’t technically fit the specifications of a market but you have special permission to submit or something, then there would be no way to mark that for yourself.

Now there are things you can do to customize your search results!  Now, you can define “piece priorities”, which tell the site special instructions for a combination of a particular piece and a particular market.  Besides the default “no priority” setting, there are two other values you can set:

  1.  UNSUITABLE
    This priority indicates that you just don’t think this piece is a good fit for this market, even if it fits the defined search parameters.  If you set a piece as unsuitable for a market, then that means that when you search for markets for that piece, that market will always be excluded from the results.  And if you search for markets for that piece, that market will always be excluded from the results.
  2. PREFERRED
    This priority indicates that you think this is a particularly good fit for this market, even if it doesn’t fit the defined search parameters.  If you set a piece as preferred for a market, then that means that when you search for markets for that piece, that market will always be shown at the top of the results clearly marked as Preferred, even if it doesn’t fit the search parameters otherwise and even if the market doesn’t qualify for a listing or you’ve marked it as Ignore (but it won’t show up if you’ve already submitted it there).  And if you search for pieces for that market, that piece will always be shown at the top of the results clearly marked as Preferred.

I am very excited about these additional features, I think they will be useful in those corner cases the search engine just doesn’t quite cover.  Thank you!

You can mark these priorities by clicking the “Piece Priorities” link on any market page while you’re logged in.

Poetry Features on the Submission Grinder

written by David Steffen

The most often requested feature on the Submission Grinder since it’s launch more than four years ago has been support for poetry listings.  This support has finally been published.  Most importantly the poetry advanced search page you can use to find new poetry markets here.

You can use the site without registering and use the search to find markets.  or look at individual markets.  If you register you will be able to track your submissions and from market listings search for your poems that fit the requirements that you haven’t submitted to that market before, and so on.

Of course, since poetry support has been a thing for less than 24 hours there are not many poetry listings filled in yet.  Over 200 poetry markets have stub listings that users have requested for poetry tracking over the last few years, so I need to fill those in with full details, and of course if there are any that don’t have listings feel free to suggest.

Some further development needs to be done for what I would consider full poetry support.  Notably missing at this point is support for markets that accept BOTH fiction and poetry (I know this is necessary, but because this requires some more development work I figured I may as well release the poetry-only market capability while I am working).

Let me know what you think, feel free to suggest new markets or new poetry-related features.

Sneak Peek: The New and Improved Submission Grinder

written by David Steffen

There’s been a lot of work going on behind the scenes at the Submission Grinder site in preparation for a big site upgrade.

ETA: The upgraded version is now on the main site.  See the rest of this article for a list of some new features.

What you’re seeing is an overhaul of the site that’s been in the works for quite some time now.  The new site includes all the features you’re familiar with, plus some exciting new ones.  I’ve written this article to show off some of the new changes.  As always, the site is free to use whether you register an account or not.  I encourage you to go check out the new site for yourself, or for the first time if you’re a newcomer to the site.

Now that this big batch of features is rolled out, it should be much easier for me to roll out individual features as they are ready to launch.  I have a lot of ideas that I think you’re all going to love; it’s just a matter of prioritizing them and finishing them one by one.

First, I want to thank a few people who have contributed to this new development.

  • First and foremost, thank you to Anthony Sullivan who wrote most of the code.  You may remember that Anthony had co-edited Diabolical Plots with me for a number of years, and we collaborated to launch the Submission Grinder site in 2013.  He wrote the entire original site in a very short period of time, as well as the majority of the feature updates to that version of the site over the last 3+ years.  He also wrote most of the new version of the site, before he changed the focus of his work.  Anthony is still around and contributing to the site to help with hosting and mentoring me as I learn more about web development.  If you want to find out what he’s doing, you can check out his website, where he’s been working on video game development, at Zombie Possum.
  • Thank you to Stewart C. Baker and Matt Dovey, for your immense help with the CSS work to make the site much more friendly to mobile devices.  I have very little experience with CSS, and it’s incredible to see what someone more knowledgeable than me can do to make the site much more usable.  (There is still some work to be done yet to make the site entirely mobile friendly!  But the parts that are mobile friendly are because of their excellent work)
  • Thank you to the beta testers who volunteered to pound out as many dents as possible on this site before it became the new official site, and for meticulously spelling out what you found so that I could track down and resolve those issues.
  • And thank you to all the users, especially those who donate, spread the word about the Grinder, suggest new features, suggest market updates, or help contribute to the effort in any other way.

 

Okay, now that all the sappy stuff is out of the way, let’s get to the new features!  These are listed in approximate order of how excited I am about the feature, with the most exciting features first.  (YMMV so of course it’s possible that you’re more excited about the last ones on the list, so this is far from a scientific sorting method)

Submission Timeline Graph

This is a feature I’ve been so eager to share with more people because it shares an incredible amount of information in a very compact space.

The graph is a bar chart.  The X axis is time, covering dates between one year ago and today.  The height of the bars is the number of recorded submissions sent to that market on that day.  Bars representing submissions that have met different ends are stacked on top of each other–purple bars are pending response, red bars are rejections, green bars are acceptances.  If you are logged in and you have a pending response to that market, your submission is shown as a black dot.

For a few examples (not necessarily all up-to-date graphs mind you):

You can see, in the Apex Magazine graph, that they were closed for submissions from about June through December, that they got slammed with submissions when they re-opened.  On the far right side you can see what their current slushpile looks like (the purple portion of the graph), and the trail of small purple bars to the left of it are probably stories that have been approved by slushreaders and passed up to the editor and so are waiting a longer period of time outside the main slushpile.  (The black dot there is my own submission that was held at the time I took this snapshot)

ApexTimeline

You can see in the Analog graph that, well, they don’t really stay on top of their slushpile.  At the time this snapshot was taken in March no one who submitted more recently than the beginning of October has heard anything, and most people who submitted since the beginning of September has heard anything.  Long waits here don’t mean much.

AnalogTimeline

You can see in the Cast of Wonders graph that they closed for submissions from about September through December.  You can also see that the volume of submissions has surged upward after they reopened.  Not coincidentally, Cast of Wonders increased their payment rates from a flat 5GBP to a professional rate of 6 cents/word when they reopened (after a change in ownership as they were purchased by Escape Artists, Inc) which starts the timer for them to become a SFWA-qualifying market.  This has clearly made submitting to Cast of Wonders more appealing to writers.  You can also discern the shape of the slushpile and the hold pile pretty clearly here.

CastOfWondersTimeline

You can see in the Clarkesworld graph that they receive a lot of submissions all the time.  They haven’t closed within the last year.  And they are on top of their slushpile in an incredible fashion (look at how little purple there is!).  If you want a quick response (maybe to get one last submission before you can send that story to something else before deadline), this graph tells you that Clarkesworld is a great place to submit.  The statistics would’ve told you that before, of course, but the statistics are the summary of a year’s worth of responses, while this graph tells you what their slushpile looks like right now.

ClarkesworldTimeline

In the writers of the future graph, you can guess, without knowing anything else, that they have a quarterly deadline, and that lots of writers submit at the last minute.  You can also guess the reason why because they can take a while to respond, and so why not wait until the deadline?

WotFTimeline


There are probably other things to be gleaned from these graphs, but these are the kinds of things that I’ve been very excited to see in these graphs.

Summarized Recent Activity

SummaryGrinderThe Recent Activity list on the front page of the site looks different than you’re used to.  You’re used to seeing a list of individual responses grouped first by day and then by alphabetical order of market name.  One long-term frustration with that layout was that when an alphabetically privileged market, like Asimov’s, has a big push of rejections, then suddenly the one market would occupy most or all of that list.

Well, no longer!  Now a market only has one line per day to summarize all of its rejections.  And the page still shows the same number of lines, so you will often see more total information on that list than before these changes.  Acceptances still always get their own line, since those are of special interest, and so if you have chosen to show your name for acceptances you will still see it on the front page.  If you ever want to know the more detailed list you can always click the “details” icon to click through to that market page’s recent activity which lists all items from the last 30 days without summarizing.

Remember These Settings (Advanced Search)

On the previous version of the site, the Advanced Search page has had some limited memory of your choices, but I’ve never been entirely satisfied with the method of its operation.  In the past it would remember the settings of a few of your choices in the exclusion section by using a cookie.  But, this would not persist from device to device, it would only affect a select few parameters, and it would remember any change you made even if you didn’t want it to.

So, the new Advanced Search page has a choice to remember these settings.  You pick what values you want saved, you check the box for “remember these settings” and then every time you load the page in the future it will have those same values populated.  So, for instance, you can choose whether you want to see fee-based markets in the results, and you could set your minimum pay rate to Pro.

Zoomable Graphs

ZoomGraph

One occasional frustration with the market graphs on the previous version of the site was that if there had been a very long response reported the Turnaround Time graph scale would be very very long and it would be hard to make out much detail in the rest of the graph.

All three graphs are now zoomable, so you can zoom in on particular area of interest, see what specific days were associated with certain values, and etc, so this shouldn’t be a frustration anymore.

Average Response Days in Search Results

The Advanced Search Results and other market results pages now show the average response days for easy comparison of responsiveness.

Sortable Columns

The Advanced Search results and some other pages now can be sorted by in ascending or descending order based on several of the column headings (including the new average response days column).

Delete Piece Option

It was always perhaps a little bit odd that there was no way to delete a piece once you’d made it.  Generally the easiest way to work around this had been to just rename the piece the next time you finish a story and use the record for that new piece going forward.

But now you can delete the piece, so you don’t need that option.

Alphabetical Market Listings

Why didn’t the site have alphabetical market listings before?  I… really don’t remember.  I guess people have usually either knownwhat the exact name of a market was already, or they were searching by attribute rather than name.  So no one’s really complained about the lack. Anyway, whether it gets much use or not, it’s available.  And it might come in handy if, for instance, you don’t remember how to spell Giganotosaurus.

Exclude Retired Pieces

On the previous version of the site the Manage Pieces page let you filter your list of pieces by checking the “Exclude Accepted” box so you’d only see unsold stories.  A new box has been added to “Exclude Retired” (which are simply any pieces that you have marked as retired so they don’t show up in your dropdown list of pieces).

Grinder Favicon

The Submission Grinder site now has a favicon in the form of the site logo.  This is what shows up on shortcuts or browser tabs.  Might come in handy for spotting at a glance which tabs were Grinder tabs.

 

 

 

Introducing: The Submission Grinder Newsletter

written by David Steffen

Since the start of 2016 I have been working hard on completing some major upgrades to the Submission Grinder site.

For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the Submission Grinder is a web tool for writers to find markets for their fiction: market listings, a search engine to find markets that fit your criteria, a submission tracker, and anonymized submission statistics to get an idea of what kind of response time can be expected from a particular market.

As part of the development work, in January the Grinder began sending out weekly Submission Grinder newsletters to subscribers which contained a list of recently added markets with links to the Grinder listing for each of those markets.  The newsletter also includes updates on Submission Grinder feature development, and fundraising updates.

Starting next week, the newsletter is expanding to also include lists of markets that have recently opened or recently closed, making it easy to keep track of changes in market status, all delivered right to your inbox.

And, best of all, each of these lists is filtered based on user preferences for genre and pay rate, so you only hear about the kinds of markets you have personal interest in.

To sign up for the newsletter you don’t have to be a registered Grinder user, or even have experience with the site’s features.  All you need to is sign up here and enter your preferences for filtering.

There is also a separate newsletter to talk about Diabolical Plots’s publishing projects, which you can sign up for here.

Slush Retrospective

written by David Steffen

For anyone who hasn’t been following along, Diabolical Plots was open for fiction submissions for the first time in December 2014 to pick 12 stories to publish one per month for a year as our first fiction offerings. This is my first time editing fiction or handling a slushpile of my own (as opposed to being a slushreader for a magazine run by someone else).

Also, this is a long post–I tried to give useful headings so you could skip to the parts you’re interested in.

WHY NOW?

Anthony Sullivan (my co-conspirator here at Diabolical Plots) and I decided together that we wanted to give this a try. We’d been talking about it off and on for years. So why did we actually move forward with it now? The answer to that is simple–money. We knew that if we wanted to do this, we wanted to do it big–professional rates as defined by SFWA (currently 6 cents per word). We don’t have anything against markets that pay less, but we figured the best way in our control to increase the upper quality of the slushpile is to pay professional rates. And we wanted to make a market that we would be excited to submit to.  We would love to become a SFWA-qualified professional market.

The reason we can go forward with this fiction venture now is because of generous donations both one-time and recurring from users of the Submission Grinder. Those donations go first to site maintenance costs like hosting as well as secondary costs that help us keep up with market news as well as we can. But we’ve been saving what we can to put towards projects that require money like this fiction venture. We could have run a Kickstarter campaign but we both liked the idea of providing something of value and then seeing if people would like to support it, rather than the other way around. We plan to launch a Patreon campaign in the near future–if that and the recurring PayPal donations combined reach a threshold, then we will keep publishing fiction past the first year, if we reach the next threshold above that we’ll buy 2 stories/month for the following year, and so on. I’m not opposed to something like Kickstarter, but I like the Patreon model better for what I hope will be an ongoing venture because its focus is maintenance funding, ongoing income instead of the one-off burst that Kickstarter will provide–at some point a magazine has to hit Kickstarter again and one success does not guarantee another.

MAKING THE GUIDELINES

Our guidelines are somewhat unusual for several reasons. One is that we were only open for a month to buy a year’s worth of fiction. Part of the reason for this is that we intended from the beginning to read all of the slush ourselves, and we knew this would be time-consuming, so we would rather do it on a short-term sprint than to be reading slush around the calendar.

Another oddity is that we only allow one story per author per submission window. There were a few reasons for this. One is to encourage authors to pick their very best work they have available that fits the rest of the guidelines. Another is to make any progress in the slushpile a permanent step–rather than rejecting a story by an author and getting another story from the same author again.

Of course the biggest oddity in our guidelines is the requirement for anonymity–there are a few markets that require this–among pro SF markets I believe Flash Fiction Online and Writers of the Future are the only others. But we’re even more strange in this respect in that there were only two staff members doing all the reading and there wasn’t a separate person to do author correspondence. Our homebrew submission tracking software had to be quite a bit more complicated because of this–it had to hide the author’s identity from us until we’ve made our final decision of accept or reject, and had to allow some basic way for an author to query us to make sure their story was received but without breaking anonymity.

The reason we wanted to make the slush anonymous is that we wanted story to trump all. We wanted to completely remove the possibility that personal relationships with an author would sway our decision one way or the other. And we wanted to remove the consideration of marketing concerns–it’s not uncommon for a publication, especially when starting up, to publish stories from established authors with big fan followings to attract readers. The reasoning behind cherry-picking known authors is that the fan following will get more eyeballs on the magazine and help make the launch more successful.  But personally, we felt that these stories can feel phoned-in because the story didn’t make it into the publication on its own merits. We have nothing against established authors with big names, of course. They got to be big names because they knew what they were doing. But if an author you recognize is in our table of contents, it means that we thought that story was in our top twelve and the name has nothing to do with it.

THE SLUSH

In the 31 days we were open, we received 378 submissions–34 of those on the first day of submissions, 27 of those on the last day of submissions.

17 of the submissions had clear violations of the guidelines. A few of those were stories with names attached against our anonymity requirements. Most of those were stories that were clearly too long for our 2000-word maximum, sometimes by several times. And the one submission that was a synopsis of a non-speculative children’s book that was also triple our maximum word count allowed. I did have to wonder, as I was rejecting these stories unread and with a note pointing out the guidelines violation, what these authors were thinking. Did they not read the guidelines at all? Did they think their story was so good the word count limit was irrelevant to them? Either answer is not particularly endearing . Because of our one-submission-per-author-per-window policy that was the only opportunity those authors got this time round.  Once those were taken out of the running that left 361 valid submissions.

I’ve read slush for a few different venues–Flash Fiction Online, Drabblecast, and Stupefying Stories. Overall the quality of the Diabolical Plots slush was much higher than I expect from past experience, and there wasn’t the glut of serial killer stories and stories about protagonists killing their spouses. This could’ve been because I tried to warn off these things in the guidelines, or because the one-story-per-author rule made authors more selective, or could just because we didn’t specifically ask for the offensive like the Drabblecast guidelines do.

The stories that were rejected in the first round were rejected for a variety of reasons. A slow or uninteresting beginning to the story is an excuse to start skimming–a bad sign, especially when dealing with stories less than 2000 words. Stories where nothing happened, or stories with low stakes. Or ones without strong characters. First and foremost we wanted stories that made us feel something, whether that was humor, fear, fun, love, but it had to make us feel something.

By January 8th we’d finished the first round of reading and held 67 stories for the second and final round of consideration. I didn’t keep statistics on the proportion of personal rejections–but I’d guess them at maybe 10% in the first round. I only commented if I had feedback that I felt would be useful to the author.

EDITORIAL CHANGE

Around this same time I started drafting up the contracts based on Lightspeed’s very author-friendly publicly posted contract. Up until this point we had been pretty focused on the editorial side of things and the technical side of things (tweaking the submission system), but at this point we started getting into the publishing side of things, particularly on the topic of risk and legality. We realized that Diabolical Plots should be registered under an LLC to minimize any risk to our personal finances. And as part of that discussion, Anthony realized that he needed to step down from the co-editor position. We didn’t have a falling out or anything like that. He just realized that his role as co-editor wasn’t going to work out with other aspects of his life. So from that point forward I am the editor of Diabolical Plots.

Anthony will still be a big part of Diabolical Plots and the Submission Grinder and will continue to fill the same invaluable role that he has filled since we first teamed up in 2009–handling all of the technical side of the website administration, and doing the lion’s share of the software development that has made the Grinder the useful tool it is today. In fact, he is hard at work on an overhaul of the Grinder site that will make it easier to maintain as well as providing a lot of shiny new features that will make it even better than it is now. We’re aiming to launch this site overhaul to the public around the same time that we launch our first fiction publication–that date is yet to be determined, but will probably be in a couple months.

THE HOLD PILE

By January 8th we had finished reading and resolving all the first round submissions and we only had the 67 stories in the hold pile left to resolve. By the time Anthony reached the decision that he needed to step down, I had re-read the hold-pile stories and ranked them numerically with plans to compare lists with Anthony. So when I became the sole editor, I was already ready to go and could resolve the whole pile in one fell swoop. I made sure to give personal rejections to all the stories that made it to the hold pile because I hate it when my stories are held for further consideration but then rejected without a word.

I had enough good stories in the pile, and planned to buy so few, that I didn’t venture into any major rewrite requests. If the story wasn’t good enough as-is, then I didn’t accept it–I have made a few small suggestions for small changes and will probably do a few more as I progress from acceptance to publication. There were a lot more stories in the pile that I would’ve loved to accept if the budget had allowed, so there were some very hard decisions in this pile.

In the final twelve stories I was interested to see that there were several author names that I knew from seeing their published stories in pro markets. For at least one of the authors, this was the first pro sale. Judging by names, of the final twelve, seven of the authors are women.  I’m glad to see both sexes so well represented–I know that some publications have a real problem with getting enough women-authored stories in their slushpiles (to the point where they have to make campaigns specifically to bring in more women authors) so I was glad to see that.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Before I do anything else, I need to sort out some business details, defining what Diabolical Plots actually is. Once that’s in place I can finalize the draft of our contract and send it to the twelve authors–in the meantime I’ve requested and gotten preliminary notes from all twelve to let me know the stories are still available.  The twelve authors are free to share their news as widely or as narrowly as they wish so you may have already heard a few of them.

Once the contracts are signed, then I can publicly announce the table of contents–I’m really looking forward to that. And then I can seriously consider what kind of launch date we can manage for the fiction offerings, but I’m still planning to coincide that with the launch of the Submission Grinder overhaul, so it will depend somewhat on that as well.

WHAT ABOUT YEAR TWO?

You may notice that all of our planning so far has been focused on providing a single year of fiction, talking about the budget for a year, the schedule for a year. That’s because, at this point, we don’t have the capital in place for another year of fiction. We’re hoping to change that. Ideally by gathering recurring donations of whatever size through Patreon and PayPal to give a steady stream of funds to kick off the second year and beyond. If the end of year one approaches and we don’t have this in place yet, then I’ll consider doing a Kickstarter campaign to get year two funded and continue to focus on getting recurring donations so that big one-off campaigns don’t need to be run every year. If we get enough to be able to afford to publish two stories a month, then we’ll expand to that. And beyond that we’ll consider expanding in other ways. The sky’s the limit if there is enough interest and support. I’ll be posting sometime in the not-too-distant future about our Patreon campaign to this end. In the meantime, recurring PayPal donations either on the DP page or the Grinder page are the best way to help support both our necessary costs and our harebrained schemes like this.

Award Eligibility Post 2014

written by David Steffen

And now the gratuitous award eligibility post–feel free to skip over it if you’re not interested, but figured there might be someone out there who might want to see it. This post covers works by Diabolical Plots and by me personally.

From time to time people ask me if they can nominate the Submission Grinder. In the past, I thought the answer was “no” because most of the awards seemed to be very publisher focused–so the best way I thought to try to recognize the Submission Grinder would be to nominate Diabolical Plots. But there ARE a couple categories the Submission Grinder qualifies for in some awards, so I’ve listed those two first.

And just to be clear, no I don’t really think we have a shot at anything, but I see no reason why I can’t mention what we’re eligible for.

Writer’s Resource/Information/News Source

1. The Submissions Grinder

I wasn’t aware of this award until this year, part of the Preditors and Editors Reader Poll. Someone has seen fit to nominate the Grinder, so thought it would be worth mentioning.

 

World Fantasy Special Award – Non Professional

1. The Submissions Grinder

Likewise, I wasn’t aware of this award, but it’s another way to recognize the Submission Grinder directly if you want to see it recognized.

 

Best Short Story

1. “Catastrophic Failure” by David Steffen at Perihelion

2. “Always There” by David Steffen at Lakeside Circus

3. “Unraveling” by David Steffen at Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine

4. “A Switch in Time” by David Steffen at Perihelion

5. “The Thing About Analyn” by David Steffen at Stupefying Stories

 

Best Related Work

All of the articles that I’ve written here and in SF Signal are eligible for this category, but I’m not going to list all dozens of them. I’ll just mention the one that I thought was most notable:

1. The Best Podcast Fiction of All Time (at SF Signal)

 

Best Editor (Short Form)

1. David Steffen (for nonfiction)

Note that although we’ve been reading slush for fiction publication in 2014, we haven’t published any fiction yet, so only my nonfiction editing can be taken into account. And Anthony isn’t eligible this year for the same reason.

 

Best Fanzine

1. Diabolical Plots

Next year, instead of Best Fanzine, we’ll be eligible for Best Semiprozine because we’ll be a paying fiction market.

 

Best Fan Writer

1. David Steffen
–For the short fiction listed above, the large number of nonfiction articles here and in SF Signal.

2. Carl Slaughter
–Mostly for interviews

3. Frank Dutkiewicz
–Reviews of Daily SF

4. Laurie Tom
–Anime reviews

 

 

The State of the Grinder: Year One

written by David Steffen

Can you believe it’s been a whole year since we officially launched The Submission Grinder? At that time the Grinder only had its base functionality , the minimum required feature set to make it basically useful. We had just launched, so of course we didn’t have any submission data yet apart from the data of its founders. The Grinder site was pretty unreliable as well, down almost as often as not. And the choice of Courier font for everything on the site, while chosen with the intention of giving a nod to the typewriter-based standard manuscript format that is somehow still used today, managed to almost universally annoy everyone who visited the site.

These days the site is stable, we’ve changed the style to be more aesthetically pleasing, our user base is growing and with it our collection of data. We continue to hold to our commitment to never charge anyone for any feature. And our feature set is continually improving.

A concern oft-cited in the early days was that the site would be just a flash in the pan, here today gone tomorrow. To which we responded “The only thing that proves longevity is longevity”. So here we are a year later and still going strong, still improving. And we plan to stick around. So what’s gone on in the last year since the launch?

Statistics

Markets: 2642 (1165 open)
Users: 2033
Submissions: 34,403
Total site visits: 244,963
Unique visitors: 28,013
Pageviews: 1,444,035
Page per visit: 5.89
Largest contributors of site usage
1. Organic (Google)
2. DiabolicalPlots.com (Main Site)
3. Codex
4. AbsoluteWrite
5. Facebook

Shiny Features

We have implemented a wide variety of features that we feel are shiny and useful, too many to want to list them exhaustively here. But here are a few of the ones we are the proudest of.

1. Response Time Chart

GrinderFeature_ResponseTimeChart

 

A histogram on each market page of the response times for that market. The red bars represent rejections, the green are acceptances. The higher the bar, the more responses on that particular number of days wait. You can see in this example that this particular market has a nice bell curve of rejections centered at around 20 days, with a long tail and acceptances scattered all over. You can get a lot of information at a glance.

2. Response Recency Chart

GrinderFeature_ResponseRecencyChart2

GrinderFeature_ResponseRecencyChart

Another histogram, this one represents how long ago the responses were reported, with today being on the left side of the graph and one year ago being on the right. From this you can glean different kinds of information. For instance, you can discern an expected period of response,such as the Writers of the Future snapshot here where you can see their quarterly submission cycle pretty well. And you can also tell if a market just stops responding for some period of time, like you can see at intervals in the Analog snapshot.

3. My Market Response List

GrinderFeature_MyMarketResponseList

 

It’s common to want to look at the recently reported responses just for the markets where you have pending submissions, but before this feature you would have to visit each page manually and look at that list. This list provides a single list which lists out the recent responses that only includes those markets where you have pending submissions.

4. Post-Acceptance Tracking

GrinderFeature_PostAcceptance

Acceptance of a story is one of the goals of writing a story, but it’s not the ultimate goal. After the story’s accepted, you need to deal with the contract, payment, and publication of the work. That is all an important part of the process so we let you track that information as well.

 

Upcoming Shiny Features

And we have plenty more coming down the pipeline, including:

1. Newsletter
Among other things, you will be able to customize the newsletter to suit your exact interests. If you only want to hear about updates to pro-paying romance markets, that’s what you’ll get. This will also include other sections like a Fundraising callout which will provide links to newly announced publishing-related fundraising drives.

2. Poetry and Nonfiction Markets
We don’t yet have full support for these,you can track your submissions to them, but the full listing and search engine is being worked on.

3. Publication Brag.
Users who opt-in can already see their name on the site when they get that rare acceptance, but this will also help you spread the word when that story actually gets published.

4. Dean Wesley Smith Submission Score
The author Dean Wesley Smith has published a suggested system called the Race for encouraging writers to submit which has proven itself extremely useful. The Grinder will calculate this number for you, to help spur you on to send that story out.