And suddenly there a draft of drafts…

What do these all have in common?

  1. Hodderscape August 2015
  2. HarperVoyager Impulse November 2015
  3. Angry Robot December 2015 – January 2016
  4. Gollancz January 2016

Yep… they are all open calls for science fiction novels by unagented authors.

Why the sudden rush?

Well although Hodderscape was only open for two weeks in August they had 1455 novels, including unfinished novels. Yet a few years back HarperVoyager had something around 4500 novels, but they had to be complete. That’s a drop to about a third, and if you take the different entry conditions, by more than a third in effect.

Did these publishing houses suddenly realise that there is now a lack of science fiction novels to be had? I wouldn’t have thought so. Angry Robot had an open submission window about every 18 months. So they’re no to blame for this bulge in open windows.

Gollancz recently stopped taking unagented submissions and this is their first window since then. So they are suffering a change of work practice. Even so, when you put their timing alongside the others, you would think it’s more than a coincidence.

HarperVoyager specifically said they are looking for military science fiction and urban fantasy. The others are all more general science fiction and fantasy calls. So a sub-genre coming into vogue is not the reason for the bulge.

My best guess is that they’re coming to the last of the backlog of novels to be published and are looking to replenish in-hand stocks or they think there’s going to be better market conditions for selling science fiction in a year or two.

Good luck to anyone that submits to any of these markets.

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