When every issue of NDQ is sent to the publishers, I do some basic numbers work just to try to summarize the issue a bit. It’s probably best if you don’t check my maths too carefully, but based on my casual reckoning, NDQ 86.3/4 will feature 5 essays, 6 stories, 14 photographs, and 132 poems. I posted the table of contents last week (and over the next couple of months we’ll continue to post some content from the issue here. What we’d really like you to do, however, is to subscribe!)
Since we know something about our contributors, it is possible to crunch the numbers and try to get a different view of our next issue. (For some context on this kind of thing is useful, I’ve written a little essay here). A quick (and undoubtedly fuzzy) survey of first names (and bios) has produced contributors are 57% men and 43% women, but the contributions themselves are split 51% by men and 49% by women.
In terms of regional distribution of our authors 14% of our contributors were from New York, around 10% are international, and Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and California are represented by around 5% each. 4 contributors are from North Dakota and Texas. Over all, we have 31 different states and provinces represented.
To put those numbers in context, I started to look back at the submissions that we have received over the last year or so. Our data isn’t perfect, because in some cases our editors keep their submittable inbox clean and periodically delete reviewed content that’s either been published or rejected. That being said, we still have almost 2000 submissions to consider (around 1100 fiction submissions, 400 poetry submissions, and 200 non fiction submissions).
These submissions reveal that far more submissions come from men than women. For fiction the spit is 68% to 27% (and some that I could not determine), for poetry it is almost identical: 67% to 28%, and non fiction is 58% to 37%. To be clear, I recognize that gender (and more specifically, the gender of names) is not the only or even necessarily the best metric to understand our submitters, but the gender imbalance was a bit striking.
As far are regional numbers go, New York and California represent the most common place of origin in the U.S. for all three genres (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry). The second most common place of origin for poetry, however, is outside North America; this is the third most common place of origin for non-fiction. Fiction contributions are far less likely to come from outside of North America. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are a common homes for many contributors in in non-fiction and fiction. For poetry, we appear to be a popular destination for poets in Alabama. We attract a substantial number of fiction submissions from Illinois and non-fiction submissions from Virginia. North Dakota poets are better represented than fiction or non-fiction authors. Otherwise, our submissions come from across the U.S. and Canada.
It goes without saying that these numbers do not reflect the diverse identities of our submitters and contributors and gender and place of residence may not even be the most important ways to understand who our authors really are. Race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and a range of other identities based on backgrounds, experiences, and human complexity makes us who we are. At its best, the poems, stories, and essays in NDQ reflect this complex diversity, and we recognize that our submitters, contributors, subscribers, and editors do as well. Looking at the numbers, however, is a useful tip of the iceberg.