Anonymity and SFWA status
 
In the beginning... we chose to make Metaphorosis submissions anonymous. We didn't want to be affected, even subconsciously, by authors' names and histories. We wanted authors to know that we were judging their work, not their publication history. If authors did include their names, we read the stories anyway - just with a little irritation.

After a couple of months, we stepped back from the anonymous submission policy. We found that a fair number of people included their names despite the policy. Some of these were no doubt mistakes - it's an extra step to anonymize a submission. Some were probably people who hadn't bothered to read the submission guidelines - not a good way to get on the editor's good side. And some were people who were well known in the SFF world - the very people whose histories might affect us. We debated instituting a strict 'not anonymized = rejected' policy, but a poll of previous submitters convinced us that the majority of authors didn't care about anonymity. So authors can now submit their stories without having to remove their names.


Despite the change, we're still only interested in the stories themselves. We've rejected stories by well-known, traditionally published authors, and we've bought stories by unknowns. Who the author is just doesn't really matter to us. Would we reject a story from Patricia McKillip or Ursula Le Guin? In the unusual circumstance that either of them wrote a bad story, I think we would.


In addition to their names, a fair number of authors include their SFWA membership on their submissions, or the awards they've won, or some other mark of recognition. I'm not certain what they expect us to do with the information. I'm happy for them that they've met the SFWA membership requirements. It's a definite accomplishment, and one to feel justifiably proud of - something to tell your friends, your parents, maybe your agent. For me, though, it's meaningless. I haven't found stories by SFWA members to be better than those by non-members. The thing is, I'm going to read the story anyway. I don't see the membership info until the story is open on my screen, and I'm ready to plunge in. The story is what it is. A weak story by an SFWA member is still a weak story. A great story by an unknown is still a great story.


Submissions to Metaphorosis aren't anonymous anymore. But acceptance is still based on the quality of the story itself. If you've won awards, attended workshops, been recognized in some other way, that's great. Be proud of it. If we accept your story, feel free to mention it in your bio, or your interview. Until then, though, don't feel the need to tell us about it. Let the quality of your story speak for itself.