Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Winter Solstice Submissions Stats

I didn't receive as many submissions for the Winter Solstice issue as I did for the previous two issues. I'm not sure if it was the theme or people preparing for NaNoWriMo.
34 stories were submitted, I accepted 17.
25 plus poems were submitted and I accepted ten.

The poetry submissions were the most difficult for me to decide on. My first pass through the batch of submissions and I only had six poems that definitely didn't work for the theme. I think I went through the poetry six or seven times before I settled on the ten that I accepted.

The stories submissions were also a problem. A lot of fantasy stories. A lot of myth-based stories. Choosing which ones to accept and which ones to pass on was difficult. It came down to which ones fit the theme the best.

I'll only have two poems for Copper Wire next month, but that's the way the ball bounces.

Two patterns are emerging from all of the submissions that I receive, not just for Emerald Tales, but for Crystal Codices as well.

First, in general, the fantasy writers are submitting stories that are much more compelling to read than the other genres. I think that may be because the competition to get a fantasy short story published is a lot stiffer than for the other genres, so they have to work very hard on crafting their shorts to get them accepted anywhere. And no, that isn't because I like Fantasy. There are several stories that I have accepted that are not my personal cup of tea. That doesn't stop me from recognizing the skill behind the stories. In fact, those writers who can hold my attention for a story that I wouldn't normally want to read are, to me, very skilled in the craft of writing.

Second, the quality of submissions for Emerald Tales is a lot higher than for Crystal Codices. I think that has something to do with the length. It seems that the higher word length restriction gives writers who like to write put a lot of unnecessary exposition in their stories room to expound on their world. I reject a lot of the novellas that I receive. I figure if my attention starts wandering while I am reading the submission, then other reader's attention will wander as well. That's not what I want to publish.

My experience with the novella submissions is more in line with what agents and other publishers report. The lesson that can be learned here for novel writers: learn to write powerful short stories, I bet it would improve your novels and thus increase your chances of finding an agent and getting published.


  1. Diana,

    You are sooo right! My skills developed so much when I started writing short stories and submitting to anthologies. My novels are coming out much better because of it.

    Too bad there weren't as many submissions. It's probably NaNoWriMo craziness that got in the way.

    Thank you for accepting my story! I hope it wasn't one of those, "Not my cup of tea"...

  2. I like that you can see the skill behind a story that isn't your cup of tea.

  3. I'm kicking myself for missing two Emerald Tales deadlines now. Oh, and I thought 'winter solstice' a good theme.

  4. The my cup of tea business is something that I need to blog about, if I haven't done so already. Whether I like or dislike a story is irrelevant to whether the story is well-written or not. I had one friend respond to my beta comments with "I'm glad you liked my story." Uh, no, actually I didn't like the story and I wouldn't buy it if I saw it in the store, it was horror and I am a wuss. (I like thrillers and suspense, I don't like dark or horror.) I set my personal taste aside when I am choosing which stories to publish. My favorite stories in Emerald Tales are the funny ones. Those of you who have read it, know that there is only one funny story, maybe two, in each issue of Emerald Tales. "Demon Spawn" by Hugh Wilson had me rolling on the floor laughing.

    Cate, lucky for you I can't figure out how to put my baseball bat smilie on a blog post. Don't miss the next deadline. ;) I really need to get the newsletter set up so I can remind people of these things.

  5. I'm with Cate; I meant to get something out for this one and failed. Oh well, there's still Carnivale....