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

2015 Clarkesworld Submissions Stats

Every now and then, I dive into the data from the Clarkesworld Magazine submissions system. This time, I’m looking at our 2015 data.

This data includes stories submitted or accepted in 2015. It doesn’t represent all stories published in 2015. (Some stories published in 2015 were submitted or accepted in 2014. Some stories submitted or accept in 2015 were published in 2016.)

This data does not include our Chinese translations. (They are handled through a different process.)

In looking over this data, please keep in mind that these charts represent QUANTITATIVE data which would incorrectly imply that all stories are equal. The process of selecting stories for publication is a QUALITATIVE process reflective of our opinions. If we were to receive more zombie stories than any other kind of story, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that we would be more likely to publish zombie stories. I don’t like zombie stories, so we don’t publish them. Quantity can be misleading in a qualitative process.


The spike in June corresponds with the increase in our upper word count limit to 16,000. A number of writing-for-pay websites capitalized on the announcement and sent hundreds of people our way.


We get fewer submissions on the weekend.


This chart shows the submissions by month in blue and the “near miss” letters by month in red. In 2015, 2.53% of all submissions received our top-tier rejection letter. The monthly average for submissions was just over 1000 and the first two months of 2016 have trended higher.


The red line represents top-tier rejections and the green line represent acceptances. The acceptance rate for 2015 was 0.3%.


In 2015, we received submissions from 109 different countries. In the above chart, the blue bar represents the percentage of total submissions for that country. The green bar indicates the percentage of all acceptances. (Reminder: The Chinese translations are handled by a separate process and not included in these numbers.)

Note: If you feel inclined to proclaim that this data indicates that I have a bias towards international submissions, perhaps you should read this editorial. That said, it pleases me that Clarkesworld has a more global representation of science fiction. There’s a lot of great work written beyond our shores.


This chart breaks out “other” in the prior chart and only includes countries from which we received 10 or more stories. Interestingly, China’s numbers have fallen despite our special translation project. I’m wonder if Chinese authors think that’s their only way in now. (It isn’t.)


In this chart, blue bars represent the percentage of submissions and green indicates the percentage of accepted stories. 2015 was a very strong year for science fiction submissions. I was hesitant to post this graph for fear of discouraging writers in other genres. We want those submissions too.

This last bit of data doesn’t require a chart. The average word count for our 2015 story submissions was 4495. That’s fairly consistent across genres with the exceptions of horror (shorter) and SF/F (longer). Acceptances, however, averaged 5650 words. I expect both of these values to climb slightly in 2016. (More to do with the higher word count limit than a specific preference.)




Clarkesworld Magazine – March 2016


I appear to have inspired a panel

1 Comment

  1. Tadeu Aratel

    Very fascinating post. I love me some hard data.

    I’ll be submitting sometime next week (I’m from Brazil) It’s nice to know that the acceptance rate is only 0,03%. This way I won’t feel terrible if I’m rejected, and I’ll feel *awesome* if I’m accepted.

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