Neil Clarke

The Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Month: December 2009 Page 1 of 2

Clarkesworld 2010

I’ve started mapping out some of the bigger changes for Clarkesworld Magazine’s 2010 year:

  • In 2009, we experimented with publishing longer stories. In 2010, we’re making the change official. Our new upper word limit is 8000 words. Pay is 10 cents per word for the first 4000 and 5 cents per word after. Our preferred length is still around 4000 words, but we no longer feel the need to tie our hands with that limitation.
  • For the last 18 months, Clarkesworld has been podcasting short fiction on a monthly schedule. Starting in January, we will change our podcast publication schedule to twice a month. Stories will be podcast on the 1st and 15th of each month. You can subscribe (for free) to our podcast at iTunes and Podcast Alley.
  • Starting in the 2nd quarter, we will add a reprint fiction track to the magazine. Stories will be serialized from a trade paperback anthology to be published by Wyrm sometime in late 2010. Details to follow.

And that’s just the first few months…

Unplugged at Amazon

Amazon finally has copies of Unplugged: The Web’s Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy in stock, but it looks like they’ve already sold all but two copies they are down to their last copy.

Learn from Others: Rejection at Clarkesworld Magazine

There seem to be a few people poking around the 2009 Clarkesworld Magazine slush statistics I posted the other day. I dove back into the data to try to answer some questions and came up with the following:

Percentage of stories that should never have been submitted: 4.52%
This category includes stories that were too long, too short, previously published, poetry, or simultaneous subs.

Percentage of these stories written by men: 65.8%
Percentage of these stories written by women: 34.2%
Percentage of these stories written by US authors: 79.7%
Percentage of these stories written by UK authors: 4.66%
Percentage of these stories written by Canadian authors: 6.74%
Percentage of these stories written by Australian authors: 1.04%
Percentage of these stories written by German authors: 1.55%
Percentage of these stories written by Irish authors: 0%
Percentage of these stories written by authors in 11 other countries: 6.22%

As previously mentioned, approximately 33% of our submissions are from women and 75.8% are from the United States. The gender breakdown in this category indicates that men and women are equally likely to ignore the guidelines. American authors are only slightly more likely to make this mistake.

Percentage of stories that were improperly formatted: 6.32%
Violations in this category include not having their name in the word/rtf document, unusual fonts, wacky formatting and (yes, this happens) illustrations.

Percentage of these stories written by men: 76.6%
Percentage of these stories written by women: 24.4%
Percentage of these stories written by US authors: 67.04%
Percentage of these stories written by UK authors: 10.00%
Percentage of these stories written by Canadian authors: 7.78%
Percentage of these stories written by Australian authors: 2.96%
Percentage of these stories written by German authors: 0.74%
Percentage of these stories written by Irish authors: 1.48%
Percentage of these stories written by authors in 16 other countries: 10%
 

Percentage of stories that were rejected for not following the guidelines: 10.84%
Combined total from the first two categories. It would be much worse if we tracked the less blatant violations of our guidelines.
Shameful, isn’t it?

Percentage of stories that were rejected as a "near miss": 3.77%

Percentage of these stories written by men: 44.72%
Percentage of these stories written by women: 55.28%
Percentage of these stories written by US authors: 76.40%
Percentage of these stories written by UK authors: 1.86%
Percentage of these stories written by Canadian authors: 8.70%
Percentage of these stories written by Australian authors: 8.70%
Percentage of these stories written by German authors: 0.62%
Percentage of these stories written by Irish authors: 0.62%
Percentage of these stories written by authors in 5 other countries: 3.11% 
 

This is the category that will probably cause some chatter. Despite representing only a third of our submissions, women are receiving more than half of our "near miss" rejections letters.  Why?  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think that a significant percentage of men have been ignoring the list of "hard sells" in our submission guidelines. We don’t have concrete figures on submissions by genre, but my experience says this is particularly true when it comes to horror.

Any questions?

Two Clarkesworld Stories Picked for Year’s Best Anthologies

Rich Horton and Jonathan Strahan have announced the table of contents for their upcoming year’s best anthologies!  Clarkesworld is represented by:

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 4, Jonathan Strahan ed.

  • "Spar" by Kij Johnson

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2010 Edition, Rich Horton ed.

  Congratulations to Kij and Catherynne!

UNPLUGGED Reviewed in Booklist


"Unplugged aims to showcase the online fiction often neglected in standard best-of-the-year anthologies, and a rousing success it is, containing, among other things, Merrie Haskell’s genuinely delightful tale about a girl-prince who, over her parents’ objections, undertakes a risky journey to rescue a princess held in a tower that has brought to ruin many princes before her; she rescues quite a few people. Also prime delightful is the eerie “The Things That Make Us Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away,” one of Cory Doctorow’s more unnerving forays into the short story. The selections come from a truly excellent assortment of venues, including Tor.com, Lone Star Stories, Baen’s Universe, and Farrago’s Wainscot. They constitute a shining example of the good general anthology. Clearly, selecting only online stories imposed no limit on scope, variety, and high quality."
Booklist (December 15, 2009)

Unplugged: The Web’s Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy – 2008 Download edited by Rich Horton is available direct from Wyrm Publishing and should be in bookstores shortly. [Amazon, Powells]

2009: The Year in Slush

I was poking through the Clarkesworld Magazine submissions database last night and thought I’d share:

SLUSH STATS FOR 2009

Total Submissions 4269
Days open 320
Avg. Subs Per Day 13.3
# of Authors 2721
Highest # of Subs from a Single Author 25
By Gender Total Unique
Male 2852 66.81% 1826 67.06%
Female 1416 33.17% 896 32.90%
Unknown 1 0.02% 1 0.04%
By Country Total Unique
United States 3236 75.80% 2075 76.20%
UK 297 6.96% 201 7.38%
Canada 277 6.49% 177 6.50%
Australia 129 3.02% 82 3.01%
Germany 39 0.91% 12 0.44%
Ireland 26 0.61% 14 0.51%
OTHER (52) 265 6.21% 162 5.95%
By Day of Week
Sunday 583 13.66%
Monday 696 16.30%
Tuesday 627 14.69%
Wednesday 658 15.41%
Thursday 629 14.73%
Friday 572 13.40%
Saturday 504 11.81%
Avg. Response Time 1.49  days

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