Monday, 15 October 2018

Over to You

Here's another monthly random photo for use as a story prompt. 

It's also your chance to share success (or otherwise) ask questions*, report any womag news, tips, advice you may have, or make womag related comments or observations. (If you have news or a question relating to a particular magazine, it's also fine to add it as a comment to the latest post for that magazine.)

*If you can answer these, please do.

What made you want to write fiction?

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Mulling things over



Sorry the blog has been rather quiet lately – I've spent two months travelling around Scotland and had very limited internet, so haven't kept up very well with what's going on.








I haven't done a great deal of writing either, but I'm thinking of setting a story on the Island of Mull (where these pictures were taken) so I can pretend the whole thing was research.








I've had emails, including some acceptances from Allas, My weekly, Fiction Feast and The Weekly News.














There was also news of a competition win and the request that editors keep hold of stories for possible inclusion in You (South Africa), The People's Friend and the My Weekly annual ... for 2021!









The trip has given me time to think about what I want from my writing. The rights issue with Woman's Weekly really dampened my enthusiasm for womag stories for a while.









Then one rainy day during the trip I was idly flicking through magazines in a shop and found one of my stories.







I realised I can't give up the way it feels to see my name in print and to know people are reading and enjoying stories I've written.










What's been happening with you whilst I've been away? Have you been writing? Do you have any sales or other news to report?

















Monday, 17 September 2018

Over to You

Here's another monthly random photo for use as a story prompt. 

It's also your chance to share success (or otherwise) ask questions*, report any womag news, tips, advice you may have, or make womag related comments or observations. (If you have news or a question relating to a particular magazine, it's also fine to add it as a comment to the latest post for that magazine.)

*If you can answer these, please do.

Do you tell people you're a writer?

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Time's running out...


It's almost your last chance to get Perfect Timing for 99p / 99c. Tomorrow it'll be going up to £1.99 / $2.99.

Perfect Timing

Whether we have long hours to fill, or not a moment to spare, time plays an important part in all our lives. We might not watch the clock, but we can't escape the impact of the seconds ticking away. Time waits for no woman, neither will it accelerate at her command. It's no more considerate of men, children and teddy bears.

Being a little early, or late, can have a big impact; it could mean missing a train, inheritance, or much needed meal. Or help us catch a crook, rescue a neighbour, show us what's really important. Maybe it's not our own timekeeping we have to worry about, but that of loved ones, colleagues or adversaries.


You can read each of the stories in this book in just a few minutes, or enjoy all 25 at once over several hours.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Time for a bargain.

My latest short story collection, Perfect Timing is for sale at the introductory offer price of 99p / 99c for the next few days.


Perfect Timing

Whether we have long hours to fill, or not a moment to spare, time plays an important part in all our lives. We might not watch the clock, but we can't escape the impact of the seconds ticking away. Time waits for no woman, neither will it accelerate at her command. It's no more considerate of men, children and teddy bears.

Being a little early, or late, can have a big impact; it could mean missing a train, inheritance, or much needed meal. Or help us catch a crook, rescue a neighbour, show us what's really important. Maybe it's not our own timekeeping we have to worry about, but that of loved ones, colleagues or adversaries.


You can read each of the stories in this book in just a few minutes, or enjoy all 25 at once over several hours.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

In case you missed it ...

This comment was left on one of my earlier posts –

"Hi all (@cella @geraldine in particular),

Im writing from workers' rights campaigning group Organise (organise.org.uk), we help people get better rights from their employers. I saw the article about WW in the Guardian and wanted to get in touch to see if we can be of any help (we're free of charge by the way!). We have worked with everyone from academics to Amazon warehouse workers to help them get better rights at work. 

I would love to speak to someone, particularly Tara if anyone has her details, about how we can help. Please do contact me on usman@organise.org.uk "


It was an anonymous reply and I don't know anything about this organisation, but some of you may wish to make contact. The guardian article mentioned, is probably this one.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Over to You

Here's another monthly random photo for use as a story prompt. 

It's also your chance to share success (or otherwise) ask questions*, report any womag news, tips, advice you may have, or make womag related comments or observations. (If you have news or a question relating to a particular magazine, it's also fine to add it as a comment to the latest post for that magazine.)

*If you can answer these, please do.

What's the worst piece of writing advice you've ever come across?

Monday, 13 August 2018

That's Life and Fast Fiction (Australia) submission guidelines

That's Life! is a weekly Australian magazine published by Pacific Mags. That's Life Fast Fiction is the quarterly fiction special. (There's a UK magazine called That's Life, published by Bauer, but sadly they discontinued their excellent fiction page several years ago.)

The fiction editor is Jude Durant. All submissions should be sent to her by email Fastfiction (at) pacificmags (dot) com.au

Stories must not have been previously published anywhere.

One page stories, of no more than 600 words are wanted for the weekly magazine. A few of this length are also used in the quarterly magazine, along with some of around 1,600 words, but most will be in the 900 to 1,100 range.

Jude tells me that dialogue driven stories are preferred. They should appeal to women over 35.

A wide range of genres are considered including thrillers, revenge, sixth sense or spooky stories, romance and feelgood stories. Quirky or amusing 'light bite' stories are welcome, as are heartwarmers and those including animals or children.

Previous guidelines requested that the title, genre and word count be included in the email header and I still do this in case it's useful.

See this post for what happens after your story is submitted.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Guest post by womagwriter rights champion Carol Bevitt

My guest today is writing friend and #writingchat co host, Carol Bevitt. She's written an article for Writing Magazine on the Woman's Weekly all rights issue, and I invited her here to explain why.

I was as shocked as other writers when the news began to spread of Woman’s Weekly‘s new ‘all rights’ contract for fiction accepted for publication. The ongoing lack of communication with their regular writers created confusion, anger and obviously worry about the future of existing work in the system.

Although I wasn’t personally affected by the proposed changes, I’d hoped to submit to WW sometime in the future; as many writers have mentioned, WW is a benchmark for quality fiction, so a target publication.

When a writer friend (on Twitter) suggested I approach Writing Magazine editor Jonathan Telfer and tell him what was happening and ask if he could help in any way. He considered the all rights contract an important issue for the magazine to cover. My ‘Womag Rights’ article published in the September issue and in newsagents from today (2nd August) is the result.

I only had ten days and the article would not have been possible without the support and quotes from a number of womag writers. I wanted their voices to tell readers how and why this copyright change is disturbing. But equally WW’s owners needed to have an opportunity to give their viewpoint.

Being able to step back and look at – excuse the cliché – the bigger picture I was able to make the best use of my research, quotes and the possibilities if the new contract goes ahead. But most of all, I hope, that this tells the reader all they need to know about womag writers and the demands of their job.

Treat writers fairly and the womags they write for will benefit with quality fiction, while the readers will continue to buy the magazine. Result, everyone wins.

Now we just need owners TI Media to realise that...


Thank you, carol. Obviously I hope it will add to the growing pressure on the owners of Woman's Weekly to rethink this, but even if it doesn't, it will help make more writers aware of the implications of giving up all rights, and therefore be better able to decide if they're willing to do that. 

(For a little more on the WW issue, see Simon Whaley's latest blog post.)

Update – WW's owners have announced on twitter that they're excited about their rebranding. Some fiction writers are responding ...

Monday, 30 July 2018

Womag – a genre?

"How would you define womag fiction?" is a question I was asked recently.

The simple, although perhaps not very helpful, answer is, "It's any fiction which is published in a magazine aimed at women."

They do have other things in common. Usually they'll be an easy read – no overly complicated sentences or words requiring use of the dictionary and Google searches in order to follow the plot. There are exceptions, but generally they won't be shocking, or seriously disturbing – though they might surprise you and make a reader think. They'll be intended to appeal to women – but not just women. Many womags have male readers and are a keen to encourage more. Usually the stories have a happy ending, and generally the main character will have brought this about themselves, rather than relying on a handsome man to save her (often, but not always, the main character is a woman.)

Perhaps it's easier to say what they're not? They aren't all the same. They're not all written to a standard formula. They don't comprise just one genre or style. You're as likely to read a tearjerker as something which makes you laugh, a modern ghost story might well be in the same issue as a historical romance.

The lengths are different – anything from around 500 words to 25,000 for some serials. Then there are pocket novels, at twice that length, which are still often considered womag, despite not actually being printed within the pages of a magazine. Word length is the easiest thing to know you've got right. Simply get your computer to count the words in your document and compare it to the guidelines (found in the quick links in the right hand column of this blog.) A few words out will usually be fine, but the closer you can get your story to the required length, the easier it will be for the editor to fit it on the page(s).

Sometimes editors will also give guidance on the type of stories they'd like and subjects they do, or don't, want covered. Again the guidelines might help. Sometimes editors send newsletters, or write blog posts (Shirley Blair of The People's Friend has her own blog) with this information, or you may get clues from editorials or even rejections.

Reading the fiction in a particular magazine is, I think, the best way to get a feel for the genres and subjects they're likely to publish. If you can, do read several issues – and make sure they're current ones, not those your great-granny bought when she was courting!

Reading the magazines also helps with what I think is the hardest aspect to get right – the tone. With some the stories will all be warm, maybe even quite gentle. Others will feature some with a bit of edge or darkness to them. Some editors prefer traditional stories, with a single POV and linear layout. Others like twist endings, or something a little more experimental, even quirky.

Relationships are always a popular topic for womag stories. These can be romances, friendships or  stories about families. Keep It In The Family is my latest collection of 25 short stories, all in this latter category.  Most of them have previously been published in womags.

Do you agree with my description of womag fiction? Do you have anything to add? Can you think of any genre or category of story which couldn't be adapted to suit a womag?

Thursday, 26 July 2018

That's Life and Fast Fiction (Australia) submissions process.

That's Life in Australia is a weekly magazine. It seems similar in style to the UK magazine of the same name, except that it carries fiction as well as the 'real life' and lifestyle articles, puzzles and recipes. There's also a quarterly fiction special, called Fast fiction.

Anyone may submit previously unpublished fiction, via email. This will be automatically acknowledged (wouldn't it be lovely if all those magazines which aren't able to send individual acknowledgements were to do this?)

No rejections are sent. They say if you've not heard back in six months it's 'unlikely' your story has been selected for publication. Personally I'd wait a little longer before submitting elsewhere as I have had acceptances up to eight months after submission. 

If a story isn't accepted you may resubmit it as 'A story that's unsuitable, in length or theme, for one issue, may be perfect for another'. I'd be interested to know if anyone has been successful with a resubmission to them. (This policy is unusual – generally if a story is rejected the editor won't want to see it again unless they've actually asked for a rewrite, or for you to submit it again at a later date.)

If a story is accepted, you'll be emailed, may be asked to confirm that it hasn't been published before, and if it's your first with them, asked to sign the contract and complete a form with payment details. You'll be told which issue it has been accepted for and the amount due 9in Australian dollars). You'll also be invited to submit an invoice. You can do that straight away, but payment won't be made until around publication date.

Unfortunately, unless you live in Australia or have a friend who does, it's very difficult to see your stories as the magazines aren't on sale elsewhere, even by subscription. 

I have one in the next spring issue – which will of course be out this autumn!

Monday, 23 July 2018

Submission's process

As several people have said they found it useful, I'll be posting details about my experience of submitting to each of the magazines and adding that as a new label and as a category in the 'quick links' so it's easy to find.

I've already done this for In The Moment and The Weekly News and to some extent with The People's Friend. I'll be adding to these and updating them as things change.

I won't be doing them for any magazines which take all rights, currently that's Yours, Your Cat and Woman's Weekly, as I won't personally submit under those terms and don't recommend anyone else to either. (I'm hoping there will be something to report re WW soon, but don't have any definite information yet.)

Of course it's absolutely your choice where you submit and which terms you accept, but please ALWAYS read contracts carefully and be very sure you understand what the terms mean and that you're willing to accept them BEFORE signing.

I've included a cooling picture of a beach, as I think that's likely to be useful for a lot of you at the moment, and I do try to be useful!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Reassurance from The People's Friend

If you're concerned about other magazines attempting to bring in all rights contracts, and haven't yet read Shirley Blair's blog, do have a read.

As she says, their contracts allow them to use our stories in multiple ways, yet still leave us with some rights, including being able to say they are our stories. As DCT also own My Weekly and The weekly News, and use the same contracts, I think we should be safe with them too.


Monday, 16 July 2018

Over to You

Here's another monthly random photo for use as a story prompt. 

It's also your chance to share success (or otherwise) ask questions*, report any womag news, tips, advice you may have, or make womag related comments or observations. (If you have news or a question relating to a particular magazine, it's also fine to add it as a comment to the latest post for that magazine.)

*If you can answer these, please do.

Is there a particular womagwriting goal you're working towards?

Friday, 13 July 2018

My own clarification!

(Yes, I'm STILL banging on about Woman's Weekly!)

Just in case there is still any doubt – My feelings about the all rights contract have not changed. It's unfair, unnecessary and unacceptable. I won't sign it. If you wish to, that's your choice, but I haven't 'caved in'. I'd be delighted to submit work to WW in the future, but won't do so if the only option is to give up all rights.

I agree that, even ignoring the terrible terms, the entire matter has been handled very badly. All writers should have been fully and clearly informed at the same time, rather than information reaching many via groups, social media and this blog. It seems entirely possible there are some who still don't know.

I did ask for permission to report the fact that previously accepted stories would be published under the old terms, on this blog, but recieved no response. I did so anyway because as well as being informed personally, I heard from others who'd had similar emails, and saw it on social media, so felt it was in the public domain – despite the fact that some writers have still not yet recieved any 'clarification' directly from anyone at WW.

I'm doing my very best to keep everyone informed. Thank you to those who're passing on information, offering support and/or joining me in taking a stand on this issue. To those who've insulted my by assuming I've abandoned my principles (and bravely done so anonymously) ... I hope your comma key gets sticky and you have to press it really hard for it to work – maybe that'll vent some of your anger.

If anyone is at all unsure about the terms any of their stories have already been accepted under, or will be in future, or if they have any queries or comments regarding this issue, please do email Emma or Jane at Woman's Weekly.