Insert Title Here vital statistics

Image from Jeff Bullas
Image from Jeff Bullas

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).

Other information:

  • 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a speculative fiction anthology, I received several stories contravening the guidelines, including a number that were withdrawn on acceptance elsewhere.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…

Announcement: Table of Contents for Phantazein

LogoWhat is Phantazein, I hear you ask? Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the slush… While reading for the unthemed Insert Title Here, several stories emerged as working very well together, with a strong sense of unity between them. To include all these wonderful pieces in Insert Title Here would have unbalanced that book, but given I’m a boutique publisher and can do things as and when they take my fancy, I decided to create an entirely new project, just for them! I call this the “Faith Mudge effect”, because Faith’s stories have now been the catalyst of two entirely new projects sprung from slushpiles 🙂

The title, Phantazein, is both the root word of the word “fantasy” and has its own meaning of “to appear”, which I think is most apt!. The astonishing Kathleen Jennings has agreed to create a cover for the book, and I’m very excited about this project – I hope you will be too! 

The stories!

Faith Mudge Twelfth
Tansy Rayner Roberts The love letters of swans
Thoraiya Dyer Bahamut
Rabia Gale The village of no women
Jenny Blackford Golden Eyes
Suzanne J. Willis Rag and bone heart
Nicole Murphy A Cold Day
Vida Cruz How the Jungle Got Its Spirit Guardian
Stacey Larner Kneaded
Charlotte Nash The Ghost of Hephaestus
Cat Sparks The Seventh Relic
Foz Meadows Dragon poem

I’m still negotiating on another story for the book, so hopefully we will have more to add to that fantastic lineup, but I’m really looking forward to bringing this anthology to you at Conflux in October!

Slush stats for Apocalypse Hope

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%)

ACCEPT/REJECT/HOLD

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%)

OTHER STATS

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 🙂