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Clarkesworld Submission Stats

Sometimes pictures are better than words:

May was a down month for submissions from women.  I’m not sure why, but it’s something I hope we can turn around.  If we count up all the submissions since September (actually, mid-September), women account for almost exactly one third. Interestingly, that third is responsible for 5 of the 8 stories I’ve accepted.


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  1. I’ve always kinda wondered whether it wouldn’t be better to track percentages of ‘readable’ or ‘professional’ submissions, rather than raw. I mean, it seems possible to me that women are contributing 50% of professional submissions, while only 30% of the raw slush. Certainly, something like that seems to be in operation with regard to PodCastle slush.

    • I’ve been wondering about that too. Just checked and discovered that when you look at the submissions that have been passed forward by the slush readers, 52% are from women.

      Further research shows that:
      * Men are about 10% more likely to have a story rejected for not following the guidelines.
      * Women are 2% more likely to submit another story than men.

      • las

        Interesting, thanks for the stats.

      • Just to pull some possible conclusions out of those stats. Men are perhaps more confident in their abilities, even when they aren’t up to par. An overconfident man might chalk a rejection up to a “stupid editor who doesn’t know good talent when he sees it,” and doesn’t send again.

        I find it very interesting that though women send less, the rate of acceptance of what they do send is higher. I’m not sure I’ve heard that talked about much. Thanks for sharing it.


        • I’m not sure I agree with the conclusion, but there is at least piece of data I have that supports the ego factor… my crank file (nasty letters from authors) is all male.

          I don’t have hard data to back this up, but my personal experience with the slush pile is that the worst of the worst tend to be horror stories and we definitely see more horror from men than from women. I need to start tracking that more carefully.

          • Well, your nasty letter file does seem to back up the overconfidence theory. Or it may indicate men not taking rejection as well as women (or at least responding much more agressively).

            Ah, now add genre to the mix of variables and it throws a whole other wrench into the works. Bad Horror. Is there anything more horrifying?

        • The overall discrepancy in slush may have as much to do with common divisions of household labor as it does with confidence or writing ability. In general, women spend more hours on domestic second-shift work than men do, even in childless families. Caregiving for small children, an especially asymmetrically divided form of labor, is not compatible with daydreaming or computer use. Where are the missing women writers whose stories should be in your slush pile? Some of them are chasing toddlers, and will be for the next few years.

          • Perhaps this might have been true in earlier periods, in our field, but I would find it hard to believe, now.

          • It’s not just stay-at-home parents who lose a lot of writing time to domestic stuff. A person who used to devote the time and energy left after the demands of the day job to her writing suddenly has a lot less to give her writing when a kid enters the picture. And although men today are doing more domestic stuff than they did in previous generations, studies of time use still show a surprisingly large gender gap.

  2. Thoughts

    I’ve submitted to Clarkesworld (not in May though) but so far no sales.

  3. Yes, sorry, I should have said that horror represents a larger percentage of submissions from men than it does for women.

    I think that the original slush pile and filtered slush pile results are equally important and need to be looked at together to get a better idea of what is going on. However, I would be hard-pressed to make any conclusive statements about the field without similar data from several other markets.

  4. The tools I referred to are incorporated into the submission system I use for Clarkesworld. The only other place I’ve set up this software is at Fantasy Magazine. We were just talking about this topic yesterday and may do a combined data analysis sometime in the future.

    Yes, we are one of the highest paying markets for new writers, but reputation also plays a major role in where people submit stories. I suspect that the submissions stats for the big three (F&SF, Asimov’s and Analog) are very different than ours. I know they’ve published many authors that I’ve been unable to get submissions from.

    I’m inclined to agree with you in regards to marginalization. I probably wouldn’t be paying attention to this data if I didn’t.

  5. The whole process is made easier by online submissions, but doesn’t require more than logging your submissions. Anyone that thinks it important enough can do basic analysis of their slush pile with a spreadsheet or database they probably already have access to. It just requires a willingness to devote some time. (Less than a minute per story.)

    Haven’t been working with Broad Universe, but have been following their efforts for a few years now.

  6. While it is true that Analog may have been paying those rates in the 1960s or 1970s, we’re talking about a period when it would have had over a hundred thousand in circulation, compared to what it has now. The entire market has contracted, keeping pay rates frozen . . .

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