My Weekly are actively seeking manuscripts for pocket novels. You don't have to have sold anything to them before. They've recently changed their guidelines and added categories Murder and Thriller. Perhaps you've got an unpublished MS around 50,000 words you could edit and send in?
Here are their latest guidelines. Apologies for formatting - this is cut'n'paste from a PDF document. To see the guidelines in their full technicolour glory, email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for them. Or go to Sally Q's blog where she has a link to them.
Pocket novels are exciting, thrilling reads that sweep the reader away for adventures and intrigue, drama and romance! The focus is on the developing relationship between our two main characters, which of course will end in love, but how will they get there? That’s where the adventures and intrigue come in – we want you to excite and thrill, charm and alarm the reader, and have her (or him) gripped, unable to stop reading until the very last page.
DO: Create real characters the reader can believe in – they can have flaws.
DO: Have a plot – it can be thrilling or chilling, puzzling or alarming – that brings our heroine and hero together. They must have a murder or a mystery to solve, or something precious to save (a child, an inheritance – even their pride and independence) that keeps them communicating, and builds a relationship.
DO: Keep the tension building, paying particular attention to drama in every chapter ending. Let’s make the story a real page-turner for the reader.
DO: Set our pulses racing, BUT remember we want passion not pornography, (so no explicit descriptions of either physical details or intimate action).
PLOTTING: Keep the pace building and compel the reader to turn the page with cliff-hanging chapter endings.
PEOPLE: Characters are real people with real characteristics, dreams and hopes, virtues and failings. Make sure the villains get their come-uppance!
HOW: Get over the action and explain the plot through your characters talking and doing, rather than telling the reader (ratio: 60/40 talking/telling). Don’t tell the readers what to think!
WHO: Our heroines vary in age from their late teens to middle-age, and are compassionate and morally sound. They are modern in their relationships, thoughts, feelings and experiences. The story is usually told from the woman’s point of view, although occasionally it is from the man’s.
WHERE AND WHEN: Modern or historical, set in the UK and interesting, exotic or dangerous locations around the world.
ROMANCE Traditional Modern Historical Medical
CRIME Murder Thriller
SYNOPSIS: Please send a synopsis and the first three chapters via email. We will ask to see the rest of the
novel if we are interested.
WORDCOUNT: 50,000 words
Please note: Double quotes, single space only between full stop and next sentence.
Please email to email@example.com
Sally Q tells me a friend of hers, who has only recently started writing, sent in a synopsis and 3 chapters as her first ever submission. And the editor, Maggie Seed, wants to see more! Well done that writer!
Remember, although £300 isn't much for 50,000 words, you can usually resell your novel to Ulverscroft as a large print novel, and earn Public Lending Rights payments for ever afterwards.