Putting Your Work Through the Mill: The Submissions Grinder

Screenshot from the Submissions GrinderAs a follow-up to Sylvia’s guest post about Submitomancy, I asked David Steffen, who’s working on a similar project for a Duotrope replacement, to write about his Submissions Grinder. Here’s David:

The announcement in late 2012 that Duotrope was going paid caused a (relative) uproar in the writing community. The problem wasn’t that they wanted money. It was that requiring a subscription fee to use
the site drives away the most valuable asset the site has to offer–submission data. Everything else that Duotrope had to offer could be found somewhere else, but their submission tracker combined with market listings and statistics aggregation offered a tool for writers. Even for those people who are willing to pay $50, they are now paying $50 for what even Duotrope estimates will be perhaps 15% of their prior user base.

Anthony Sullivan and I have created a replacement, called the Submission Grinder (http://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/), with the intent of milling your submissions into something useful… Because we’re hosting this new project as a subodmain of our zine Diabolical Plots (http://www.diabolicalplots.com/) we wanted the name to sound like something the mad scientist of our site art would invent and use.

We are starting out with the promise that we will never charge a compulsory fee for subscription. We think that’s the primary way where Duotrope has gone wrong, in driving away the data. We may open for donations at some point, and may run some kind of Kickstarter campaign. But rather than ask the world to donate to us for a theoretical product, we would rather provide a concrete product that people can use, soon enough after January 1st to allow a decent handoff, and then ask for donations from people who like what we have provided at a later time.

Phase One of our project is complete, in which the goal was to create something that could replace Duotrope’s functionality as close to January 1st as possible. And we’re there, with market listings, a submissions tracker, and compiled statistics. The site is in beta right now as we resolve some issues, but it gets better every day and there is daily development work being done on it. We are the first site aiming at the Duotrope userbase to become available for use.

The next phase involves adding new features that Duotrope has never provided, including new statistics based on only your own works, visualization of submissions data (rather than only numbers), and more!

Do you want to help? Here are ways that you can help right now.

  1. Register on the site.
  2. Did you get an export file from Duotrope? Import that into your account. You can pick up right where you left off and it gives more data to provide more robust statistics, as well as giving us new blank market listings for the markets you’ve submitted to (which we will fill in as time goes on).
  3. Suggest new market listings.
  4. Submit bug reports, and suggestions for new features/enhancements. We’re writers too, and anything that you suggest that would be useful (or at least something that appeals to statistics-lovers even if not
    strictly useful) will get us excited. The comment thread at this link would be a good place: http://www.diabolicalplots.com/?p=3176
  5. Help us spread the word. The more the merrier. The more writers import and track their data, the more useful the statistics will be, the more useful the site as a whole will be, the more users will come. Blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Stumbleupon, posts on writing forums, emails to writer friends, sky writing, bathroom graffiti, any other way that you can think to share this link with the world.
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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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