Bartleby Snopes Writing Blog

Becoming a Better Writer

Growth of a Lit Mag: 2014 in Review

2014 was the seventh year of publication for Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine—and by far the most successful. We believe in transparency and doing our part to help the writing community, so we want to share our data with readers and writers.

Submission Stats

Let’s take a look at submissions first. This year saw a huge increase in the number of submissions we received. During 2014, we received 3,325 submissions. This is up from 2,199 in 2013, which means we had over 50% more submissions this year.

Our most popular category was “flash fiction with feedback,” which saw over 850 submissions. The “with feedback” categories continue to dominate the “without feedback” options, although we did see growth there as well. Writers are more than twice as likely to request feedback as they are to opt out.

BS 2014 review subs

So what did we do with all those submissions? Here’s a brief recap:

We accepted a total of 112 submissions. This includes the 96 stories we published in our regular monthly issues, as well as our Dialogue Contest winners and artwork submissions for the semi-annual print magazine. This puts our acceptance rate at 3.37%, which is down from 4.8% last year. Of course, it’s never our goal to lower our acceptance rate, but we do continue to raise our standards as more submissions roll in for a finite number of slots.

Our eight editors kept very busy this year. Combined, we “voted” on submissions 8,997 times in Submittable. Here is a breakdown of those votes:

  • 370 “Yes” votes
  • 571 “Maybe” votes
  • 8,059 “No” votes

A “No” vote doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t like a story or that we don’t think the writing is good. In many cases, a “No” simply means we aren’t the right venue for the story. This is true of virtually any publication. Many of the stories we reject end up published elsewhere. This in no way is an indication of the inherent quality of our lit mag versus theirs. Much of it comes down to taste, style, aesthetic, or whatever you want to call it.

Traffic Stats

2014 wasn’t just a record year for submissions. We also saw extraordinary growth in our website traffic. The correlation here is pretty obvious. If you get more submissions, you certainly will be getting more traffic to the website. Just how much more did we get? Well…

In 2013, we had approximately 31,000 visits (Google Analytics refers to these as “sessions” now) to the site, about 17,500 of which were unique visitors. These visitors accounted for approximately 83,000 page views (please note that 2013 stats are not exact because of some missing Analytics data from January).

Fast forward to 2014, and here’s what we saw:

BS 2014 review analyticsThe site had a 68% increase in visits, an 83% increase in unique visitors, and a 90% increase in page views. So more people came to the site, they came more often, and they looked at more pages. What exactly does 157,966 page views mean for your published story? It means people are actually reading it.

Other News from 2014

This year saw several other steps forward for Bartleby Snopes. These include (in no particular order of importance):

  • Expanding our staff to 8
  • Publishing 2 brand new flash novels in print and e-book
  • Creating artwork to accompany each Story of the Month winner
  • Giving away over $2300 to our Dialogue Contest finalists
  • Awarding $25 to each Story of the Month winner (beginning in the final quarter of 2014)
  • Redesigning our website for the first time since 2008
  • Launching the Bartleby Snopes Blog
  • Providing complimentary contributor copies to all authors and illustrators accepted for our semi-annual print issues
  • Hosting our first-ever themed issue (Everything October)
  • Publishing 96 amazing stories

So what’s ahead for 2015? More great fiction, more money to contributors, and hopefully much more readership.

To all of our readers, whether devoted fans or first-time viewers: Thank you for making 2014 our best year yet. Now let’s do even better in 2015.

Nathaniel Tower

Nathaniel Tower is the founding and managing editor of Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine and Press. Find out more about Nathaniel at nathanieltower.com.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebook

2 Comments

  1. I don’t know if it’s possible, but could you conjure up statistics on the views of individual stories? (Mine, of course.) I’m curious about how many readers in might have had, how recently it’s been viewed, that kind of thing.

    • Hey Paul, thanks for the suggestion. We’d love to share even more data regarding views and readership. Unfortunately, we don’t have full data for stories that were published prior to the beginning of 2014. During our redesign, we discovered many of the earlier stories hadn’t been tracked at all. Everything is fixed now, so we’ll be able to provide better data in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*