Saturday, October 1, 2011

Acceptances, Rejections, and Submissions by Publication Length

My flash "Biology" appears here now in the latest Emprise Review.

I've long thought that longer stories were harder to publish than shorter ones, but at least for me, that apparently is not true--it's only the second under-500-word story I've published. Now it is true that a shorter story can be written faster, and that may be why so many folks write the shorter pieces, but in terms of publication, not necessarily so. That may well be that at the shorter length one has more competition. That said, when it comes to publication, a print journal can publish substantially more short pieces than long ones, which would offset that. Maybe it's just that my longer work is simply better written that the publications tend not to skew any toward the shorter material.

Anyway, in an attempt to see whether my preconceptions were right, I decided to graph a few items. Here is a chart showing the breakdown of how many stories of each length have seen publication:
Clearly, the length that is working best for me in terms of publication is the 1,001-2,000 range. However, a quick look how many rejections I have gotten for each length of story also reveals that for the same length of stories that have gotten the most acceptances, I have also gotten close to the most rejections. The exception here is 5,001-7,500, which outpaces them all; 4,001-5,000 still manages third, however.
Perhaps, it's just that the stories that I've submitted mostly congregated in these same ranges. Let's see:
Indeed, I do have more stories in the 1,001-2,000 range than in any other, but note also the the 5,001-7,500 and 2,001-3,000 come in third here. In that case, 4,001-5,000 is working really well for me.

Let's look at it on a percentage basis. The black represents the percentage of submissions in each length that have actually been accepted. The gray represents the percent of stories of a given length that I've submitted that have eventually been accepted (that is, I may have sent out five stories in the 4,001-5,000 range a total of sixty times, amounting to a 4.5 percent acceptance rate, even while 60 percent [i.e., three] of the stories were eventually accepted).
Interestingly, pretty much across the board of all lengths, I have about 4 percent to 5 percent acceptance rate (really, not too bad considering). The exceptions are the freaky 501-1,000 range (but note also the comparatively few stories that actually have been submitted in that range, as denoted in the chart above) and anything over 5,000 words. Mind you, most of the stories over 5,000 words gravitate to the south end of that, but long length does seem a factor in percentage rejection.

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