Open Door – some interesting stats


I’ve had a quick look at the submissions for our recent Open Door period, and thought I’d share some stats with you. I was primarily interested in the breakdown of genre and gender.

Note: For gender, I merely used the first name given, so a binary (m/f) breakdown is all that is possible – I am unable to state that these figures are correct with regard to how the authors self-identify.

Out of 524 submissions received, these were the results:

Science Fiction Urban Fantasy General Fantasy

Male 135 53 78 71 337
Female 45 28 53 27 153
Unknown* 9 3 12 10 34
Total 189 84 143 108

*Either initials were used instead of a first name, the first name is often used by men and women, or the first name was unfamiliar to me.
** Defined in the submissions guidelines as anything other than science fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy


The most popular genre for male authors was science fiction (40.1%).
The most popular genre for female authors was general fantasy (34.6%).
Fantasy as a whole (general + urban) was responsible for 52.9% of submissions by women, but only 38.9% of submissions by men.

The “wtf” category* attracted 21.1% of male authors’ submissions and 17.6% of female authors’ submissions.

Across all genders, science fiction accounted for 36.1% of submissions, urban fantasy 16%, general fantasy 27.3% (so 43.3% for fantasy) and wtf 20.6%.

Interestingly, out of a 2 month submission window, nearly a quarter of all submissions were sent during the last week, with 14% sent in the last 2 days. 3 were sent on Christmas Day.

This is, of course, a small sampling of data, and it would be foolish to try to extrapolate much from it. It doesn’t tell us that more men are writing science fiction than women, it just tells us that during this short window, more men submitted their novels to one publisher, than women. It tells us nothing of the quality of the prose, nor the number of books written by the authors who submitted. It will be interesting to get more data once the books have been read by the editors.

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Damn real life conspiring against me… Didn’t quite manage to get my manuscript finished in time… Last 7,000 or so words still flying around my head rather than being down on paper.

Well, not paper exactly… It’s not like this is the 17th Century or anything.

Good luck to everyone who had more time / perseverance than me.


I’m encouraged that I’m not the only woman submitting SF to you. I found your post informative, coming after the announcement of the Lightspeed Magazine Women Destroy Science Fiction issue, which tackles the issue of who considers what SF head on.


Let’s hear it for the WTFs!!!


Thank you for posting this. It’s always so interesting to see statistics!


I go both ways.

HEY- I meant that I submitted both Fantasy and Sci Fi! Sheesh!


Intersting figures.

How do they compare with previous open doors, with regards to genres and the spread of the submissions over the period?

It will also be interesting to see how many of each category make it to the next stage, (i.e. a full requested)and the gender split of these.


Sue – No idea, as we didn’t have a system in place for those that would easily allow us to track them.


Thanks for answering, Lee.

Pity; I was wondering how the submissions reflected the ebb and flow of the various genres in popularity over the past few years. I have often wondered if a Fantasy, SF, or an Urban Fantasy was one year’s, ‘best seller’, was it reflected in the type of submission sent in the following year?

It certainly seems as if the submissions this year are indicating an increase interest in SF, least on the writers’ behalf.


Good luck everyone! I didn’t have anything suitable this time around but I’ll save one for the next open door.

Lee, any indication of % of the 524 being submitted by previous AR authors v.s. new ones?

Also wondering if the next round of open door will also be SFF?


Aoak –
1) 100% new (to us) authors. Our existing authors don’t have to go through this process.
2) Haven’t a clue at the moment.


Glad to hear that I was not the only one that cut it fine for the dead line. All the best to everyone else who got their submissions in on time and to any others who is aiming for the next open door.
Good luck to all.


I’m just curious if there’s any update on the timeframe for hearing back on submissions, since the six-month window has now passed. I’ve got something submitted and certainly don’t mind the longer wait, just trying to manage expectations. Thanks!


1. I checked in my Submittable.com account: Still shows Received, not In-Progress. It might be that they are constructing a glove-box/waldo combination like in The Andromeda Strain to read my entry. More likely, though is the fact I submitted it in late December has more to do with the time lag.

2. I seriously bent the ear of one of the Robot Overlords at BookCon ’14 about the whole Open Door process. It seems that 500+ entries overloaded their optics, and they’re taking longer than usual.

I’m not going to sweat this until, oh, September. By then, they’ll all be retrofitted with the latest optics, which will be able to pierce the clouds of methane venting off my entry, and read the sucker.

Best of luck, Rat.


Thanks for the response, Bill! :)

I figured it’s probably just that they’re overloaded with submissions, but it’s always nice to get some confirmation.

Best of luck to you as well! :)

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