The inimitable Jessie Carty recently posted her 2012 poetry submission statistics, and I gobbled up that post, so I thought I'd do something similar. If you'd like to chime in with your own dirty submission secrets on your own site or blog, feel free to put the URL in the comments.
In 2012, I submitted 68 bundles of poems, collaborations, poetry comics, and short stories to various journals. 23 journals accepted my work, which makes for a 34% acceptance rate. I received 35 rejections. Ten journals never replied.
My collection of poems, Injecting Dreams into Cows, came out in 2012, but I can't count the manuscript as a 2012 submission -- I submitted it in 2009 and signed the contract in 2010. I did submit a book-length manuscript in 2012, a collection of diagram poem things I did with Daniel M. Shapiro. No answer yet.
What's that? You're wondering how much money I made? My total grosses for journal publications in 2012: three dollars. (This is Star*Line's minimum payment for short poems. Longer poems yield three cents a word.)
I did make some money from poetry, though, because I got paid about $250 for readings and presentations, plus I got a bottle of home-made vanilla extract, a re-usable iced coffee travel cup, a notebook made from recycled paper, and several free meals. I consider that a bang-up year. Yes, I spent more than $250 to support my habit, but I don't consider myself to be operating at a loss; I arranged all travel to coincide with things I was going to do anyway, or things I wanted to do, like visit faraway friends. And anyway, it would be a very foolish poet who went into it for the money.
Years ago I took a weekend writing workshop at the University of Iowa's Summer Writing Festival. Our instructor, Timothy Liu, said that he considered 33% to be a decent acceptance rate for poems. At the time, this seemed impossibly high to me, especially since Liu was submitting to the more prestigious, long-lived literary journals. I'm rather pleased -- and surprised -- to see that I got there in 2012. I doubt the journals that publish me would impress Liu, but they made me very happy -- my beloved Red Lightbulbs, for example, now defunct, and Menacing Hedge, and Arsenic Lobster.