Maggie Seed, My Weekly's pocket novels editor, has issued a new set of guidelines which I've copied below. For all you pocket novel writers, the important things to note are the new longer length of 50,000 words, and the increased payment of £300.
MY WEEKLY POCKET NOVEL GUIDELINES
Love! Romance! Passion! Adventure! Avid fans of romantic novels can get their fix from My Weekly Pocket Novels! A great read for lovers of good stories
NEW LONGER LENGTH: 50,000 WORDS
PAYRISE RATE IS NOW £300 First Cheap Paperback Rights
We look for stories with a strong, developing romance between two identifiable characters.
We want to sweep the reader away in time and space to share and experience the breathless/breath-taking excitement of a growing relationship.
Do: Create characters our readers can identify with, rejoice with or grieve with. They can have flaws.
Do: Thrill and intrigue the reader. You have the time it takes to read the novel to take the reader through a gamut of emotions, thrills and dilemmas to resolve the mystery, pitfalls and obstacles.
Do: Include those heart-stopping moments! Key moments to consider: She realises she likes him; she thinks he is lost to her forever; that second-chance moment when happiness can be hers...THE KISS!
Some questions you might like to answer: How can she resist him? How did he misjudge her? What kind of a woman is she?
Do: Set our pulses racing (ooh la la!) BUT remember we want passion, not pornography!
Do: Use dialogue so the reader can participate in the story's development rather than being told in large chunks in straight narrative.
There can be a secondary plot to help develop the romance. For instance, there are often complications and misunderstandings between the hero and the heroine, or there is something vital at stake, such as a child, an inheritance, a relationship etc.
Crime and intrigue can feature, as long as they don't distract from the developing romance.
Who: Our heroines vary in age from their early twenties to middle-age and are compassionate and morally sound. They are more modern in their relationships, thoughts, feelings and experiences when the novel has a contemporary setting.
Where and When: Stories can be set anywhere in the world and can be contemporary or historical.
How: The story is usually told from the woman's point of view, although occasionally it is from the man's.
Please send in a synopsis and the first three chapters in manuscript form or via email.
If we wish to proceed, we will ask you to send in the full novel electronically.
Wordcount: around 50,000 words, no more than 52,000.
Double spacing, double quotes, single space only between full stop and next sentence.
If accepted for publication the completed novel must be presented electronically in a format compatible with ours (ie, Word or rich text format)
Payment: We pay £300 for First Cheap Paperback Rights
Please send to: My Weekly Pocket Novels D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd., 80 Kingsway East Dundee DD4 8SL