I'm done! I'm doing the dance of doneness!
Today I finished reading just over 300 stories in the space of about three weeks. Of those I accepted 54 for advancement to the second round of selection. That's about 18% of the stories, which is somewhat below my usual average.
With that large a backlog it became necessary to reject quite a lot of stories that were marginal and that I might otherwise have passed through. But I still took the time to communicate personally with several authors--generally first-time authors. It's a personal touch that I find valuable about FFO's philosophy.
As usual there were a number of stories that were, quite frankly, not ready for publication. But what dismayed me the most was the extraordinary number of authors who had obviously failed to read our submission guidelines.
I mean, do people really do that? It's been drilled into me from my very earliest forays into publishing that you read and follow the editorial guidelines to the letter!
To be truthful, there are a few markets out there that I purposely avoid submitting to because they make you jump through some crazy hoops for very little (or no) return other than the publication credit. FFO isn't one of those. Our demands are pretty few and pretty lax--for now. We have format and word count requirements, and content restrictions that are pretty typical in the general marketplace.
After what seemed like a flood of such stories, I ended up getting rather terse in my responses to them. Something along the lines of 'Your submission has been deleted unread due to length issues. Please read our guidelines before submitting,' to 'We do not accept erotica, porn, sexually explicit stories, or excessive violence. Your story violates at least three of these and may be illegal to possess or distribute in some states.' (It was porn involving minors, no less. Yuck.)
But I'm glad the flood has passed, even though I had a blast swimming through it.