Coffee Grinder logo with caption: The Grinder, brewing your submissions into something useful

FAQ and Definitions

'Cause sometimes you just need some answers.
If you have a question that's not answered here, drop us a line.

What is The Submission Grinder?
The Submission Grinder (or The Grinder for short) is a donation-based tool for writers to :
  • Search for publications to submit their work
  • View anonymized response time statistics based on other writer's submissions
  • Track their submissions
Our database grows daily in size and accuracy.
What is Diabolical Plots?
Started in the spring of 2008, Diabolical Plots is a genre zine edited by David Steffen. The focus is on speculative fiction with a significant bent toward the business and craft of writing. In 2015, Diabolical Plots started publishing original fiction. Diabolical Plots, LLC is entity that maintains both The Submission Grinder and Diabolical Plots.
An editor told me to report my submissions on this site. So here I am to tell you I got a rejection from Something Something Magazine.
Telling us about your submissions to us via the contact form is not what that editor meant by "reporting your submissions". They meant that you can register for an account for free and then log the submissions using the web interface. Your submissions and other submissions are combined and anonymized to give users information about market response times--editors sometimes suggest you track your submissions, because it rewards them for responding promptly by attracting more submitters.
Is the Submission Grinder the same as Grindr?
No relation. Yes we have heard the jokes. Get some new material.
Where do I start?
You can start by just using the search engine without registering, to see if you find some new markets you are interested in. Or you can start by using just the submission tracker to make sure you don't forget about a submission.
If you want a walkthrough of the major features, you might want to watch this user-made YouTube video that features a walkthrough of the site. The walkthrough is based on a previous version of the site, so the look and the some the features might differ some, but it's still a good overview. The site has had a major upgrade since then, so some of the look and features may differ, but as a whole this gives a sense of it.
If you do register, the most important page on the site for you is the Manage Submissions page under the Account menu, which you can use to track and view submissions.
Where do I upload my manuscript?
You don't. The Submission Grinder does not communicate with publications for you. The Grinder has no purpose for having your manuscripts.
I don't see a listing for a market. What do I do?
Use the Suggest Market form and we will write up a listing as soon as possible.
I've found something inaccurate in a market listing. What do I do?
Use the "Suggest Correction" link on the market listing and we will check and update the listing as soon as we can.
What do you mean donation-based? Does that mean it's free? But for how long?
We prefer "donation-based" to "free" because we depend on your generosity to keep running. Our operating costs are pretty low, but if we did run out we would prefer to close the site than to charge to access it. We take donations from users. We make royalties from ebook sales. We accept monthly sponsorships. We depend on user support to run the sites, and we appreciate every penny of it.
How exactly is the pay value chosen?
The pay value for any length category the LEAST that a writer can expect to be paid according to the market's guidelines, rounded down to the next lowest cent--For example, a market that only pays SOME authors will be marked as non-paying. In the case of pay schemes that are not simple per-word rates (such as flat payment amounts, the pay rate is estimated to cent-per-word rates for 1000-word intervals (the software was updated in 2020 to allow this granularity so some market listings may need to be updated yet!).

For instance if a magazine takes submissions from 0-10,000 words and pays $80, then the rate is:
  • Flash: 0-1000 words: 8 cents/word (8000 cents/1000 words)
  • Short Story: 1000-2000 words: 4 cents/word (8000 cents/2000 words)
  • Short Story: 2000-4000 words: 2 cents/word (8000 cents/4000 words)
  • Short Story: 4000-7500 words: 1 cent/word (8000 cents/7500 words) (ends at 7500 words because that is where Short Story category ends)
  • Novelette: 7500-8000 words: 1 cent/word (8000 cents/8000 words)
  • Novelette: 8000-10,000 words: <1 cent/word (8000 cents/10,000 words)
Do you have a graphic I can post on my submissions page to use to link to the Grinder?
Yes! And here it is!
Where does the name "The Submission Grinder" come from?
At the time that the site was launched Diabolical Plots had already existed for about five years, and had had a mad scientist writer image (based on artwork by Joey Jordan) for the site for most of that time. We came up with "The Submission Grinder" as a name by imagining how a mad scientist writer might deal with rejection letters, and we were amused by the idea of a tool on the mad scientist's desk that resembled a meat grinder where one could feed rejection slips and through some handwavy mad science it would produce a stream of statistics--based on the idea of users submitting their submissions and the Grinder computing response time statistics from them. The mad scientist would, of course, be cackling madly while they turn the crank.
Is my data safe?
While The Submissions Grinder is still considered to be a beta, we have taken steps to ensure your data integrity as well as protecting your identity.
We store all passwords as a one way hash, which means that no one can find out what the password is by accessing our data (not even us).
We host our sites on distributed cloud hosting which help minimize the potential for site outages.
We perform regular database backups as well to minimize data loss.
Can I use the site without signing up?
All of our listings, market response information, and search engines are publicly available and will remain that way. But why not sign up? It's free!
Can I log very old submissions?
Yes. There is no reason you can't log very old submissions.
Can I log submissions to a market that doesn't exist anymore?
Yes. You will need a "stub" listing for that, which is a listing with just the most basic information--which is either set to Permanently Closed or DNQ (for does not qualify for a listing). A "stub" is lacking the information to be a full listing and may only have a title.

To get a stub listing, use the Suggest a Market page under the Contact menu like you would for an existing market. It's extra nice if you use the URL space to say something explanatory like "permanently closed" or "doesn't take unsolicited subs". This will save us the time of trying to find the guidelines.
Can I log submissions to a market that doesn't take unsolicited submissions?
Yes, you'll need a stub listing (see previous answer)
Can I log submissions to a market that doesn't have guidelines written in English?
Yes, you'll need a stub listing (see previous answer)
I've found a bug! What do I do?!
First, stay calm. You aren't the first and I doubt you'll be the last. Next, try again and see if the bug is persistent. Finally, tell us about it.
I see monetary totals on the Dashboard page but I don't see where I enter the money. Where do those totals come from?
It's easy to miss, but every time you add or edit a submission, there is an expandable section titled "Post-Acceptance Fields" that contains extra fields that you will typically only use after a market accepts your story. The pertinent fields here are "Date of Payment" and "Amount Paid" which are both used to populate the monetary totals on the Dashboard page.
I have made money from writing but which isn't related to a submission (royalties or speaking fees or movie options or etc). How do I log that so that it shows up in my money totals on the Dashboard page?
There are plans in the works to provide that functionality, but that hasn't been written yet (at the time that I'm writing this. Hopefully I'll remember to delete this from the FAQ when it's released).

Our recommendation at this time is to use a bit of a workaround by logging a submission to a dummy listing called "Miscellaneous Writing Income". If you set it as "Lost/Never Responded" it won't mess with your Dashboard statistics much. Set the payment date and payment amount and you can either tag it for the story that earned you the money if it was related to a story, or you can make a dummy piece too like "Speaking Fees" or whatever.

This will be better at some point but hopefully this will serve your purpose.
Why isn't the Search By Name page finding a market by name when I search for this?
The Search By Name feature is very literal. It will look for a market that has the exact string of characters you provide. The most common things that interfere with finding things via Search by Name are:
  • Searching with a string that includes the word "magazine" or "journal" or other generic word that marks this as a publication. A magazine called "Fantasy" might sometimes call itself "Fantasy" and might sometimes call itself "Fantasy Magazine". You're usually better off just leaving off that word.

  • Misspelling a word. For instance, if you search for "Gigantosaurus" you will not find "Giganotasaurus"

  • Alternate forms of a word. Most especially "&" is not replaced with "and" or vice versa.

  • Generally you get the best results if you pick the shortest portion of the name that is likely to be distinctive. The search engine does not assume that what you have search for is a WHOLE WORD like some search engines do. So, if you search for "intergal" you will find "Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show", for instance.

    Also keep in mind that there is an alphabetical listing, so if you know what letter it starts with, you can look there (Markets that start with "The" and "A" are alphabetized under that article for now, that will be fixed at some point)
    If I get a rewrite request and I do the rewrite, should I make a new submission for that?
    Our recommendation is to set "Rewrite Request" as the end of that particular submission and log a new submission if you decide to revise and resubmit to the editor.

    The Submission Grinder is brought to you by Diabolical Plots, our future robot overlords, Benjamin C. Kinney, and many others!
    Copyright © 2022 Diabolical Plots, LLC, All Rights Reserved.