Crunching the Million Writers Award numbers

The Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2007 is now out in the world and appears to be generating a fair bit of excitement, based on website traffic and the number of blog posts about the list. In my previous post announcing the notable stories I asked people who felt like doing some number crunching on the list to send me the results. As usual, the number crunchers out there quickly responded!

Robert Laughlin responded first, noting that there were 164 notables stories this year. In addition, he analyzed the first five years of the award to do a breakdown on which magazines have had the most MWA Notable Stories. His findings: Eclectica is first with 31 notable stories selected across five years. Pindeldyboz is second with 26 while Agni, Strange Horizons and Word Riot tied for third with 16 each. Rounding out the top ten are Narrative Magazine with 15, Fiction Warehouse with 13, The King's English and Mississippi Review both with 12, and Blackbird, Blithe House Quarterly, and Storyglossia with 11 nominations each.

I then received a detailed analysis of this year's notable stories from a correspondent who prefers to stay anonymous. According to him, the 164 notable stories for 2007 came from 92 different publications. Of these selections, 67 (or 41%) were first nominated by editors while 21 (or 13%) were first nominated by readers. This means that the preliminary judges selected stories solely on their own in 82 cases (or 50% of the time). In addition, 16 stories were nominated by more than one judge. These percentages don’t add up to 100% because of overlap--about 4% of stories were nominated by both editors and readers.

This breakdown on how the stories were selected seems good to me. In fact, it highlights one reason I like the format used by the MWA--we cast a wide net for stories. Several of the judges have told me how great the reader and editors nominations are b/c they point them to stories they wouldn't otherwise have considered. Likewise, I feel having the preliminary judges go out on their own brings in stories that likewise could have been overlooked.

According to this anonymous analysis, the top publications in this year's award (producing 26% of overall notable stories) were:

  • Blackbird (with 7 notable stories)
  • Pindeldyboz (5)
  • Subterranean (5)
  • Agni (5)
  • Clarkesword Magazine (4)
  • Baen's Universe (4)
  • Storyglossia (4)
  • Word Riot (4)
  • Mississippi Review (4)

This year's top authors were:

  • Elizabeth Bear (with three notable stories)
  • Cat Rambo (2)
  • Eric D. Anderson (2)
  • Elizabeth Crane (2)
  • Nick Antosca (2)
  • Andrea Fitzpatrick (2)
  • Corey Mesler (2)
  • Spencer Dew (2)
  • Jeff VanderMeer (2)

According to this analysis, of the top publications' notable stories, 25 of 42 (60%), including all seven of Blackbird's, were nominated solely by judges. Similarly, 11 of 19 (58%) of the top author's notable stories were nominated solely by judges.

To close out this number crunching, I should mention the previous analysis Scott Boyan did of the MWA. Scott used the analysis to create a ranking of the best online literary magazines and journals. While the analysis doesn't incorporate this year's list of notable stories, it is still a fascinating examination of both the award and online magazines.