I’ve mentioned Duotrope’s Digest here before, I’m sure. It’s a website/service that helps you keep track of your submissions and collects data on markets so that you can get some sense of how long you’ll be waiting on any particular submission, as well as how likely you might be to get your piece accepted.
When I started using Duotrope’s Digest, the service was free, though they were always accepting donations (and I would donate whenever I could), but last year they went paid because they were struggling under upkeep costs. You can pay by the month, but the most economical way is to plunk down $50 for a year of the service, which I think is a good deal for all that the service offers: submissions tracking, detailed statistics, a searchable database of markets. And so I’ve paid. I’ve got a lot of submissions logged there over the years, and that alone has been enough to keep my business.
Now, though, there’s another option. (Actually, they’ve been around since sometime after Duotrope went paid in 2012, but I only found it, via Cat Rambo’s Twitter, very recently.) The (Submission) Grinder is, well, pretty much the same thing as Duotrope, though at the moment, they only track fiction markets (which is most of what I’m writing and trying to sell anyway, so that don’t make no nevermind to me right now). They’re also free and aim to stay that way.
So, other than not needing to pay and only being able (at the moment) to track fiction markets, what’s the difference?
The first, and most noticeable difference to my eye is that the Grinder’s submission tracker includes fields for tracking if and when you’ve been paid and when your piece has actually seen publication. Beyond that, they also keep track of which markets have been recognized by SFWA and which have been nominated for or have won Hugo or Nebula awards, which is pretty snazzy.
So which should you use?
If you only write fiction and currently don’t use either service, you really can’t beat free. If you already use Duotrope (and/or you write more than just fiction), you may as well get your money’s worth. However, if you’re a Duotroper and a fiction-writer, especially one who likes getting paid, it may be worth your while to contribute your data to the Grinder–it’s not much more work, and it helps them provide more accurate statistics. And, hey; it’s free.