Capitalism conquers Duotrope
I have long been an advocate of the website Duotrope as a source for short fiction market listings and tracking story submissions. It is great for predicting response times and acceptance ratios. The search functionality and market categorization is good for targeting stuff. I have also supported supporting Duotrope financially through donations. I’ve donated several times, though I don’t think I did this past year since I haven’t been subbing many short stories and thus haven’t been using the site.
Alas, the site has grown to the point where donations seem no longer sufficient to sustain it and they are going to subscription only. I get it, but part of what makes Duotrope so useful will die with this change, particularly the response time tracking. Duotrope was the ultimate source for response tracking because so many people were reporting there, largely because it was a great place to track submissions for free. I suspect you’ll still be able to report responses, but you won’t be able to access that information without a subscription so the benefits of reporting will be vastly reduced. Reduced benefits lead to reduced reporting which leads to reduced quality of the information. From my perspective, charging for the service will make the service no longer worth the price. Ironic, no?
So will I subscribe? Probably with the monthly plan, $5 per month. That way I can drop a little money and use it when I need it and let it go when I don’t. The annual subscription of $50 will be a bit steep for how I use it and would eat most if not all of my likely annual writing income unless I can sell a novel.
Is it really worth subscribing to a paid list to find non-paying markets? Or token paying markets? Not for me, even if I did still send to those markets. Besides, I’ve sent to enough markets that I can probably find a lot of that info in my own records. And there is always Ralan’s for a market list.
I’m afraid $50 is just too rich for my blood. I suspect I’m not alone. And I’m sad about it. I still support the mission of Duotrope, but I fear that a subscription will reduce its relevance in the fiction world. The change is set to take hold January 1st. If you use Duotrope and aren’t planning to subscribe, be sure you download your stats before then. I keep a spreadsheet, but I’ll have to make sure it’s current. Duotrope helped me get my career where it is today. I hope it can make the transition to a pay-based site and maintain that value for the subscribers. Good luck to them, but I won’t be a regular there.