Wednesday, 28 April 2010

People's Friend Story Collection guidelines

Courtesy of Sally Q, whose had recent amazing success with My Weekly pocket novels, here are the guidelines for People's Friend pocket novels:

The People's Friend Story Collection is a satellite publication of the popular weekly magazine. It offers in one volume of 130 pages the kind of story that would normally be serialised over several weeks in The Friend.

Thus we are looking for stories with a strong emotional situation as their central theme, peopled by believable characters who the reader cares about, sympathises and empathises with, and roots for in whatever crises they may face. The characters are almost more important than the plotline. As the People's Friend themselves say in their own guidelines, the reader will remember good characters long after they have forgotten other details.

The hero or heroine are generally in their twenties or early thirties, although often the heroine of the story is in fact the mother figure who we feel for as she charts the tricky waters that being the matriarch of the modern family can entail. But when we talk about a modern family and the troubles they may face, we're talking in terms of broken love affairs, overcoming a bad patch in a marriage, lost jobs, disappointed dreams; we are not looking for drugs or sex or anything that could possibly be described as sordid or offensive.

The characters move the storyline forward to a satisying conclusion, so that when the reader turns the last page she feels a sense of pleasure that things had turned out the way she had hoped, although it might have looked a little doubtful at times! It's fair to say that almost all the stories are romances, although in a family saga the romances happen along the way rather than being the central action of the piece.

Dialogue is an important part of both the story's telling and in giving the reader an insight into each character. After all, we always get a different impression in a face-to-face meeting with someone as opposed to going by a third person's description. Dialogue also helps to keep a narrative lively.

Stories can be modern, wartime, even turn of the 19th/20th century, but not too distantly historical; they can be set in Britain or abroad. And in what way do they differ from a People's Friend serial? Only in the respect that because the story is available to the reader all at once, it doesn't require the same end-of-chapter tension that a weekly serial depends on to make the reader want to come back next week.

Stories are around 50,000 words, and a synopsis and the first couple of chapters are required in the first instance to assess both the storyline and the writer's style. These should be sent to People's Friend Story Collection, DC Thomson & co ltd, Albert Square, Dundee, DD1 9QJ.

So there you are - another market for those pocket novels. I don't know how much PF pay for them, but I imagine it's about the same as My Weekly pay - around £200.


Old Kitty said...


You get £200 for a story in My Weekly? Wow!


Thanks for these guidelines - they're so handy for me to know - like all the other guidelines you've so kindly provided for other women's magazine publications.

Take care

Bernadette said...

It's £200 for a My Weekly Pocket novel, Kitty.

The stories in the mag pay, I believe, about £80, though I have yet to find out first hand!

Louise Charles said...

I have been discussing a proposal for a pocket novel with Peoples Friend just recently and am told that they pay £300. They accepted that it was a lot of work and almost sounded apologetic!

aj said...

Not a lot of pay for a lot of work

Quillers said...

I agree the pay is little for a lot of work (having said that I can thrash out a pocket novel in about a fortnight, so £200 or £300 for two weeks work doesn't seem so bad to me), but it is the chance to spread one's wings writing wise, and get used to writing in a longer format. Plus once a pocket novel has been published, it will sometimes be picked up by a large print publisher, and put into libraries. I'm still waiting for that to happen with mine. I sent my first to Ulverscroft a couple of weeks ago and am awaiting their reply. But I'm told that one can earn much more from public lending rights.

Also, having a My Weekly Pocket Novel published has meant that I've had a chance to work with an editor who knows what she's talking about. As a result, I've learned much about the art of writing novels, albeit short ones, which I know has put me in good stead for the longer novel I'm now attempting.

Suzanne Jones said...

Thank you for posting these guidelines.

aj said...

I see your point Sally and well done, but with four kids it would take me more like two months to thrash out 50000 words and probably just as long without them lol without. I commend you.

Lydia said...

Sally - you can write 30000 in 2 weeks? I bow before your prolific creativity!! I'd be lucky to get 3000 down in that time! x

Quillers said...

All my offspring have flown the nest, so I've only got myself and my hubby to please. And I'm REALLY good at pretending there's no housework to be done and getting hubby to cook his own dinner ;-)

Having said that, I don't write one every fortnight. I need a bit of time off in between to get my breath back and let new ideas take hold. I do it that way because I find it easier to stick with and finish the story if I don't break in between.

I understand that not everyone can manage that, because of other commitments. I'm lucky that I do have the time - or maybe I just have no life ... ;-)

Lesley Cookman said...

I wish I was that prolific! I've got approximately 2 weeks to finish my current novel, and I'm only 40000 in, with another 35000 to 40000 to go. Do you want to come on over here and finish it for me?

Quillers said...

You can do it, Lesley! Just keep going and try not to think about the dishes piling up in the sink/dishwasher. I find that a deadline helps me focus much better.

Olivia Ryan said...

Yes thanks for this, Womag. I keep saying I'm going to have a go at a novella - just to find out whether I can do this 'middle' length in one volume, since I failed miserably at doing it as a serial! My friend Fenella (Miller) writes novellas for People's Friend and My Weekly and Sally's right - they get taken for large print and then go to libraries to give you PLR.
So although the pay doesn't seem great (in line with short story payments from DC Thomson!) they can end up being worthwhile. I sell short stories to P.Friend quite regularly but it's a very specific market - no divorcing, no sex, no 'canoodling' outside marriage, etc etc. Quite different from my novels in fact!!

Harry said...

they never publsh anything anyways. My friends have sent off SEVEN original differnet stories each they'd written but PF kept giving the same letter of "storyline too weak" though the stories were checked by a professional service as very good.

Carol MacLean said...

Hi, I've just discovered this blog and it's great. I've had two pocket novels accepted by My Weekly recently and am very excited but as the first one took 2 years and the second 1 year to write (!) I'm interested in making more money out of them. Any more info on the large print publishers I could use? thanks.

Anonymous said...

Instead of writing these pocket novels, have you thought about writing for Mills & Boon or Silhouette Romance instead as it's the same length and you'd make a lot more money!