Since Duotrope went to its pay-to-play format, I’ve been following the development of some competing market databases and submission trackers. I wrote about new development effort (Submitomancy) a few days ago. And now I’ve learned about a new submission tracker whose beta just went online. Author and fellow Codex member David Steffen and Anthony Sullivan, the two minds behind the Diabolical Plots website (one of my favorite websites), have created The Grinder. They describe their new creation as:
[A]n alternative to the long loved tool Duotrope. Recently Duotrope has announced plans to go to a subscription model. We believe that the value of Duotrope lies in its availability and any attempt to restrict access will dilute and diminish what makes Duotrope great.
I’ve already set up an account with The Grinder, and I’ve spent some time exploring some of its features. It is a beta, and as such has some bugs in it, but the developers are extremely responsive and working hard to fix any problems. The Grinder has all the search features of Duotrope, and the submission tracker looks familiar, too, which makes everything fairly easy to use. It will also take your submission data from Duotrope (you can download your data from Duotrope into a comma-delineated file, assuming you still have access), so you can easily transfer your entire submission history to The Grinder. I ran into a small glitch transferring my data, but some quick assistance from David and Anthony got everything uploaded and good to go. I even logged my recent rejection into the new tracker!
One thing I haven’t played around with too much is the market search feature. Like in Duotrope, you can search on variety of genre, story lengths, etc. I ran one quick search, and The Grinder seemed to already have a large number of markets loaded into it. If David and Anthony can continue to improve the The Grinder and fix the bugs, this site will be an exceptional Duotrope alternative.
Best of all, The Grinder is free to use, and the developers are determined to keep it that way. David and Anthony understand the value of data generated by users, and feel that user data is worth something, and that something is access to the submission tracker and search engine. I agree, and I think that this something that Duotrope lost sight of—users generate the data that makes them relevant, and so that data is worth something. Under Duotrope’s current pay-to-play format, they don’t seem to value what the users bring to the mix, and that might ultimately lead to their end. Hopefully the developers of The Grinder will be able to find a way to keep their site free to users by running the occasional donation campaign, installing a donate button, or running banner ads. So head over and register now. The more users in the system, the better the data will be.