Thursday, 30 June 2011

Short Story Workshop

The markets may be dwindling, but that's all the more reason to polish up your writing and targetting skills to get yourself ahead of the competition.

If you're within reach of the Northamptonshire area and free on Saturday 30th July, why not sign up for Helen Hunt's short story workshop? Helen's been writing for the women's magazines for a few years, and has had tremendous success, especially with Woman's Weekly. The day costs just £30 and includes a critique of a story to be sent beforehand by email.

Click on the link above for full details and how to contact Helen. I bet it'll be an excellent workshop and you'll learn loads.

I'm off on a course myself on Sunday in Bath - How to Sell Your Novel, run by Sarah Duncan. Am nowhere near wanting to try to sell it yet, however! I believe there might still be places available on that course - email sionhillcourses (at) if interested.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Bring Back Fiction

Campaigns to get fiction reinstated in as many magazines as possible are popping up all over the place. I've heard of another one tonight - recommending as many people as possible email Take A Break asking why there's been no coffee-break fiction in the weekly magazine recently. The email address to use is Readers, writers, writers' mums - we should all send a message. Fight for your markets!

My understanding is that Take A Break has a new editor who is wanting to make her mark by changing the magazine.

Not so many years ago, Woman's Weekly got a new editor, and she also reduced the amount of fiction in the weekly magazine. There was an outcry, and the fiction was reinstated and then increased. I'm all for change, but it needs to be the right change, not change for change's sake.

So spread the word, email the mags, put messages on facebook, and ask everyone you know to do the same.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Magazine facebook pages

Delighted to see so many people requesting fiction on the various facebook pages for magazines. The desire to see the return of the short story seems to be alive and well. I don't recognise all the names so assume many of them are readers...

Diane reports that Australian Women's Weekly have taken note of the facebook comments asking for more fiction. So this campaign might just work!

These pages do look like a good way of keeping up with what's going on in the magazines. For instance on the Woman fb page there's a mention of their Summer Special which comes out on 1st July and which contains some short stories. I suspect they are commissioned from well known novelists but we'll see when it comes out. Maybe if people buy this and enjoy the stories they could consider writing to the magazine or commenting on facebook about how good the stories are?

Also noticed an opportunity for book reviewers on the Woman page - email them on to ask for a chance to review their weekly Hot Read.

UK magazines which have dropped fiction in the last 7 years (since I've been writing) are: Chat, That's Life, Best, Bella, Woman, Woman's Own, The Lady, Take A Break (weekly), Candis. That's just off the top of my head so may not be complete. Fiction lovers are forced to buy Woman's Weekly, My Weekly, People's Friend or the fiction specials from these magazines or Fiction Feast. I do think there is room on newsagents' shelves for a bit more weekly fiction!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Woman magazine relaunch

No fiction in the Woman magazine relaunch. But they are on Facebook - if you go there and 'like' them you can post on their wall about what you'd like to read in the magazine... if enough people called for fiction I wonder if they'd consider it?

With thanks to Pat P for passing me this link.

Edited 12th June to add: Julie P is starting a crusade to bring back fiction in weekly magazines. Check out her facebook page and blog for details.

Also take a look at Diane's blog, which lists more magazine facebook pages where you can leave feedback about the magazine content.

Womag writers of the world unite!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Take A Break revamp

Julie P noticed there's been a distinct lack of fiction in the weekly Take A Break since its recent revamp. More true-life and celeb gossip.

Does anyone know for certain if they are dropping the fiction slot? I know occasionally in the past they've missed a week or two but then it's come back, so maybe this is just a blip. Let's hope so.

To clarify - we're talking about the weekly TAB magazine here, which traditionally has taken one one-page story each week. The monthly Fiction Feast is unchanged.

Edited 11th June to add - some writers have had confirmation from Norah that the weekly TAB is definitely dropping its fiction slot for now.

Another market gone.

Edited 13th June to add - here's TAB's Facebook page if you'd like to leave comments about the new format.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Selling Overseas

I've finally had a few minutes to sit down and catch up with the latest (July) issue of Writers' Forum, which contains an excellent article by Australian women's mag writer, Glynis Scrivens. She explains how, starting with a decent story and with the help of this blog and a bit of hard work, you might manage to sell the same basic story several times in different countries.

So how does this work?

When you sell a story in the UK, you are (usually) selling First British Serial Rights. That means you are guaranteeing that this is the first time the story has been published in Britain. If you sell to an Australian magazine, you're selling First Australian rights. If you sell to a US magazine, it's First North American rights, etc. So the same story can be sold many times, without any clash of rights. Having said that, always specify in your covering letter if your story has already been published anywhere in the world, and take care with Woman's Weekly which is on sale in Australia as well as in the UK.

Glynis makes the very good point that you must tailor your story depending on the market you're submitting to. (Of course, you always do that anyway, don't you? You wouldn't dream of submitting the same story to People's Friend and Take A Break without changing it, would you?) Things to bear in mind when sending a story overseas is to ensure it's not too English. Don't go referring to British soap operas and the UK Prime Minister. A quick Google search will find you suitable alternatives depending on the chosen market. And use tourist websites to find a good setting for your story. Don't forget, stories set in exotic holiday destinations eg Egypt or the Caribbean could sell to any country.

This blog (which Glynis mentions in her article several times - cheers!) has details of a few overseas markets which take stories from UK writers. But you may know of more, or you may be able to find more using a bit of detective work. Some Scandinavian magazines take stories written in English and will translate them.

I've sold to Australian That's Life but not to any other overseas markets, though I must admit there are some I've never submitted to. But if you've written a good story, make it work for you by selling and reselling. Glynis knows a writer who sold the same story 8 times (including anthologies). Now there's a target to aim for!

What are your experiences of selling abroad? Does anyone know of more markets they are willing to share? Any more tips for reselling stories? And if anyone wants to swap magazines for market research purposes, feel free to get in contact via this post.