The submssions period for the Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast closed last night. When I woke up, my in-box contained one last item. (Being in California, I could set the cut-off as "when I wake up on the 1st" and know that I'd included all time zones up through midnight.)
I'll start reading submissions this weekend, but in the mean time, here are some interesting stats on what came in. Since I asked people to include the time and place of the setting in the header information, I can survey those topics before reading.
In total, I received 24 submissions. A solid number, though I confess I wouldn't have been surprised to receive a lot more than that. (There's an old saying in the short fiction publishing business that if you announce a new magazine, on the first day you'll get five subscriptions and 500 submissions.) One third arrived during the first 20 days of the month. The second third arrived in the next 9 days. And the last third showed up on the 30th and 31st. So you can see why I indulged in a bit of nail-biting!
The word-count limit was 5000 words, and almost a third came in right at the limit (which--if the authors are like me--probably means that they were frantically editing to get down to that length) and a total of 10 were somewhere in the 4000-5000 range. Six were in the 3000-4000 range, and the rest at shorter lengths, down to some flash-length pieces. (If my top choice stories include a couple of shorter works, I may expand my buying, but being shorter won't give a story an advantage in being selected otherwise.)
I strongly encouraged people to explore settings outside the popular choice of 19th century Anglophone countries. At the point when half the stories had come in, only 2 had pre-19th century settings. (And 3 were disqualified for failing to follow the guidelines and having 20th century settings.) Somewhere around that point, I mentioned in the publicity that I really really hoped to see a bit more diversity to choose from, and maybe that encouraged a few writers because the second half of the submissions included only 2 19th century settings. Overall, I have 5 stories set in eras up to the 10th century, 4 in the 11-16th centuries, 3 in the 17-18th, 9 in the 19th century, and 3 disqualified for being 20th century.
There was a lot more diversity of location from the very start. Within the first half of the submissions, stories already covered 4 continents, with a 5th continent being added in the later half of the submissions. No stories set in South America or Antarctica. (Antarctica might have been difficult, given that I can't find any evidence of women among the 19th century explorers of that continent.) But even within the continental distribution, the only countries for which more than one story was submitted were the USA, England, and Ireland, and each of those only had 2. Very heartening!
As I emphasized above regarding length, story quality (and fit within the other content guidelines) will be the determining factor in which stories I select to buy, but it's hard to buy stories with non-default settings if no one submits them. So at least I can be happy on that point!
As noted above, I plan to do the first read-throughs this weekend. I hope to have the stories I want selected by the weekend after that. Announcements won't be made until after contracts have been signed.