Last year was a big year for me publication-wise. I had been submitting work to journals for a couple years, but to no avail. Looking back, I realize I wasn't submitting very aggressively. However, my first publication came last year in April and then exploded from there. While I'm not one who likes to brag, I think it's important to acknowledge personal and professional growth and feel good about our accomplishments. First I will highlight my acceptances for the year, then discuss my submissions stats.
My first publication came in February; my poem "My Hyacinth Girl" was accepted by Coal Hill Review, the online journal and press run by local publisher Autumn House. This felt like a weight had been lifted. I kept getting wonderful feedback from friends and mentors and others were shocked to find out I was not yet published. I am very happy with it finding a home at CHR.
Next my poem "Lessons in Aging and Agriculture" was published in Rougarou, an online journal for the University of Louisiana Lafayette. The acceptance came in May and it was published in the fall. I felt like I really targeted this submission well because this poem just fits perfectly with Rougarou's aesthetic.
Then I had the best week ever this past August, where I had six poems accepted in four publications. The emails came in this order:
August 10: "Upon Realizing I Am Filled With One Million Poems and Blame" were accepted in OVS Mag
August 14: "On Rainy Nights I Dream I Am Pregnant," and "Upon Realizing Men Could See Through My White Skirt" were accepted by Radioactive Moat
August 14: "Dear Outer Space" was accepted by Pear Noir! (my first print publication!)
August 16: "From Scratch" was accepted by dotdotdash (another print pub!)
That was the craziest week ever. I was sending so many withdrawal emails and I even had a couple journals contact me to accept poems I'd withdrawn. I felt bad about them not getting my email, but I usually turn that around to send a journal more poems quickly.
Then months passed without an acceptance. Many, MANY rejections, including one that really strung me along and eventually still rejected me. Then late November, my poem "First Laugh" was accepted by Redactions and shortly after "The Vicenarian or My Twenties So Far" was accepted by The Splinter Generation. The latter asked for some major edits which was a first for me. However, after working with the editor, I realize the poem is MUCH stronger now.
My year ended well with two poems getting picked up on New Year's Eve. Caper Literary Journal published "Where We'd Be" and "Upon Exiting Childhood" just a week or so ago.
So to summarize, in 2010 I had twelve poems published in nine journals. Since then I also had another few poems accepted, but that's for another blog post reflecting on 2011.
After looking over my total submissions that I sent out in 2010, I have discovered my stats are pretty darn good. I sent out 48 submissions last year, many to the same journals more than once because they encouraged me to resubmit. I analyzed my ridiculous spreadsheet this week to see what my exact numbers were. They are still subject to change at this point because I still have 10 submissions that I sent last year that I'm waiting to hear back on still. Aside from that, here is where I stand so far for 2010.
Acceptances: 22.92% (yay!)
Accept After Withdrawal: 4.17% (when editors accepted I piece I withdrew already)
No Response: 2.08% (never heard back from these editors)
Personal Rejections: 20.83% (the editor encouraged me, identified me or my poems by name, etc.)
Rejections: 25.00% (straight up no)
Withdrawals: 4.17% (I withdrew entire submission)
My rejections combine to around 45% which isn't that bad. Once I hear back from a few more journals that number will increase. But statistically speaking, more than 1 out of every 5 submissions gets accepted. I'd say I had a pretty good year. Here's hoping to 2011 being even better. So far my stats for 2011 are as follows:
I've only sent out 9 submissions this year so far. I better get going!