Why Do Genre Magazines Dominate the Million Writers Award?

Each year Tom Dooley, the editor of Eclectica Magazine, analyzes trends in the list of Million Writers Award notable stories. According to his analysis, there are 158 stories on the 2011 notable list, a drop from last year's 191. In addition, exactly 100 different online publications landed stories on the list.

Last year Tom pointed out that it appeared genre magazines – meaning everything from science fiction to fantasy, horror, crime, and romance – were dominating the Million Writers Award. This year this genre "dominance" continues. While self-identifying genre magazines now make up only 21% of the magazines on the NWA notable list, down from 25% in 2010, among the magazines with the most stories on the list the percent of genre stories increased to 51%.

This doesn't mean genre stories make up half the stories on the notable list – I think the number is closer to a third. But among the elite online publications with the most stories on the list, genre magazines appear to be the 800 pound gorillas in the virtual room.

Why are there so many genre magazines and stories on the Million Writers notable list? As I mentioned last year, I believe this results from genre writers and readers accepting online magazines as a legitimate place for both publishing and reading short fiction, which results in a large number of professional online genre magazines. But I'd love to hear what other people think about this.

Pasted below is Tom's analysis. And as always, a big thanks to Tom for crunching these numbers.

2010 Notable Stories Analysis    
This year Last Year
Total number of Notable Stories 158 191
Number of different publications w/ Notable Stories 100 108
Percent of publications self-identifying as "Genre" 21% 25%
Percent of stories from the top 10 publications belonging to self-identified "Genre" sites * 51% 48%
* Percent increases to 65% this year if two puplications tied for first, Blackbird and Words without Borders, are removed    
Authors this year with more than one notable story    
Name This year Last Year
Desmond Warzel 2 1
Matthew Dexter 2 1
Michael Loughrey 2 1
Rachel Ephraim 2 0
Rachel Swirsky 2 1
Roxane Gay 2 6
Sandra McDonald 2 0
Yoon Ha Lee 2 1
This year's top Notable Stories publications    
Publication Place Number
Blackbird 1st (tied) 6
Words without Borders   6
Clarkesworld Magazine 3rd (tied) 4
Daily Science Fiction   4
Lightspeed Magazine   4
Strange Horizons   4
Chiaroscuro (ChiZine) 7th (tied) 3
Eclectica Magazine   3
Fantasy Magazine   3
Jersey Devil Press   3
storySouth   3
The Barcelona Review   3
The Collagist   3
Thuglit   3
Tor.com   3
Top Notable Stories publications, last two years    
Publication Place Number
Blackbird 1st (tied) 10
Fantasy Magazine   10
Clarkesword Magazine 3rd (tied) 9
Strange Horizons   9
Thuglit 5th (tied) 7
Subterranean   7
Words Without Borders 7th (tied) 6
Eclectica Magazine   6
Beneath Ceaseless Skies   6
Kill Author   6
Collagist 11th (tied) 5
Tor.com   5
Apex Magazine   5
Storyglossia   5
Daily Science Fiction   4
Lightspeed Magazine   4
Barcelona Review   4
storySouth   4
Cerise Press   4
Cha: An Asian Literary Journal   4
Flurb   4
Identity Theory   4
PANK   4
Summerset Review   4
Knee-Jerk Magazine   4
Prick of the Spindle   4
Toasted Cheese   4
Word Riot   4
Top Notable Stories publications, all time (last eight years)    
Publication Place Number
Eclectica Magazine 1st 41
Strange Horizons 2nd (tied) 31
Pindeldyboz   31
Narrative Magazine 4th 26
Blackbird 5th 25
Word Riot 6th 23
Agni 7th 22
Clarkesword Magazine 8th (tied) 21
Storyglossia   21
Fantasy Magazine 10th (tied) 18
failbetter   18
Identity Theory 12th (tied) 15
King's English   15
Mississippi Review (New)   15
Thuglit 15th (tied) 14
Subterranean   14
Barcelona Review 17th (tied) 13
Summerset Review   13
ChiZine   13
Orson Scott Card's IMS   13
Fiction Warehouse   13
Percent of stories from the top 10 publications belonging to self-identified "Genre" sites *