Oh, wow, is it already April 7th? Today – in just a few minutes after this is posted! – we’ll be sending out all our acceptance and rejection letters. We wanted to share a little bit of information publicly as part of this process, so that everyone understands what the possible applicant outcomes are – especially since this changed a bit from how we originally envisioned it.
Our original plan was that there’d be only two categories of applicants – the 20 authors accepted into Add Magic to Taste and however many other authors who weren’t accepted, end of story. However, that plan was made before we knew we’d get over 100 applicants. You may recall, there was a FAQ question in which we indicated that if we didn’t get 20 applicants, we’d keep applications open longer until we had that minimum. That FAQ item was there because we genuinely thought that was a possibility. Meanwhile, we were using 100 applications as our “long shot worst-but-best case scenario” number (worst because it would mean a lot of work for us, best because !zomg! so much interest is amazing).
Needless to say, all ya’ll’s enthusiasm blew us out of the water in the best possible way. As a result, we actually ended up with four categories of applicants. These categories map roughly to the ratings people received on their rubrics. These categories are:
1. The 20 highest-rated authors have been accepted to Add Magic to Taste! An announcement of who they are is pending all 20 accepting our invitation. And also: omg ya’ll. Their stories were so good. So so so good.
2. The authors rated 21 to 40 are invited to join our Discord, and we are in the process of planning a second anthology that we will encourage them to contribute to. There will not be an open call for applicants for this second anthology. It will only be available to our “close but no cigar” applicants to Add Magic to Taste, and the theme will be “transformative works” of a work in the public domain – there’s currently a survey open to our Patrons so that they can decide what the transformed work will be but, spoilers, the current leader is “something by Shakespeare” and the most likely candidates are Much Ado About Nothing of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Participation in this anthology is optional, and no one can contribute to both it and Add Magic to Taste. We will have more information about the details on this anthology (such as schedule, pay scale, finalized theme, and expected launch and merch) sometime next week. To be clear: all the transformations will be hella queer. We are actually considering titling the anthology either “Queering (name of work)” or “(name of work) (but Make it Queer)” just so there’s no doubt.
3. Among the remaining 62 applicants, there were some works that impressed us in one regard or another. These works tended to have issues in one or two rubric categories (such as the writing sample was a vignette instead of a story, or the ideas were fantastic but the grammar was lacking). There are 24 people in this category; they are being invited to our Discord so that they can get to know us and we can get to know them, and we can offer mentoring opportunities, betaing chances, and encouragement for their writing.
4. Finally, the remaining 38 individuals – we’re so glad you applied, but we don’t think you’re “there” yet. Your work isn’t quite close enough to “publication ready” for us to feel that a little extra mentoring/support will make the difference. This doesn’t mean we thought your work was bad. Every single applicant did something right. Truly. We were amazed by the hard work everyone did on these stories. For the people in this last category – we strongly encourage you to keep improving your writing, try to find a good editor and/or beta, learn to read your own work critically, study stories you found successful and try to emulate them, and take other approaches that will help improve your writing – and we hope you’ll apply again in the future. We’d love to see your progress!
Also, in the interest of full disclosure, we will say publicly: there were seven people involved in the process of anonymizing and rating these stories. (unforth, jhoom, alessariel, adaille, lasafara, Foop, and ramblingandpie). You can request your rubric by replying to the e-mail you receive, but the rubrics are anonymized and you will not know who rated you.
In addition, five of the seven people who participated in rating the stories were also applicants (unforth, jhoom, adaille, lasafara, and ramblingandpie). Two of us were accepted (unforth and jhoom will be contributors to Add Magic to Taste) and three of us were not. This matches the expected statistics for the entire applicant pool, where roughly 40% of applicants were either accepted to Add Magic to Taste or invited to the untitled-but-planned second anthology. Our 5 applications were also randomized, and in a couple instances had to be reassigned (for example, when I – unforth – opened a particular document, I recognized within the first paragraph that it was written by my wife, ramblingandpie, and so it was reassigned. It also turned out that Alessariel recognized my story, and Foop had beta-read jhoom’s). So – we treated our own group the exact same as we treated ya’ll’s, and we’re actually quite proud that we can say – look, the playing field was even, we did everything we could to keep this fair, just look at our own outcomes for proof.
To all 102 applicants, we wanted to say: in the end, we want to work with people who want to work with us. That core desire trumps rubric ratings, grammar, writing quality, and everything. As long as you want to write, and want to be published, are open to constructive criticism, and are working to improve – we are confident that every single person who applied to Add Magic to Taste could, someday, find a home publishing with Duck Prints Press.
Thank you all so much for your interest, support, encouragement, and willingness to share your creativity. We truly had a blast reading everyone’s submissions (and we each gained at least one new fandom after reading your fic – mine was Red White and Royal Blue, which I bought and read right after I finished reviewing your stories). This process has been incredibly, inspiring, and we are so excited to see what’s to come and read the work that everyone creates as part of Add Magic to Taste and our other future projects.
We look forward to moving forward with all of you at our sides!