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Duotrope: Our Story, Our Mission, Our Values

An art exhibition with the words 'Everyone has a story' with a collection of books and portraits. (Photo by Maegan Martin.)

Our Origin Story

Let's take you back to 2005. If you were a writer back then, all of this will sound painfully familiar. At that time, the internet was fairly new and shiny. When writers wanted to find places to submit, they reached for a big, bulky paper book that was already out of date by the time it rolled off the printing press. There were some resources online, but they were all genre-specific, and while some were well-maintained, others were simply… not.

Most submissions were sent via postal mail, and nothing was more frustrating than going through the trouble of printing, collating, and mailing a submission, only to get a letter back a few weeks later that said they "aren't accepting submissions at this time."

Duotrope began as one writer's attempt to bring some sanity to that chaos with a personal database of publishers that she painstakingly kept as up to date as possible. After using it for a few months for herself, she decided to make it available to other writers, and Duotrope was born.

Duotrope took off quickly, entirely by word-of-mouth. Before long, what started as one person's side project became a fully-fledged business with a happy group of employees—the Duotroopers.

Duotrope was self-funded from the very first payment of $29.95 that brought the site online. (My, how the costs of web hosting have changed!) While we have had offers of partnership and outside investment, we have always refused. We think it's better to stay independent, in order to ensure that we serve the needs of the community and not the needs of outside investors.

In 2013, Duotrope transitioned to a paid, subscription service in order to be able to support our full-time employees. Since then, we have not raised our prices. Not once. Not a single penny. Not even as our costs have increased (and increased and increased).

With the unprecedented amount of data we have gathered in our 18 years monitoring the publishing industry, we are able to bring transparency to a world that was previously hidden behind a veil. How long do writers actually have to wait for a response? How often do agents say "yes!"? We are proud that our statistics can answer these important questions and help submitters make educated decisions about where to submit.

Our Mission

Our primary mission continues to be to provide the best, most accurate writers' resource of the 21st century. Everyone on our staff spends hours every day simply keeping the listings up to date. No other resource is that dedicated to keeping timely and accurate listings. We don't wait for editors and writers to contact us about changes. We are proactive about checking our listings and keeping them as up to date as humanly possible.

In addition to that, our mission is to uphold our values:

  • We will remain independent and not beholden to outside investors.
  • Our pricing and policies are always evaluated from a perspective of fairness. This will not change.
  • We will continue to evolve as the industry evolves, to be quick and nimble.
  • We endeavor to ensure the information we provide is helpful and actionable, so writers and artists can get right back to creating new and wondrous things.
  • We will not forget who we exist to serve—the writing and publishing community.

  With love,
The Duotroopers

A mural with the words 'To Be Continued.' (Photo by Reuben Juarez.)