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How to find magazine submission guidelines, or anything else on this blog.

I sometimes get emails and messages asking for information that's already available on this blog. I'm hoping this post will save p...

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Very friendly

I'm very pleased to have a story in the current issue of The People's Friend, along with some virtual writing friends.

There will be another one of mine in a fortnight's time, and more to come in the future as I've just heard I've sold them two more.

See here for some tips from 'my' editor, for writing stories for The Friend.

Monday, 29 June 2020

A few words of caution

I'm posting this because of something I saw in an online group. Some members clearly misunderstood the situation, and if they did, it seemed likely others will too.

When you sell rights (any rights from single use to all rights) you generally sell them to the company who own the publication – not the magazine or the editor. The rights you sold will belong to that company for the term of the agreement (which is usually the whole copyright term, so long after your death). This will be stated in the contract.

You don't get those rights back if the editor moves on, or the magazine closes, or it was such a long time ago you think it doesn't count anymore. The only way you can regain your rights is to buy them back – and whoever bought them is under no obligation to agree.

Please, please, please don't sign any contract until you're sure you understand all of it completely, and that you agree with the terms offered. And keep a copy! Don't assume you'll remember, and don't assume you can ask another writer to check for you – they may well have been offered different terms, especially if they signed at a different time.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Couple of things...

Lucy at The People's Friend thought this post, on writers' rights, might be of interest.

I'm the latest guest on the Healthy Happy Writer Show. You can listen or watch here. I talk (and talk and talk!) about different writing related topics, including Womag and copyright.

Update. Three things now! I've just had an acceptance (from YOU) for a story which was sent three days short of two years ago!

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Guest post by Della Galton – Selling All Rights

Today's guest, Della Galton, is probably known to all of you as a very successful womag writer.

Selling All Rights

Long ago when I joined a creative writing class – which was what got me started as a writer – I was told by the tutor never to sell All Rights to my work.
All Rights meant that you no longer owned your work. You literally handed it over lock stock and barrel to a new owner, who could if they wished make a film script from it, put their name on it, sell it on to someone else, enter it in a competition, all without asking your permission, or, of course, paying you any extra fee.
For the above reasons selling All Rights was a financially unsound thing to do, especially in the days when you could sell the rights more than once. However it could possibly be considered as an option if the buyer paid handsomely. Not many writers did it though. Not ones who knew what they were selling anyway.
There was another very good reason not to do it. After all, if a few writers were to start selling All Rights to their work then what was to stop all markets demanding that all writers did it?
If this happened then sooner or later writers would be redundant. Why would a market pay for new work when they could simply reprint old work without payment?

Have things changed? Is it OK to sell All Rights now? Obviously it’s up to the individual writer what they do with their work, just as it always has been. But everything I’ve said above still applies.
I often hear writers say that it’s OK for well paid bestselling authors but that the poorer ones among us have no choice.
We ALL have a choice. Although not necessarily a very palatable one.
Everyone has bills. Lots of us – myself included – are self supporting with no partner to help and no other income but writing related earnings. When Woman’s Weekly decided to buy All Rights I made my choice not to sell them any more work. This meant I took on a cleaning job, to supplement my writing income. Not a choice I particularly relished. But a choice none the less.

So now Take a Break has followed suit and I know some writers will be saying, Oh no, but I have no choice. If I don’t sell All Rights I won’t be able to pay my mortgage/rent/bills.
There is actually still a choice.
I have now added an invoicing job to my cleaning job and my writing job. I think they call it portfolio working. This enables me to continue working for markets that don’t take All Rights for fiction. I’m very happy about that.

To end on a very positive note, I’ve been approached twice recently by publishers asking if I still owned the rights to my short stories. I now have an anthology of short stories aimed at teaching people English coming out in Russian and English. I can’t wait to see what my work looks like in Russian.
I was also approached and given a very good fee for a story to be reproduced as part of an educational course used by Oxford University Press. Neither of these things would have happened if I’d sold the rights to what is MY work. Please think about it before you sell the rights to what is YOURS.

If you enjoy Della's writing, you might like to take a look at her latest novel, Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff Hill. I've not read that one yet, but I've read and enjoyed several of her other books. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Over To You

What's happening in Womag land?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Do you have tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Feel free to use the photo as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Yours Fiction guidelines

Thanks to Alyson Hilborne for sharing these guidelines she spotted in Yours Fiction. Please note that although Yours and Yours fiction are sister publications, they have different submission guidelines and you must state which magazine your story is for.

Both Yours and Yours fiction are open to submissions from all writers. They both take quite extensive rights, but after discussions with myself and others they no longer take all rights.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Double quick

Just a quick note to say that two of my novels are on sale today and tomorrow for half price – that's 99p (99c) each for Firestarter and A Year And A Day.

And I've got two stories in the July issue of Take A Break's Fiction Feast which is out today. That'll be the last time, unless they rethink the decision to impose all rights contracts.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Fiction Feast – all rights contracts.

Heres an email I've just received from Fiction Feast.

Dear Patsy
Thank you for continuing to submit your stories to Fiction Feast, we appreciate your contributions.

I am writing to let you know that from issue #10 this year (published in September 2020), both Take a Break Fiction Feast and Take a Break Monthly will be changing the basis on which fiction is commissioned. From that date we will require you to grant all rights for any commissioned work.

This is to bring Take a Break fiction commissioning in line with all other Bauer UK arrangements.

I have attached a copy of the commissioning agreement for your information. Clause 5 lays out the rights requirements. I have attached a copy of the commissioning agreement for your information. Clause 5 lays out the rights requirements. Please can you print out the Agreement, fill in your details and sign and date at the bottom, before emailing it back to us.

Please note that this change of rights applies to future commissions only.  Any work that we have commissioned from you previously will remain on an FBSR basis, as originally commissioned.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes


Helen Stables

And here's my reply.
Dear Helen,

I’m very sorry that you’ve taken this step as all rights contracts are very unfair to the writers. It’s entirely possible to have a contract which allows you to use the work multiple times and in multiple formats without taking away our moral rights and the ability to reuse our work in other ways, such as self publishing. I therefore won’t be submitting work under the new terms.



If you care about copyright, I suggest you do something similar. As I said in my last post, it is possible to make publishers think again, but for this to happen with Fiction Feast it will need a lot of us to work together.

All rights contracts – again.

If you came here because you're concerned about all rights contracts, then you can click on 'copyright' under this post to get my opinions on the matter. Those opinions are not favourable.

If you're here for my advice on the matter that's very simple – don't sign. Simply explain to whoever sent it that although you'd be happy to have your work published by them, you're not prepared to give up all your rights. They might listen – several of us asked Yours to reconsider and they did. 

The only way we can stop all magazines from taking all rights is if a lot of us refuse to sign any new all rights contracts, and if those who've already signed some contact the editors and explain they will no longer submit work under all rights terms, either in their own name or a pen name. We could achieve this together. I cannot do it alone.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Clarification on submissions to Yours

Several people have asked about the rules for submitting work to Yours Magazine and Yours Fiction. I asked for clarification, both for myself and to share on this blog. The response was as follows –

Dear Patsy
Thank you for your email.

It seems that many of our regular contributors are a little confused about the difference between submitting stories for the magazine or the Fiction Special. Just to clarify, any stories intended for publication in the magazine that are either approximately 1,200 words long or three-parters (see the Short Story Guidelines attached) should be clearly marked for my attention.

Any stories intended for the Fiction Special (which can be of any length) should be marked for Katharine’s attention.

Making it clear whether a story is intended for the magazine or the Fiction Special helps to ensure that Yours admin staff can direct it promptly to the right person.

Every time that a story is accepted for publication, either in Yours magazine or the Fiction Special, we will ask you to sign a contract accepting Bauer’s terms and conditions which in their revised form do allow writers to place their stories elsewhere. In other words, stories are no longer accepted on an All Rights basis.

Please feel free to contact myself or Katharine if you have any further queries.

Kind regards,
Marion Clarke
Contributing fiction editor

Those attached guidelines follow. 

SHORT STORY (fiction) Guidelines

Dear Reader/Writer,

YOURS is always looking for good short stories. Every submission is read but we receive more than a hundred manuscripts a month and are able to publish only one short story per issue.

Please allow up to six months for a reply and enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like your manuscript to be returned. Submissions should be 1000-2,000 words long and not have been published elsewhere before.

From time to time, we also publish longer stories that are serialised over three issues. These should be approximately 3,000-3,200 words long and the first two parts must end on a cliff-hanger so that readers will be eager to find out what happens in the next issue. 

Manuscripts can be sent by email or by post, clearly marked SHORT STORY. Submissions must be TYPED on one side of the paper and the title page must include the following:

  • 100 - 150 word synopsis.
  • An accurate word count.
  • Your full name (and real name if you write under a pen name), address & telephone number

If we can’t use your submission and you would like it returned to you please enclose a SAE with enough postage to cover the cost of the submission/s. 

TIP - Know your audience….

It is essential that you study three or four published stories in YOURS before writing anything for us.

Many manuscripts are rejected because, although they may be well written, the stories are aimed at a completely different market, such as younger women or a largely middle-class readership.

Read several issues of YOURS. This will give you a good idea of the type of reader you should be writing for and the general tone we use. 

Our readers range in age from fifties upwards, with most in their mid-sixties and seventies. They are mostly women, although YOURS is read by some men, so don’t ignore their interests! 

TIP - Good subjects….

Some of the most popular themes with YOURS readers are romance, families, grandchildren, nostalgia and wartime comradeship. A lot of our readers did war work and/or had husbands or boyfriends serving in the Forces. Don’t be limited to these subjects though; the style and tone of what you write about must appeal to our readers as much as the content.

The first line of your story should grab the attention; it is all too easy to start a story with a bang, which quickly turns into a damp squib by the end of the first page. Keep up the reader's interest until the end or they will not bother to get that far - and a brilliant surprise ending will not make them read it in the first place.

TIP - What to avoid….

Avoid stereotypical images of older people as ill, frail and lonely. Make sure your story is plausible and realistic and do not rely on unlikely coincidences. Try and avoid the hero turning out to be a cat or dog. Avoid downbeat subjects such as death, widowhood, illness and loneliness, or write about them in a positive way that does not dwell on negatives. 

Try not to rely on obvious plot devices such as twists in the tale and memory flashbacks. These are very common and, unless cleverly written, can be predictable. A good story does not always need a surprise.

Remember this….

Always think of YOURS readers, not just as older people, but as ordinary human beings who have experienced everything in life - childhood, growing up, starting work, falling in love, friends and family, joy, sorrow, heartache, longing and laughter. YOURS readers have their own interests and needs which match their years of experiences but many of their hopes, fears and dreams are shared by all of us and they still enjoy a good story.

Send your manuscript to*:
Short Stories (FAO: Marion Clarke)
Yours Magazine
Bauer Media
Media House
Peterborough Business Park
Peterborough, PE2 6EA

By email to: yours@bauermedia.co.uk (Subject: Short Story Submission for the attention of Marion Clarke) – email submissions must include contact telephone number and address details. 

Marion and the Short Story team

*PLEASE NOTE: If you would like us to return your submission, please include an SAE with the correct postage amount on it. We regret that any submissions without an SAE will not be returned. All successful submissions are accepted on Limited Licence Agreement

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Bitter Sweet

I'm pleased to have a story in the current issue of The weekly News, but sad this is the peultimate issue. My first ever acceptance letter came from Jill Finlay when she was fiction editor at The weekly News, so it's always been a favourite of mine.

In other news, That's Life! in Australia are no longer publishing fiction. There's some hope that this may only be temporary.

Stories sent either to Yours, or the fiction special need to be marked to show which publication they're for and something sent for one won't be considered for the other. I'll put more details in another post soon.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Your Go

What's happening in Womag land?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Do you have tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Feel free to use the photo as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

25 stories for 99p

Keep It In The Family, my collection of 25 'related' short stories is currently reduced to 99p / 99c.
Alec thinks he's suffered a medical emergency, Dr Kuttemopen says the same about his patient, and Jake and his granddad will be at risk from one if they carry on as they've been doing. With the support of loved ones, they could all put these predicted and suspected health problems behind them. Uncle Boris's condition will never go away, but neither will Aunt Jonna, so he'll not just cope, but enjoy doing so.
Everyone has problems or concerns from time to time. Some deal with them by always moving on and never looking back, others by asking the right question. They might try to keep them hidden, insist on bringing them into the open, or allow the sea to wash them away. Most will turn to their families for help, but all Miss Frencham's are gone. All she can do, is tell people about the bodies.
Anne's spent a lot of time waiting for her daughter; a whole lifetime, but it's been worth every second. Daniel's mother and Dizzy's father-in-law won't wait a moment for them, until they come to their senses and reunite their families. Stephanie's waiting for the right kind of snow, and Adam's waiting for the wrong sort of Santa. Their reward will be to know they did the right thing.
Families, whether we're born or married into them, or choose them for ourselves all have stories to tell. This collection contains 25 of them.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Would you like your story published in Best magazine?

Thanks to Christine Sutton for sending me this extract from a recent issue of Best magazine. Sadly they've not reinstated their regular fiction slot, but they are running another competition for a short story to be published in the magazine. The prize is £500.
If you click on the image, you should be able to get an unobstructed view of all the t&cs.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

A real shame (updated)

Don't click this link, unless you're prepared for bad news.

If you'd be disappointed by this news, you may want to consider taking out a subscription to a magazine you'd like to continue in business.

Updated 24/4/20 Lucy Chricton has asked me to include this link, to help explain the situation to The Weekly News writers.