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Duotrope VS The Grinder

If you're a writer without an agent, you're probably spending way too much time searching for potential publishers. I search on google, I log on MS Excel. I have the skills to do it myself, but I have not been writing all summer. Why? Because I'm juggling the submissions of 1 novel, 3 short stories, multiple poems and a novella. It doesn't seem like much, but when you factor in the searching, the rejections and re-submissions, it can become quite time consuming.

The second issue with google searches is the results are saturated with outdated calls for submissions. I read, I get excited and then buried somewhere in the text is the end date of the call. I have seen some that are five years old.

I need to write - not spend so much time submitting. So the question is:

  • Should I try an agent who will take approximately 14% of my royalties and might not even search and submit for me (not all agents perform those tasks)? 
  • Or should I move to a query database online to refine my searches?
I decided to try the query database. I looked at quite a few and settled on Duotrope because of the following:
  • a database of current fiction, non-fiction and poetry markets
  • a search feature for those markets
  • a deadline calendar
  • a way for writers to track and log their submissions
  • useful stats on each market

Just as I was cringing at the thought of spending $50 US (couldn't find any online coupons), I did a last search and found The Submission Grinder.

The Submission Grinder is also a database of current markets that offers a search function and an opportunity for writers to log and track their submitted writing. And it's free. 

Is it valid?
  • 2252 listed markets (1039 open)
  • 1372 users
The search feature is wonderfully complex. Writers can search markets by story genre, style, subject and length AND market pay scale, submission type (electronic/postal), response time OR market name. Writers can also request the search only return markets that allow simultaneous submissions or reprints. Or select only anthologies or contests in the returns. However, you can only search Fiction markets.

Another interesting feature is the option to log your submissions and report on response times. This collection information creates a database on each market that can provide reports. You can use the reports to compare your response results with the average market responses. (Sign up for the next blog, which will focus on this topic).

I'm going with The Submission Grinder. It's free. I can't lose. I spent a hour on it yesterday. I searched markets for a number of my submit-ready writings. Out of the search results I'm getting a 75% success rate, which means 75% of the returns are valid, current markets who could potentially publish my work. In google I was finding approximately 1 potential market per 4 pages of returned results. That's a lot of wasted time and effort. 

Here's hoping The Submission Grinder improves my efficiency. Let me know if you've tried it and what you think in the comment section.


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