Tuesday 8 January 2013

Duotrope Alternative: Submitomancy

Guest post from Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, Founder of Submitomancy

Deborah Walker is a writer, poet, all-around neat person and a friend of mine.

She's also a submissions beast.

I consider myself to be pretty good about getting submissions out there. I’ve been in two submissions challenges with her and she has literally wiped the floor with me. When I was imagining the perfect submissions tool, of course I thought about how other people would use it. And then I thought about how people might break it. And then I thought about Deborah.

That’s not really fair. But I did specifically consider heavy usage of the site and how that would affect the running costs. That’s why all the resource-hungry functions (for example, the way I frantically
keep up-to-date with recent market responses) are all part of the pay-for service. That keeps the site safe from becoming a victim of its own success as the more people who want options means the more
people who are helping to cover the running costs.

But I know that Deborah is saner than I am, at least when it comes to obsessing over responses. So the next consideration came from a different angle:

"How would I get Deborah to use this? How would I make it worth her money to subscribe?"

And that is a lot more interesting to look at.

First of all, the system needs to not slow her down. It has to be fast and easy to fill in the details for each manuscript. The power search has to load her criteria at the click of a button. And tracking each
submission has to be quick so she can move onto the next. It isn’t enough for the system to make it easier, it has to make it faster.

Second, I needed to consider pen names. Deborah Walker is also Kelda Crich and when she’s looking at her submissions, she needs to be able to track which submissions and sales were Kelda’s, without having to
pretend to be two people. Now obviously I am not going to try to track every possible piece of data that a writer might find important, that would be crazy. But it is easy to add a custom field per manuscript, which writers can use to track certain keywords. So Deborah can simply mark those stories as Kelda and when she’s looking at her results, she filters by that field. Now she’s got her submission responses nicely split between names.

Which brings me to the third point: stats. Deborah and I both geek out over numbers and I know that if I promise reports, she’ll fill out the forms. At the end of the year, I want her to be able to play with the
results and see not just her her sales but her total submissions, break-downs of her favorite markets and the types of responses received.
I want her to be able to see, at a glance, which types of stories are getting the most personal responses, maybe by genre or word count or even gender of the protaganist. And I think she’d be really interested
in market reports that showed actual stats for the stories accepted with similar breakdowns.

If there’s enough interest in Submitomancy then I’ll be looking at reporting options more seriously in February, along with the Early Access subscribers. But reports are only as good as the data that goes
into them and the data is only useful if there is a critical mass of users. That’s why I’ve put Submitomancy up as an Indiegogo campaign. Subscribing now gives a discount on membership but it also will prove, if successful, that enough users plan to use the service to make it useful.

That’s why I’m asking writers to show their support now. If you think Submitomancy would offer a service that you would like, or even if you just want to help Deborah double her submission rate next year, then please support the campaign and tell your friends.

Visit the Submitomancy Campaign to find out more or to support the cause-- djw


  1. I've been thinking of a duotrope substitute. I'll at least check out the indigogo page.

  2. Awesome post, and pleased to meet you, Sylvia.

    This is cool information. I'll have to look into it some more. :)

  3. Hurray! Thank you, that's all I ask. :)

  4. Ooo, that sounds like an awesome program! :)

  5. It sounds like a fantastic program.

  6. Be a cool program. I have a publisher already but many others are still looking.