They had 700 submissions in total and so far only 2 out of the 350 submissions they've read have made it further along the chain to be viewed by editorial.
Harris stresses how low this amount is. I actually think the fact that any have been deemed worthy to be passed along is a miracle.
Think about it, everyone thinks they've got a story that would make a good book. I can name five...well, they're not all really 'close' friends, but I know them reasonably well, who have gone so far as to actually write their book and want to have a career as writers.
I haven't read stuff by all of them, but I know at least one person's is terrible. Sorry, but some people can't write for toffee. So 20% is absolutely terrible right away. Apply this not-at-all-scientifically calculated percentage to Angry Robot's submissions and you're down to 560 manuscripts.
Then knock out the ones that people have submitted just because it was an open door month and anyone could submit anything.
I suspect that'll reduce the amount by quite a lot.
I'm not sure if Angry Robot included the amount of submissions in their count which were just 'wrong' for some reason. Didn't include name, or did something that broke the guidelines and was therefore automatically rejected. My guess is there was quite a number of those.
Then you can remove the 'okay' books. There seems to be a lot of those in bookshops, but I suspect Angry Robot would want to get rid of all those.
So really, having a ~0.5% success rate isn't too bad.
(of course this is only the amount sent to editorial - probably a number of those will also be rejected at this stage).
If Angry Robot can get one single book in print at the end of this, I would call the endeavour a success.
And they should.
Why? 700 people submitted. I suspect most of those will buy the book. Okay, so that isn't going to send the book to the top of the Amazon sales chart, but then there's all the free advertising the book and its author is going to get.
Every single book-site on the net is going to write an article about it. Since it's a sci-fi imprint, every single sci-fi site is going to feature it too. Twice. Once when the 'winner' is announced and again when the book is launched. The author is also going to be so grateful for his chance at the Big Time that he/she is going to do every single piece of advertising he can. Every interview, every book signing. All of them.
A follow up novel, well, that might have more trouble. It wouldn't have the same free advertising and would rely solely on the quality of the book.
Of course my book submission to Angry Robot was part of a trilogy, so obviously everyone's going to buy the second and third books :D