Thursday, 7 January 2016

Seasonality

If you think about it, it's obvious that magazine editors will need stories in advance of the season in which they're set. Christmas stories are published before the big day, not in the new year and the February issue of the monthly specials are often out before twelth night.







It takes time for the editor to even get around to reading our submissions and making a decision, then she must decide in which issue it will appear. Illustrations have to be found and the magazine laid out, printed and distributed.








How early then should we send our stories? Sometimes editors will provide information regarding the time scale to which they're working, or you can make a guess based on the stories they're currently buying. In the absence of any clues, I suggest aiming for four to six months ahead of when you'd hope the story would be published.





How do you handle the issue of seasonality? Do you write Valentine's tales at Hallowe'en and work on summer ones in the depths of winter? Perhaps you write them at the time they're set and hold onto them until it's time to submit them? Maybe you avoid the issue altogether by producing stories which work year round?


My own method is to write whenever an idea occurs to me, regardless of whether it's the right time, and then ... forget all about it when it comes round to the correct time of year to submit it!

18 comments:

Teresa Ashby said...

My method is the same as yours, Patsy! xx

ados said...

Very much the same as you, Patsy. Am currently sitting on one Halloween and two Christmas stories. Nothing like being prepared.
Alyson

Beatrice Charles said...

But oh the frustration when a seasonal story is submitted in time but rejected several weeks, if not months later, too late to resubmit elsewhere. Then having to wait another year. Which is a good reason not to write a leap year story!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Sage advice thank you, Patsy! (And terrific photos)

Julie Day said...

I am writing a Xmas story now, which I hope to complete and send off in the next couple of months.

Linda said...

Strangely enough I was just wondering about this myself as I am halfway through a Christmas story - inspired by an idea that came to me over Christmas. I was wondering if it is too early to send Christmas stories now or best to wait awhile - so thanks for your helpful advice.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Once I get around to writing them consistently again, I do the same as you, Patsy! Love the photos.

Julie Day said...

Have thought more about this. I will write and get ready a few, then send them out in June, I think now. Make a note of that in my diary planner.

Julia Thorley said...

I, too, write when the mood and muse take me. It's easier to write a Christmas story during the season itself. I do wonder, though, if there's much to be gained by writing something too specific. A winter's tale has a bigger window of opportunity than a Christmas one.

Seaview said...

This is why I would be no good at this sort of thing, Patsy - I can't even bear to see Christmas cards/decorations in the sales, even people I know get it for the following Christmas at a fraction of the price. :)

marion

Julie P said...

I am in two minds about this. I would love to get a Christmas themed story in the Christmas editions of the magazines but every year, by the time I get round to it (remember to do it) I am too late to submit it! This year I thought I'd write such stories over the Christmas period so that I could have them ready by June/July and submit them then. I find it difficult to write stories out of season too, so if I sat down in March and tried to write Christmas stories I wouldn't get very far! I prefer to write non season specific stories I suppose - more chance of getting them published as Julia said.

Patsy said...

@ Teresa, Alyson, Rosemary and Julia - obviously this is an excellent way to go about things!

@Beatrice - very true (and I bet there are a few unpublished millenium stories lying around)

@ Dolores - thanks

@ Julie D - having them all ready to go by June sounds a good plan.

@ Linda - yes a little early now, I should think.

@ Marion - I prefer Christmas stuff being in January sales than seeing it in September.

@ Julie P - I wonder if there really is more chance? Magazines always seem to buy a good number of Christmas, Valentine's, Hallowe'en and other seasonal stories.

Angela Barton said...

Hi Patsy. It's always difficult to know when to send pieces off, isn't it? Writing Magazine in GB is very good at giving advanced warning of important events or anniversaries etc. I think your plan of writing when you feel in the mood and submit it when the time is right, is a good one. Happy writing in 2016.

Carolb said...

I agree with you, Patsy, write it when it occurs to you and then send it out at the appropriate submission time.

Good luck for this year's batch.:)

Jan Baynham said...

I don't think I'd be very good at sending seasonal stories well in advance unless I had a reminder. Your idea of writing the stories when you think of them and having them ready seems to be good advice, Patsy.

Maggie May said...

I'm with Teresa, Alyson, Rosemary and Julia too. That is when I can get motivated to write anything at all.

Sophie said...

It's helpful to write season story for next year just right after season ends. It's better when you are still inspired by this season.

Patsy said...

@ Angela - finding out about anniversaries etc in advance is useful for writing topical pieces.

@ Carol, Maggie and Jan - thanks. It works as long as we keep a note of when to send them.

@Sophie - it does help us remember little details which add believability.