Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Statistics including Total Words Published

Statistics. Some people are more numbers-driven than others, and this includes writers. I’m one of those that closely tracks my ‘writing numbers.’

Tracking is important. It’s important to keep track of submissions—what was sent to which market, when and the response, including date. Nothing fancy, just a necessary method to keep track of multiple articles and fiction pieces that are sometimes out there awaiting a decision for months and maybe even years.

I’ll get back to some of my statistics as far as submission, rejections, and acceptances in future posts. But for right now I’ll share one of the most basic stats I track: Number of Words Written vs. the Number of Words Accepted for Publication.

As of today:
Total Words Accepted for Publication: 183,200
Total Words Written for Publication: 391,100
Success Rate: 46.8%

A respectable success rate, but I’m shooting for 100%. Currently, I have all but one completed piece out on submission. The single idle piece is an article on turtles titled The Turtle Road Show. The problem is that the number of markets for articles with such content is limited. Still, my goal is to find a home for that article and every other work I complete.

Speaking of my goal with respect to this tracking effort: One million words published. It’ll be more than a few years before I'll have written a million words intended for publication (articles, short stories, novels) and certainly much longer, I suspect, before having a million words published. Maybe it's silly, but it’s a goal I’m shooting for.

And what happens if I reach 1,000,000 words? I’ll probably strive to double it.


  1. I believe once you get a few novels published, your percentage will increase drastically. Reaching 100% is not impossible.

  2. Sandy,

    Thanks for the encouragement. One novel (Flank Hawk) has been accepted an will be published, hopefully before 2009 ends, and I have a second sitting on the executive editor's desk at a pretty major house.

    You can only write the best stories you can and submit them to markets that appear to be good fits. We'll see what happens.

  3. Good luck with your goal, Terry. I don't think that goal is impossible either. Not for you.

  4. Thanks for the support. One thing a goal must be is attainable. This one could take time, but like you said, not impossible.

  5. Terry, that's a very interesting (and scientific) method of tracking and pushing yourself.

    I'd say it does two things: it both motivates you to write and submit more and more work, and pushes you to become more efficient at writing. But these might go without saying.

    Interestingly, I first read those stats as the difference between what you submit and what is published from the standpoint of editing, but I'm not sure that's what you meant. Are you referring to that aspect, or rather which stories are picked up versus passed?

    Congratulations again. Keep pushing.

  6. J. Jones,

    This set of stats refers to what stories, novels, and articles I've written and edited with the intent of finding a market to publish them.

    In thruth, every story/novel/article I begin is written for the pupose of being read, and thus finding a market that will accept it.

    Addressing your final question, the statistics are based on stories/articles/novels that have been finished and submitted (total words written for pubication) and those that have found a market that accepted them for publication (total words accepted for publication).