If you’re a writer trying to get your work published in a literary magazine or by a publisher, you probably know that it’s not as simple as it sounds.
Yes, a lot of your success rides on your ability to write something good and that publishers will love, but that’s just the beginning.
Once you’ve written and revised your masterpiece, you need to know where to submit your work if you want anyone besides your mom to ever read it.
Finding the right home for your writing will take a lot of research and many hours spent sifting through submission guidelines, but there are resources out there that can help save you time and energy so you can focus on writing more material. One of those resources is Duotrope.
What Is Duotrope?
Duotrope is a publisher listing service that helps writers find agents and publishers so they can focus on creating. As I’m writing this, the site currently lists over 7,000 active fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art publishers and agents.
While writers can certainly find publishers and agents on their own, all that research takes time—dozens of precious hours that could be spent writing, revising, or working on marketing plans for the book.
Just imagine all the spreadsheets, all the blood, sweat, and tears that would go into finding publications that are looking for your specific genre right now, then tracking all your submissions and responses from those publications? It’s practically a part-time job!
But you can outsource this job to writing marketplace subscriptions like Duotrope. Since 2005, Duotrope has been gathering vast amounts of publisher data and applying proprietary algorithms to ensure their reports are as clean and accurate as possible.
According to their About page, Duotrope checks each listing’s guidelines once a month, so users can be sure to get the most up-to-date information.
Below are some of the stand-out features offered by Duotrope that can make your life as a writer much easier when it comes to submitting your work.
With over 7,200 listings, Duotrope offers more detailed data than any other market resource. The site is also proud of its impartiality, as it is ad-free and does not accept payment from any publisher for a listing or to promote a project.
Advanced Search Feature
Duotrope’s advanced search feature offers over 20 criteria to help writers find the right publisher for their genre, style, or length.
This allows users to sort through literary magazines and publishers based on the word count, payment policy, style, etc. that those groups are seeking.
It’s also possible to save filtered searches within specific criteria, to save time and energy on future research.
This is an excellent way to discover publications, agents, publishers, and even writing contests that you might otherwise never have heard of, but that are looking for work like yours.
If you’re not a fan of spreadsheets (and what writer is?), the submissions tracker will be your new best friend. This feature allows users to record the market, title, and other information about the submitted piece, along with the date it was sent and the response it got.
These notes will then appear in the control panel, where users can also keep lists of deadlines and their favorite markets or publications.
This definitely streamlines the submissions process and allows writers to keep all of their notes stored neatly in one place, instead of multiple Excel files or shelves full of files.
Millions of Data Points
Not only can you find markets for precisely the kind of writing you do, but you can also get insightful statistics about each publishers listed.
This includes the percentage of submissions that are accepted, how long it takes to get a response, and whether rejections are form letters or include a more personal note or critique.
Plus, for more popular markets, it gives you information about where authors who’ve been published in a given magazine have also gotten acceptances. This makes it pretty easy to start planning your next round of submissions.
Regular Market Updates
You can receive regular market updates either through the site or delivered straight to your inbox. Easily keep track of which markets are opening, closing, or changing their submissions status.
How Much Does Duotrope Cost?
Duotrope offers 2 subscription terms: monthly or annual.
Annual: $50 per year (12 months for the price of 10)
New subscribers can also take advantage of a free 7-day trial period before being charged.
There are even gift certificates available for purchase, from $5 (one month of access) to $100 (2 years of access), which could make the perfect gift for your writer friends or colleagues!
Who Should Use Duotrope?
Duotrope could be an excellent time-saving and organizing resource for many writers and artists.
If you’re busy, want to save more time for writing or your family, and especially if you’ve got quite a bit of work that you’d like to submit, then you should definitely consider a Duotrope subscription.
At just $5 a month, the cost is actually quite minimal, considering how much easier it makes your research and submission process. After all, this is where Duotrope can really come in handy.
If all you need is a submission tracker, you can create an Excel sheet for free—but the scope offered by Duotrope when it comes to its listings can’t be beat, and just having that info available at your fingertips will save you lots of time.
However, if you aren’t quite ready to submit your work, you might not find yourself benefitting much from the site, except for some insightful data, which could be helpful to you in the future.
Of course, whether or not Duotrope is “worth it” will come down to your specific needs, time constraints, how many submissions you plan on making, and how much time and research you’re willing to put into those submissions.
For many writers, a simple spreadsheet might work just fine, but many others might find that the streamlined research process is worth the $5 rather than combing the web for leads. You might try a free alternative, such as Poets and Writers, to find publications that might be interested in your work
In any case, you can try a free trial of Duotrope to test it out and see if you like it before subscribing. (If you decide it’s not for you, just remember to cancel when your trial period is over to avoid being charged!)
Writing Marketplace Subscriptions
Whether or not you will benefit from a writing marketplace subscription depends a lot on how much work and time you’re willing to put in to finding a home for your writing.
Duotrope is just one writing marketplace that can help save you time and make your research easier so you can focus on writing and get your work published.
Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!
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