As of today, the reading period for the Hint Fiction anthology has been opened for one week, and in that week there have been exactly 644 stories submitted. Keep in mind that writers are allowed to submit up to two stories, unless they link to the guidelines on their blog and/or Twitter, and there has been a pretty even balance of writers submitting either one, two, or three stories each. And out of those 644 stories submitted, I've put 82 stories in the "maybe" pile.
Does this mean that the 562 other stories were awful?
Not at all.
Well, that's not true. As is the case with any magazine or anthology having an open reading period, there is going to be a lot of crap -- in terms of this anthology, it's pretty clear who has actually done their homework on the form and worked hard on their stories, and who decided to be lazy and pass off a sentence or two of some unpublished short story.
But then there is also a solid number of decent stories -- stories that I read and say to myself, "Not bad," but stories that don't blow my socks off.
Note here, people: for this book, I want my socks blown way off.
Also, keep in mind that the 82 stories in the "maybe" pile are simply stories that, at the time, I liked enough to want to return to later. If I went back through those 82 stories now, I could probably wean the list in half, if not more, but I'm going to wait until the very end (though yes, there are stories in that pile I already know for a fact I will be accepting).
Another thing worth mentioning is that yes, there is no theme for this anthology, writers can submit stories in any genre, and while I'm not opposed to accepting a science fiction or horror or even a western story, they have to be, like every other story I'll accept, amazing.
If you want to submit a vampire or ghost hint fiction piece, then great, but please make sure it's something that hasn't been done before. Just like with any other market, cliches are not welcome here. (That goes for "literary" stories too.)
Oh, and the word count? It's 25 words or less. I figured that was pretty clear in the guidelines, but still I've received a few stories that were around 40, 50 words long, and -- yep, you guessed it -- that constitutes an automatic rejection.
Finally, I'm taking the title of editor very seriously here. Some "editors" end up being compilers; not this guy. If I come across a story that I think has great promise but also needs work, I'm willing to work with that author. Maybe the story will work out in the end, maybe it won't, but my intention is to put together a kick-ass anthology, and I'll do whatever I can do do that.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
P.S. As a reminder, a third party is stripping all author info and forwarding just the stories to me, which means all I see are the stories and nothing but the stories. I'm told that a number of writers are including cover letters and bios and whatever else, and while all of that is nice, I guess, in the end it's unnecessary and a large waste of time.