Tuesday, 29 November 2011

That's Life - WF interview with fiction editor

The latest (January 2012) issue of Writers' Forum includes one of those marvellous Meet the Editor articles, this one written by Glynis Scrivens and the subject is Anthony Lambert of Australia's That's Life and Fast Fiction. Here's a brief summary of the main points, but as always do consider buying the magazine - it's on sale in WHSmith or you can subscribe via the link above.


  • Categories include romance, thriller, light bite, sixth sense, heartwarmer, revenge and tear jerker.

  • Stories vary from 700 words (1 page) to 2800 words (4 pages)

  • Stories need to be credible. Check everything actually works in your story.

  • Setting should usually be Australia unless there's a real need for the setting to be elsewhere eg a Scottish castle

  • Male viewpoint stories are welcome

  • Send seasonal stories six months in advance (and remember Aussie seasons are opposite to those in the UK!)

  • You can submit by email, and should receive an auto-response acknowledging your submission

  • Stories previously published elsewhere in the world (not Australia or New Zealand) are welcome, but Anthony will buy second rights for these, so you will earn less. (Beware, the UK Woman's Weekly is on sale in Australia.)

  • Anthony keeps a stock of shortlisted stories to fill gaps. But if you haven't had a response after six months assume your story is rejected. You are welcome to resubmit if you think the story is particularly good.
The basic guidelines are unchanged since this post so I won't repeat them.

Email submissions to fastfiction@pacificmags.com.au

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that!

Sam x

Alice said...

This is an excellent post. Thank you so much. I'm very intrigued by the overseas market as I haven't tried it yet (should probably break into the U.K one first really!!)

Anonymous said...

Hi - great post as always. With regard to the Aussie and That's life! market has anyone had any luck with Christmas Stories? I've read that they do all the same sort of things as we do at Christmas only it's hotter! I've sent them quite a few Christmas stories but without any success. Good wishes Kath

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info, as usual excellent, but is it me?
first we wait (I always waited several months) to hear news of our submissions, and then if we are 'lucky' we make the short list (I have made it several times) and then we wait up to six months to see if we are at last accepted or rejected! Mine incidentally must have been rejected as I didn't have the courtesy of an e-mail!I find these terms disgraceful.
I no longer submit stories to this magazine. what would M and S say if I tried to return the cardi I took home to try on nine months ago?
we are not talking about vast sums of money here - please buy it or reject it. I am sure that it is not beyond the company's finances to carry a few purchased stories to fill their gaps, even if they pay on publication - then at least we would know and possibly re-write for another market.
p.s. Alice, keep trying - I had about 20 rejections before I started selling, but now it's a substantial part of my income.( I still have far too many rejections, though!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon - It seems to me that al the mags tend to keep
us waiting now - the UK ones too. I had an acceptance after a year from one of our Woman's mags and six to eight months before a rejection is not uncommon now. Personally I think it would be a good idea if we writers had some sort of agreement amongst ourselves which we present as a co-ordinated position of our terms that if we haven't heard from a mag for say three months we will submit elsewhere then sell to the highest bidder! The reason being that after waiting for at least six months to hear back from an editor it may well be that what was once was once a fresh idea may well be covered by someone else thus reducing the writer's chances of selling elsewhere. What do other writers think? Good wishes Kath

Alice said...

Hi Anon, thanks for your encouragement-I really appreciate it and yes, I will keep trying :-)

I know what you mean, Kath. Being fairly new to this, I'd just be happy to get an acceptance. But, of course, writing is a hobby for me and not my livelihood. Would love that to change though!

Anonymous said...

Hi Alice

As long as you don't mind the wait with the Aussie market it may well be worth emailing them some of your stories. After reading of that's life! on this blog I decided to try them and I'm glad I did. Although I've sent them lots of stories in the past 18 months with no response to tell me whether those stories are shortlisted or otherwise they have bought three off me. They do pay very well too. They publish quite a varied collection of styles and stories and seem quite fond of the quirky. Of course I also agree with Anon who isn't too happy with the submission process - hence my earlier post. As I explained I'm not very happy with the long waits with the UK magazines either but what can we do - any ideas? Best wishes Kath

Patsy said...

I've had a few stories accepted by this magazine, so maybe I'm biased in their favour, but I don't find the terms 'disgraceful'. I'd prefer to always get a reply and for it to come quickly, but accept this would create more work for the editor.

Other magazines that always reply and give feedback have restricted both the number of submissions they'll accept and who can send them in, because they couldn't keep up with submissions.

At least with this mag, after 6 months we know the piece hasn't been accepted. Some other magazines never respond at all unless they're accepting the work and we're left not knowing how long we should wait.

Anonymous said...

hi Patsy,
I have to admit that's a situation I haven't encountered in the u.k. Yes, I have waited six months (Yours) i believe, but at least I had a reply. Are people experiencing 'no reply' in the u.k.?
which magazines are restricting the number of submissions they will accept? Again I haven't experienced that- no doubt there's an unpleasant surprise lurking! I know M.W. will only accept from previously accepted authors, but having said that a friend slipped one in under the wire!
It's not the six month wait that gripes me, it's 3 months til answer, followed by six months in the void, without the curtesy of an e- mail to finally say 'no'.
It's only this mag that annoys me, the u.k. mags haven't as yet hurled my work into the void. I have stories awaiting publication, and payment, but at least I know that they have been accepted.
i'd like to send a round of applause to P.F., they are quick to accept/reject

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon

Regarding People's Friend, yes I agree they waste no time in sending me rejections. Which although I'd prefer acceptances at least once I know where I am I can move on. Best wishes to all

Anonymous said...

hingityscluedosHi - due too the help of this super blog I've sold three stories to that's life! One to their weekly mag and two to the Fast Fiction magazine. Thanks for being here. Also many thanks to Glynis for scanning me a copy of my stories. Thanks again Glynis - much appreciated. I was just wondering who other writers submit to at the Mag once they've had acceptances? I'm not sure whether I should submit direct o the editor who has purchased my work or go through the general fast fiction email address. All advice gratefully received. Good wishes Kath

womagwriter said...

Hi Kath - there's only one fiction editor at That's Life so I think you carry on submitting via the link given on this post. Well done on selling those stories and good luck with the next batch!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Womag. This Blog is great and I believe without it I would not have had the success I've had this past eighteen months during my return to writing after a twenty year gap. I found my way here on an internet search and was amazed at all the info, advice and support . Thanks again. Good wishes Kath