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International Submissions: A longer view

 
Following on the earlier post about international submissions, our submission data goes back to 2008, so I took another look at the data by year:

A closer look at the change in non-USA submissions:

And to give you some sense of the variety of countries participating: (Keep in mind that 2008 and 2020 are both partial years in terms of available data.)

The lifetime top five countries (US, UK, Canada, Australia, India) were broken out separately because individually their data was the most influential. They were not chosen by language, but it shouldn’t be surprising that it fell that way. Creating “other” to represent the rest of the world allows me to show the progress being made internationally outside those countries. I’m not going to list all 120+ countries participating, but the top ten within other are: Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Netherlands, Italy, France, Philippines, and Spain.

A Windows into Clarkesworld Submissions by Genre

 

If you go back to 2015 or 2016, the distance between Science and Fantasy is smaller. SF represented around 39% back then and Fantasy was closer to 27%. Dropping Horror as an option contributed to some of this, but SF has slowly gained ground, even without that. I decided to see if the increasing international submissions might be impacting it, but it doesn’t appear to be the case.

Why the future of SF is international

 
I’ve often said that the future of science fiction is international. It’s not a ding against US-based authors. We only represent 4.25% of the global population and the other 95.75% is getting more involved. Now I have some data to back that up. (CW submissions 1/2019-5/2020.)

Pandemic Slush

 
As you might expect, most story submission trends in Clarkesworld‘s slush pile have been tossed out the window in 2020. After a significant dip in March (to around 950), submissions jumped in April and nearly reached 1200 in May.

Judging by email addresses, we’ve seen nearly double the volume of people submitting a story to us for the first time. (In reading slush, I was noticing a much higher number of cover letters that indicated stories were first submissions of any kind.) Editors love discovering new authors, so this is a welcome development.

It also seemed like we were experiencing some changes in the makeup of our international submissions, so I dug a little deeper.

In February, US-based authors sent us 62% of all stories and that’s in line with various 2019 numbers. (I will point out that in 2017, this was closer to 68-70%. Our efforts to increase international submissions have been effective.) In May, it fell to 59.1%. I don’t believe it’s ever been that low before.

The UK, Canada, and Australia have always rounded out the top four, with India a distant fifth. Over the last four months, submissions from India have been steadily increasing at a significant rate. In May, they became the first country to push someone out of the top four by having 4.2% of all submissions, with Australia falling to fifth with 2.9%.

Sixth place down, has always varied wildly and they’ve almost always fallen below 1%. In the last couple of months, we’ve seen submission surges from a handful of countries (Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Nigeria, and Pakistan) that have had them break the 1% barrier in either April or May. I’d like to spend some time looking at the genre breakdown for these submissions at some point. My impression is that some lean very heavily towards dark fantasy.

The total number of countries represented by the slush pile (65 in both February and May) is holding steady, but there have been some minor fluctuations in the overall makeup. Nothing worth going into detail on as this sort of thing happens all the time.

I’ll end by inserting my standard disclaimer:

By encouraging international submissions, I am in no way frowning on authors from the US. I encourage them to submit too. Good stories aren’t restricted to one’s own backyard, so I’m trying to make sure I cast the widest possible net. Let’s see what the rest of the world can bring to the table. Each story is considered on its own merits regardless of where it came from. (Yeah, I actually have to say this. Some people…) Many foreign authors assume we won’t consider stories from outside the US, so it requires a bit of effort on my part to convince them to try.

 

Slush Reader Application 2020

 
If you are interested in being a slush reader for Clarkesworld Magazine, I highly recommend that you fill out our application. When a vacancy opens, we consider/reconsider every application turned in during the last year before soliciting new applications on social media. Quite often these positions are filled from existing applications.

A few notes:

  1. This is an unpaid volunteer position.
  2. Slush readers & other staff are prohibited from submitting stories or articles to the magazine.
  3. You should have time to read an average of five stories a day. (You can stop reading a story when it’s clear that we shouldn’t publish it.)
  4. Priority is given to writers and those considering becoming an editor.

A version of this post is reblogged every year or so with minor changes.

Clarkesworld 2/2020 Submission Data

 
Just looking over our February submissions data:

1112 Submissions read

  • 502 Science Fiction (45.14%) Avg word count:
  • 303 Fantasy (27.25%)
  • 84 SF/F (7.55%)
  • 62 SF/Horror (5.58%)
  • 113 Dark Fantasy (10.16%)
  • 39 Other (3.51%)
  • Average word count: 4711
  • Percentage of first time submissions to CW: 40.45%
  • 6 Accepted (0.54%*)
  • 1 Rewrite Request
  • 2 Currently in Second Round

* The acceptance rate does not indicate your odds of being published. Using that value would assume that all stories are equal, which is not true. You like some stories more than others. So do we. Don’t self reject a story because of math.

  • United States 62%
  • United Kingdom 9.8%
  • Canada 8%
  • Australia 2.7%
  • India 1.4%
  • Nigeria 1.3%
  • Rest of World 14.8% (62 countries, no one else over 1%)

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