The Low Cost and High Benefit of Using Duotrope

Duotrope, as of January 1st, 2013, is now a subscription based service. Why, you ask? Duotrope has this to say:

 “For over seven years, Duotrope has tried to make ends meet by asking those who use the website or subscribe to our newsletter to contribute a small amount. Unfortunately, only about 10% of those who have used our services have ever contributed, and we haven’t met any of our monthly goals since 2007. Quite simply, we can no longer afford to run Duotrope this way.”

So, in essence, because of the stinginess (or at least perceived stinginess) of the Duotrope community, their hand was forced.

Conventional wisdom might assert that this is a terrible decision and that the switch to premium based accounts would undoubtedly lower the traffic and use of Duotrope. I believe that this is false. For one, Duotrope’s subscription based service is a middling $5 a month, or $50 for a full year. For the services that Duotrope offers (more on that later), it is a veritable steal. I understand that I sound like a Duotrope spokesperson but I assure you I’m not getting a dime of your possible $5. From an affordability stance, $5 is less that what one pays for a soda and a candy bar anymore

Frankly, the $5 a month fee is worth it alone for Duotrope’s submission manager. Rather than having to keep a mental list or an Excel spreadsheet of all of your submissions and progress, Duotrope does this for you. Granted, it still requires manual input because one does not submit directly through Duotrope; to offset that, by reporting one’s submissions and acceptances/rejections, statistics are produced that give one an idea of how stringent or lenient a journal may be. For example, we may have all heard how selective Beloit Poetry Journal is, but at Duotrope, there are statistical averages: based on 1009 reports over the last 12 months, BPJ rejects 96.73% of all submissions. These numbers are not meant to dissuade an aspiring author, but rather give them notice of how selective a journal is, reinforcing the idea of submitting only one’s absolute best work.

Duotrope also features arguably the best search index for writers of any genre. Do you write erotic surreal horror stories? Duotrope can find a journal for you. General free verse poetry? Duotrope will help you to narrow down your results because you will receive over 800 hits. Duotrope currently boasts a database of 4,845 markets. Markets include print, electronic, and audio publications, 39 different countries of publication and payment scales from nothing to professional as well as royalties. A note on payments, however: “professional payment” varies between fiction and poetry. For poetry, a professional payment is considered anything from $50 and up whereas for fiction, 5 US cents and up (so a 3,000 word story could garner from $150 to thousands). There are other payment types in-between such as “token” and semi-pro. The best source of information on this would be 1) the journal in question’s Duotrope page or 2) Duotrope’s own glossary:

There are some downsides, of course. Some markets don’t update their postings very often so you will often have to check with the website for up to date information (though Duotrope itself lists this as a disclaimer on every market page). Navigation can be a cumbersome at times and even though the submission tracker is a great tool, if you submit multiple stories/poems in a single sitting, it can be a bit tedious to go through and manually enter information; the statistics gleaned from the tracker can also be a bit slanted at times simply because not everyone reports when they submit or even when they are accepted/rejected.  With these sparse qualms in mind though, the $5 a month asking price is more than suitable for Duotrope. The odds of you finding some of these markets based on Google or other internet searches is pretty low either from other markets padding the results with money or simply growing weary of dozens of pages without results. There’s really nothing to lose by subscribing to Duotrope. If you still go unpublished, the sheer amount of journals that are added to Duotrope monthly will doubtlessly keep your writing mind up to snuff. Who knows, maybe you’ll even publish a piece about not getting published. All thanks to Duotrope.

Bryce Bullins is a senior at Sierra Nevada College and currently an editor for the Sierra Nevada Review as well as Secretary of the Creative Writing 1185103_493500820740384_1027424062_nClub. He is majoring in English with a minor in music (classical voice). He has interests in philosophy (continental), sociopolitical systems, music, and abstraction. When not writing poetry or reviews, he is practicing voice or has his nose buried in a book (or e-book reader) or is polluting his ears with sonic vibrations.

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