For the first five months of this year, submission volume each month at Strange Horizons almost exactly matched submission volume in the same month the previous year. Specifically: on average, a given month from January to May of 2006 brought us five stories less than the same month in 2005.
But in the past four months (June through September), submission volume each month has averaged about forty stories more than the same month in 2005.
And instead of our usual summer lull in volume, we've had a summer boom. To measure from a different direction, our average volume from February through May this year was about 270 stories/month, while our average volume from June through September was about 310 stories/month.
What happened? Well, I can't be entirely certain, but the boom started in mid-June--just about the same time that we made our RTF submission form the official preferred way to submit.
Correlation doesn't prove causality; June was also roughly when various of the latest crop of year's-best volumes started appearing with reprints of our stories in them, for example. But I'm pretty sure that the RTF form was the most relevant change.
In some sense, the volume change is not really a big change. A 15% volume increase means that each of us three editors has about three stories more to read per week--it was about 21 per week per editor earlier this year, and now it's about 24.
But it's still a little startling to be, for the first time, consistently getting over 300 stories a month.
Heh--I see from looking at an old journal entry of mine that it took me nearly three years from the time I acquired the RTF-to-text conversion code to the time I implemented the submission form. Slow Jed. Clearly we need a tools person on staff. (Let's not talk about how long I've been planning to implement the system to generate RTF files for use at Fictionwise.)
I do like the new system, though; despite increased volume, I wouldn't go back.
In other submission-related news, we'll be receiving our 15,000th submission sometime in the next day or two.