I’ve got a few stories out for consideration at different outlets right now. They keep getting to the second or even third read stage before getting rejected. Most of the story review process is pretty opaque to writers submitting stories, and I think that is something that could definitely change with better metrics and tools, but the Submission Grinder gives you a pretty good idea of how far along in the review process a particular outlet is.
The Submission Grinder is an amazing tool and probably the only reason I have been able to find and submit to as many outlets as I have. It depends on writers to track their own submissions, rejections, and acceptances, but even with incomplete data you can usually get a pretty good idea where your particular piece is in the process.
You can see how fast they are moving through submissions, and in the case of a couple I have out right now, how far past the usual rejection window they are. If it’s only a few days, that’s probably just normal lag, and it might be that no one has read it yet. If it’s a week or more, it’s probably being reviewed by another person on their editorial team. If it’s months passed the usual cutoff, either they lost it or you’re going to be receiving a personal rejection letter with comments and maybe an explanation why they passed on it. While an acceptance would always be preferable, those rejection letters are better than the usual form letters.
One could easily wonder why anyone would do this. Why would you spend weeks or even months writing a story just to have it be rejected over and over. I honestly can’t say that I would recommend it. But, and this is a huge but, I think I am ok at this story writing thing. I think if I keep doing it, I could be very good at it. I haven’t run out of ideas yet, and it doesn’t look like I ever will. I might as well write them down and send them out. They aren’t doing anyone any good if I just think about them.