Today’s dive into Clarkesworld Magazine submissions data starts with updated versions of some graphs I shared last year. Country data is determined by originating IP address, which can obviously lead to some errors. For example, an American author living in Canada will be listed under Canada and a Chinese author living in China, but using a VPN located in Germany would be listed under Germany. Country names are provided by a third party database we use to process this data.
The results for both of these graphs were more-or-less expected. In 2020, we saw some significant increases in stories from outside the US. Like most data spikes we’ve seen over the years, there’s a momentary decline that lands somewhere between the previous two values. Naturally, we’d like it to keep moving upwards, but understand that this will take time.
At the end of last year, India was within 15 submissions of passing Australia for the #4 slot. We knew it would be a close race, but expected India (which has showed an annual growth trend) to pass them this year. The margin is still very close, 17 submissions in fact.
As the volume of stories from the US is such a significant percentage of those received, removing them allows a better view of what’s happening with the rest of the world:
I dislike having to group 120+ countries into “other” the numbers for many of them are so small that they become practically invisible on the graph. Graphing them together also allows me to demonstrate their collective importance, despite their individual size.
|Why do we care? The US represents around 4.25% of the global population and about 62% of our submissions. I believe that to get the best stories for our readers, we have to cast the widest possible net. That means we’re going to periodically shake the trees to encourage more writers to submit their work, particularly those in groups we’re not seeing participation from in the slush pile. We’re not discouraging submissions from the US or looking to favor people from outside the US or any other group. These efforts do not determine or shape what we will accept. They influence what we can accept. They create opportunities for us to discover something we might have otherwise missed out on. On principle, we do not solicit stories. Every story in the slush pile is given the same opportunity. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve accomplished previously, or where you are from.
This year, I dug a bit deeper to give you a bit more detail into “other” by showing the top 15 countries by submission.
This is Mexico and Pakistan’s first time in the top 15.
“Other” for 2021 includes the following countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea (Republic of), Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
I’ve created similar graphs for 2020, 2019, and 2018 so you can see how to top 15 have been changing over recent years.
And finally, for the latest installment in why acceptance rates are useless data:
As previously mentioned, our acceptance rate falls around 0.55%. In 2021, it was 0.52% for submissions from the US and 22.22% for submissions from Trinidad. The bad math take on this would be that we greatly favor Trinidad. (For those keeping score: bath math suggests that you submit novella length science fiction from Trinidad for optimal chances at success. Let’s blow you mind and mention that one of the stories we accepted from Trinidad was a science fiction novella.) Meanwhile, back in reality, the truth is that one or two people can dramatically change the results when the sample size is small, like with novellas or stories from Trinidad. Quality and quantity don’t have a stable relationship with one another. There is no secret formula to success.