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?

15 thoughts on “Learn from Others: Rejection at Clarkesworld Magazine

    • wyrmadmin says:

      Some, but not many. Unfortunately, I’m haven’t been tracking that in the database.

      A near-miss doesn’t necessarily have to be broken in some way.

  1. Anonymous says:

    This data has been enlightening; thanks for posting it. As an obsessive list maker, I’ve been keeping a database of my own slush pile information as well. However, I’ve been neglecting to include some of these parameters, which I intend to incorporate from now on.

  2. ideealisme says:

    Percentage of stories that should never have been submitted: 4.52%

    Percentage of these stories written by Irish authors: 0%

    Whew! We haven’t embarrassed ourselves 🙂

    Thanks for this breakdown.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Out of curiosity, do you consider publication on a small personal web site “previously published”, or no?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Near Miss Letters

    Do near miss rejection letters end in “I hope you keep us in mind in the future”?, because that would be very encouraging, actually.

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