By popular demand, a quick note on the rejection math statistic from last time.  Said slightly differently, tell me again why it is that it’s going to take Tor.com 132 years to buy my story?

Here’s the way the math works.  We start with the average response time for a rejection, which varies widely in the industry.  Some markets (Lightspeed) are very fast, and will happily reject your story in just a couple of days.  Others, less so.  Tor.com is an outlier, with an average response time of (according to Duotrope) 154 days for those stories they reject.

We then divide that number by the acceptance rate, which in the case of Tor.com is 0.32%.  This is the same as multiplying by one over the acceptance rate- that is, the reciprocal.  The reciprocal tells you have many times on average you will have to submit for each acceptance, which, in the case of Tor.com, is 1 / .0032 = 312.5.

So if it’s 154 days per rejection, and it requires 312 attempts per success, then 154 * 312 = just over 48000 days, or 132 years.

You can repeat this same math on any market for which you have the data (and I did, in the previous post, though you probably have to click on the image to read the numbers).  In some ways it’s a uselessly grim exercise, but it does serve to temper expectations if nothing else.  In practice, about the only thing I actually do with these kind of data are stay away from markets with absurdly long cycle times.  My  goal is to tighten the feedback loop, because first and foremost I am trying to get better as a writer, and it doesn’t do me much good when a story drops into a black hole for six months when I’d rather be working actively on it.

End of math lesson.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog…

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