I’ve tried to record some statistics for my anthologies when I can, because I find it interesting myself, and I know that some people like to know this stuff! In the past six months or so, I’ve been reading for Insert Title Here, an unthemed speculative fiction anthology. While it takes a bit of extra time, I recorded (to the best of my ability) the vital statistics of the submissions, and here’s a bit of a breakdown about the slush. The usual disclaimer: I’m an editor/publisher, not a statistician!
252 submissions from at least 16 countries, for a total of over 1,200,000 words.
Gender breakdown 1 unknown, 92 F, 2 M/F duo, 157 M.
Story submissions by country: 76 Australia, 2 Belgium, 9 Canada, 2 Greece, 2 Ireland, 1 Israel, 1 Italy, 1 N. Ireland, 7 New Zealand, 1 Norway, 1 Philippines, 2 Singapore, 1 Sweden, 1 Czech Republic, 33 UK, 106 US, 6 unknown.
19 stories were accepted for Insert Title Here (plus 11 for an alternative anthology that emerged from the slushpile. I also solicited two further works for ITH).
Of the 19 accepted stories for Insert Title Here, 9 female authors, 1 F/M combo, 9 male authors (2 additional stories both by female writers). All 11 for alternative anthology by female writers.
Of 19 acceptances for Insert Title Here, 13 Australian, 1 NZ, 2 UK, 3 US (2 additional both Australian). Of 11 for alternative anthology, 10 Australian, 1 Philippines (plus one solicited US and one solicited AU).
- I asked for two rewrites on submission and received one, but ended up being unable to make it fit.
- Despite clear submission guidelines about multiple and simultaneous submissions, word count and the fact it is a speculative fiction anthology, I received several stories contravening the guidelines, including a number that were withdrawn on acceptance elsewhere. Stories outside of guidelines were rejected unread.
- Several stories reached the very final round of reading, with quite a number being very hard to let go of – the reading for this book was the most challenging I have done, and the quality of the top 25% of stories the highest I’ve seen.
The slush was for an unthemed anthology, but as I was reading, it became clear that several stories themed themselves into the new book (to be titled Phantazein). I had sort of expected I might get a few stories on similar themes, but to have so many evoke a strong sense of connectedness really surprised me. To include them all in Insert Title Here would have unbalanced that book, so I exercised my right as a boutique publisher and decided to build an entirely new book for them! I call this the “Faith Mudge effect”, as it’s the same reason To Spin a Darker Stair evolved, and one of Faith’s stories was the catalyst for both books.
I’m hoping to launch both books at Conflux in Canberra in October! Lots of work to do between now and then…
While I’m not going to be posting the final Table of Contents for a number of weeks yet, because of a turn the anthology has taken along the way, I can share some stats about the submissions I received for the forthcoming One Small Step anthology.
Total submissions received during open reading period = 86
Submissions by gender = 1 unknown, 58 female (60 in reality as two stories had female co-authors), 27 male. An interesting swing from the Epilogue open call last year – could be reflective of any number of factors, including that Epilogue was open internationally and a large proportion of the US submissions were from men.
While the anthology was only open to Australian authors, I received seven unsolicited submissions from non-Australian writers, including works from the UK, US, Canada and Italy. These were rejected unread.
9 stories were accepted in the first round of reading.
11 were held for second round reading. Of these, two were subsequently accepted.
66 were rejected in first round (including non-Australian submissions), for a total of 75 rejections and 11 acceptances.
Total approximate word count of submissions read: 368,591
It took me a little longer than I’d intended (illness and other family matters intervened for a few weeks, holding up the process), but I’ve just completed the first round of slush reading for Apocalypse Hope. Here’s some interesting facts from my submissions pool:
213 submissions in total. 212 by email, 1 by snail mail (guidelines stated email submissions only)
Total word count (e-subs only) approximately 903,641.
GENDER of authors
86 female (40.38%)
122 male (57.28%)
5 unknown (2.34%)
COUNTRY of origin
78 Australia (36.62%)
2 Austria (0.94%)
1 Bulgaria (0.47%)
9 Canada (4.22%)
1 China (0.47%)
1 Denmark (0.47%)
2 Greece (0.94%)
1 India (0.47%)
1 Ireland (0.47%)
1 Malaysia (0.47%)
1 Singapore (0.47%)
1 Sweden (0.47%)
1 Thailand (0.47%)
1 The Netherlands (0.47%)
9 UK (4.22%)
103 USA (48.36%)
1 submission withdrawn as it was accepted elsewhere (guidelines stated no simultaneous submissions) (0.47%)
2 held with rewrite requests (0.94%) (both female)
4 accepted on first round reading (1.88%) (all Australian; 2 male, 2 female)
36 held for second round reading (16.9%) (11 Australian, 17 US, 2 Canada, 1 Denmark, 1 Ireland, 1 Singapore, 1 Sweden, 1 Thailand, 1 UK; 14 female, 22 male)
170 rejected (79.81%)
13 stories were rejected for not meeting the guidelines (6.1%) – these included reprints without query and stories outside the word count without query.
6 authors queried for outside word count (2.82%) – of these, one was accepted in first round, and one was held for second reading.
3 stories were submitted in formats unable to be read by the editor (1.41%)
ETA: I had quite a lot of queries to submit reprints. Most of these I decided not to consider, as they were published very recently. I had eight reprint submissions I looked at (some not queried – these were not read. I also had one that was not queried, and the author did not even advise me it was a reprint. It was pure chance I googled the story before replying to the author, and discovered the story provenance). Of these, two are on hold for second round.
I also forgot to mention I had one poem submitted (after query) – it too is on hold.
A reminder that my area is editing, not mathematics