Sunday 28 February 2016

All about me!

If you'd like to keep up to date with my womag sales and other writing news, then take a look at my website.

I also send out an occasional newsletter which you can sign up for. The next one will go out next week.

Monday 22 February 2016

My Weekly update

The new fiction editor has sent out updated guidelines to regular contributors. If you're eligible to submit, you should have recieved a copy.

At the moment there's no change to the policy of accepting submissions only from those already known to the magazine, nor to the one submission a month restriction. If anything changes, I'll let you know.

Friday 19 February 2016

Woman's World Fiction Guidelines

The guidelines I posted a few days ago for romance stories weren't wrong, but I've recently received info on crime stories too, which the magazine also publish. 

I thought it'd be easier to repost everything together.

Fiction Guidelines

Romance guidelines:

We buy contemporary romances of 800 words. Stories must revolve around a true-to-life relationship dilemma; may feature either a female or male protagonist; and may be written in either the first or third person. We look for down-to-earth characters (no yuppies or jet-setters) who may be married, single, divorced or widowed. Please think carefully about a story’s setting, mood and plot, and tell the story with interesting action and dialogue that briskly advances the storyline.

We are not looking for stories involving life-or-death matters. When we say romance, what we really mean is relationship, whether it’s just beginning or is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The emphasis in our stories is on real life—but real life that sparkles with romantic possibility. We are looking for fresh, original stories driven by appealing, engaging characters. We do not buy fantasy or historical romance.

We pay $800 per romance and purchase all rights to the material created for this assignment.

Solve-It-Yourself Mystery guidelines:

We purchase short mysteries of 700 words—a count that includes the narrative and the solution at the end of the story. Stories should be entertaining, cleverly plotted cliffhangers that end with a challenge to the reader to figure out who committed the crime or how the crime was solved. The key to solving the mystery must always be contained within the story, so that careful readers can solve it without referring to the solution box. Perpetrators must always have a motive.

Robbery, burglary, fraud and murder are acceptable crimes—but no excessive violence or gory detail, please! We are also not interested in ghost stories, fantasy or science fiction.

We pay $500 per mystery and purchase all rights to the material created for this assignment.


Manuscripts should be double-spaced in a legible size type.

Please email manuscripts to

Be patient: We receive a tremendous volume of manuscripts, our turnaround time may range from two to six months. If you still have not heard from us after that time, feel free to resubmit your manuscript. Please do not call or write us to inquire about the status of a manuscript.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

That's Life (Australia) Fiction Guidelines

That's Life is a weekly Australian magazine which carries fiction. They also have a quarterly fiction special called Fast Fiction. You can find the official guidelines for both here. These do change, for example the rules about 'rights and exclusivity' have been updated, so do check regularly.

You can also download a copy of the writer's agreement, or contract, which you'll be asked to sign if your story is accepted.

I haven't been to Australia, so I'm illustrating the post with one of their suggested themes.

Monday 15 February 2016

Woman's World Fiction Guidelines

Romance guidelines: We buy contemporary romances of 800 words. Stories must revolve around a compelling, true-to-life relationship dilemma; may feature either a female or male protagonist; and may be written in either the first or third person. Characters may be married, single, divorced or widowed; should be down-to-earth (no yuppies or jet-setters); and their dilemma should be poignantly or humorously conveyed. Please think carefully about a story's setting, mood and plot, and tell the story with interesting action and dialogue. (Every sentence, paragraph, and scene of the story should deliver more information about your characters and their situation and/or briskly advance the storyline). 

We are not interested in stories involving life-or-death matters, nor are we interested in fluffy, flyaway-style romance. When we say romance, what we really mean is relationship--whether it's just beginning or is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The emphasis in our stories is on real life-which is why we do not buy science fiction, fantasy or historical romance.

We pay $800 per romance and retain First North American Serial Rights for six months after publication.

Get to know us: Please familiarize yourself thoroughly with our romances and mini mysteries before submitting your work.


Manuscripts should be double-spaced in legible size type.

Where to send manuscripts: to Patricia Gaddis' attention   

Woman's World does not send rejection notices. If you have not heard from them in four months, assume your story has been rejected.

A lady called Kate Willoughby runs a blog Writing for Woman's World Magazinewhich you might well find useful for research purposes. You can also order subscriptions and back issues through the magazine's website.

Update - Kate says "I just wanted to state for the record that neither my blog nor I am officially affiliated with or sanctioned by Woman's World magazine. I'm just a freelance writer who does this on her own. :)"

Woman's World is an American magazine. I haven't been to America so instead, the photo is of a woman with her world! 

Saturday 13 February 2016

The People's Friend fiction guidelines.

As The People's Friend make their guidelines available online, I'm just giving you the link, rather than copying them here - that way you'll have the most up to date version, whenever you look.

The fiction editor also has a blog. If you want to write for this market, I suggest you follow that as there are often hints about what they're currently looking for, clues about why they've accepted certain stories and even warnings about subjects they've had enough of.

This magazine has been going a long time and although it hasn't changed drastically it has changed. If the copies you're relying on for research are a few years, or even decades, out of date get yourself down the newsagent's. That goes for all the magazines, but it's with this one in particular that people seem to assume they know what it's like without having read a recent copy.

In case you're wondering, the castle is Threave - it's in Scotland and it has changed a bit over the years, yet would still be recognisable to those who once lived there.

Thursday 11 February 2016

Ireland's Own Fiction Guidelines

I requested new guidelines from this magazine. The response was as follows -

"General guidelines for contributors to Ireland’s Own are: fictional short stories should be no longer than 2,000 words. Payment is €65/£50 for stories of this length and €50 for shorter stories (eg 1,000-1,400 words). Also, memory pieces are usually one-pagers, 750 words, and also €50 or £40. 

All submissions to please, though I must stress we are not currently seeking fictional submissions. We are inundated at present, and working our way through a backlog of accepted stories. And there are many still to be read! I hope that helps."

I'll leave it up to you whether or not you wish to try, but if you do it seems you should be prepared for a long wait until you hear back - if you ever do.  

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Prima Fiction Guidelines

Prima magazine has a monthly fiction slot. It's run as a competition with a £100 prize. Entries, of no more than 800 words, plus a photo* should be emailed to yourwinningstory (at)

There's quite a bit of small print, so I strongly suggest you get hold of a copy of the magazine first to make sure you're happy with the terms and conditions.

*I assume they mean of the author, not just something completely random.

If you are interested in other writing competitions, check here for regular links to more which are generally free to enter.

Sunday 7 February 2016

Take a Break's Fiction Feast Guidelines

Below are the current fiction guidelines for this magazine (sent to me this week) Rosie, the editorail assistant says that newer writers are requested to stick to the maximum word counts listed below. 'More seasoned' authors may submit longer work. Email Rosie if you have any queries about this.

Thank you for enquiring about submitting stories to us. We are happy to receive unsolicited manuscripts from authors but, for the present, request that these be no longer than 2,000 words. Should you wish to submit longer stories for consideration, Iʼll drop you a line or telephone you. Please donʼt be discouraged, as we are always on the lookout for new talent.
I enclose the Take a Break guidelines for your general assistance with presentation and plots to avoid. The basic requirements of a strong plot and a twist in the tail also hold good for Fiction Feastʼs 1 page (700 words) and 2 page (1200 words) stories. Stories of between 1200+ and 2000 max words neednʼt have a twist in the tail, but must have a compelling plot. Because Fiction Feast has so many stories, weʼre looking for more variety in the type we publish so, whatever the length, mystery, romance, crime, offbeat, macabre, science fiction, spooky tales — just about anything really — is welcome.
We can be flexible about story length, but, as a guide our wordcounts and payment rates are:
1 Page (700 words) £200
2 Page (1200 words) £250
3-4 Pages (2,000 words) £325 to £400

All stories must be from an original idea, all your own work, not previously published in the UK and not currently on offer to any other magazine or publisher. We pay on acceptance.
It can take 6-8 weeks for a decision to be made on Fiction Feast stories, so please be patient. If you havenʼt had a story returned after 10 weeks, please drop a line outlining the plot and Iʼll get back to you ASAP.
I look forward to reading your work.
GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS (Take a Break and Fiction Feast)
Basic Requirements: We are looking for contemporary stories aimed at women from their mid-twenties upwards. We require 1100 - 1200 words with a strong plot and a good twist in the tail. The twist should arise out of the story, rather than from a detail kept from the reader. To check your twist, imagine your story were being made into a film and ask yourself - would the surprise still work? We do not have a weekly serial, so stories must be complete.
Subject Matter: We particularly like settings and situations which readers can recognise and relate to, rather than say, country house murders or stories about drugs rings or jewel thieves. Itʼs essential to read several issues of the magazine to get the flavour of the type of fiction we publish before writing a story aimed at Take a Break. Many writers waste a lot of time and effort because they havenʼt done this. Please avoid straightforward romance ie, boy meets girl and they live happily ever after. Also avoid historical backgrounds, science fiction and stories narrated by animals or small children. Take a Break is a family magazine so graphic murders or sex crimes are never acceptable.
Common plots to avoid:
* the heroine/narrator is revealed to be a cat, dog, fox, car (or tree, u-bend...) * the policeman/woman is really a singing telegram
* a character
ʼs mysterious arrangements turn out to be for a surprise party
* the woman discovers her husband
ʼs secret lover is a man, or vice versa
* the murder victim ends up on a compost heap
* anything to do with poisonous mushrooms or tampering with car brakes

* a shifty antiques dealer dupes an old lady out of what he thinks is a priceless antique and it turns out she is making them by the dozen
* anything to do with twins or nosy neighbours
* someone nervous about a first day at school turns out to be the teacher; or about a wedding, the vicar; or an interview, the interviewer
Because our stories are so short, a maximum of four characters is usually best. The main character — a woman. Stories must be your own idea and original work, previously unpublished and not on offer to any other magazine or publisher at the time sent to us. Should your story be accepted we will probably have to edit it. Presentation: Typed manuscripts are preferred, but if you canʼt get your story typed, write clearly in double line spacing. Please ensure your name, addresss and

telephone number — and an accurate wordcount — are on the title page; and your name and story title on subsequent pages. Please, please include a stamped addressed envelope large enough to hold your story. Self-seal envelopes are especially appreciated. Itʼs advisable to keep a copy your story to guard against the remote chance of loss.
Features and articles should be sent directly to the Features Department with a covering letter. It can take 4-6 weeks before a decision is made concerning your manuscript, so please be patient. If your story has not been returned after six weeks, please drop me a line giving me the story title, a brief synopsis of the plot and the date sent. I will get back to you ASAP.
Should your story be rejected it may be we have already published or have in stock a similar story. More likely though, I feel it will not appeal to our readers. This does not necessarily mean I will not like another of your stories, so donʼt lose heart.
Stories sent for specific issues, such as Christmas, Easter, Halloweʼen etc., must be sent at least three months in advance of the issue date.
Please send stories to me, Norah McGrath (Fiction Editor), at the address below. I look forward to reading your work.
Norah McGrath
Fiction Editor
Take a Break
ʼs Fiction Feast Academic House
24-28 Oval Road
NW1 7DT 

Friday 5 February 2016

Yours magazine fiction guidelines

I asked Yours magazine for their current fiction guidelines. They swiftly supplied both these and some non fiction guidelines. I've posted these as I suspect some of you may be tempted to have a go at writing a nostalgia post - am I right?

There's a lot of information here. Do read it carefully before you start work as both their rights requirements and submission procedure are a little different from many other magazines. Some of the advice, particularly 'what to avoid' might well be useful even if you decide not to submit to this particular publication.

Short story (fiction) guidelines

YOURS is always looking for good short stories. Every submission is read but we receive more than a hundred manuscripts a month and are able to publish only one short story per issue.

Please allow up to six months for reply and enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like your manuscript to be returned. Submissions should be 1000-1,200 words long and not have been published elsewhere before. Manuscripts must be TYPED on one side of the paper and the title page must include the following:

  • 100 - 150 word synopsis.
  • An accurate word count.
  • Your full name (and real name if you write under a pen name), address and telephone number

If we can’t use your submission and you would like it returned to you please enclose a SAE with enough postage to cover the cost of the submission/s.

Know your audience

It is essential that you study three or four published stories in YOURS before writing anything for us.

Many manuscripts are rejected because, although they may be well written, the stories are aimed at a completely different market, such as younger women or a largely middle-class readership.

Read several issues of YOURS. This will give you a good idea of the type of reader you should be writing for and the general tone we use.

Our readers range in age from fifties upwards, with most in their mid-sixties and seventies. They are mostly women, although YOURS is read by some men, so don’t ignore their interests!

Good subjects

Some of the most popular themes with YOURS readers are romance, families, grandchildren, nostalgia and wartime comradeship. A lot of our readers did war work and/or had husbands or boyfriends serving in the Forces. Don’t be limited to these subjects though; the style and tone of what you write about must appeal to our readers as much as the content.

The first line of your story should grab the attention; it is all too easy to start a story with a bang, which quickly turns into a damp squib by the end of the first page. Keep up the reader's interest until the end or they will not bother to get that far - and a brilliant surprise ending will not make them read it in the first place.

What to avoid

Avoid stereotypical images of older people as ill, frail and lonely. Make sure your story is plausible and realistic and do not rely on unlikely coincidences. Try and avoid the hero turning out to be a cat or dog.

Avoid downbeat subjects such as death, widowhood, illness and loneliness, or write about them in a positive way that does not dwell on negatives.

Try not to rely on obvious plot devices such as twists in the tale and memory flashbacks. These are very common and, unless cleverly written, can be predictable. A good story does not always need a surprise.

Remember this

Always think of YOURS readers, not just as older people, but as ordinary human beings who have experienced everything in life - childhood, growing up, starting work, falling in love, friends and family, joy, sorrow, heartache, longing and laughter. YOURS readers have their own interests and needs which match their years of experiences but many of their hopes, fears and dreams are shared by all of us and they still enjoy a good story.

Send your manuscript to*:
Short Stories
Yours Magazine
Bauer Media
Media House
Peterborough Business Park
Peterborough, PE2 6EA

Or by email to: (Subject: Short Story Submission) – email submissions must include contact telephone number and address details.

All successful submissions are accepted on an All Rights basis that gives Bauer Media exclusive copyright

*PLEASE NOTE: If you would like us to return your submission, please include an SAE with the correct postage amount on it. We regret that any submissions without an SAE will not be returned.


Every article is read with interest but the Features department
receives more than 100 manuscripts a month, and is able to
publish only one a fortnight. Due to the number of articles
submitted we aren’t able to reply to everyone. If we are able
to use your article we will of course let you know.

  • Submissions should be up to 300 words approx for a half-
page article. It is rare for Yours to read, or to publish any article of greater length than this.

  • Manuscripts must be typed on one side of the paper and the title page should include: an accurate word count and your full name, address and telephone number.

  • Please try to enclose relevant photographs to illustrate your article, marked with your name and address on the back

  • You should include a short CV of yourself, together with a clear, colour head and shoulder picture of yourself

  • All photographs should be marked with your name, address and telephone number

  • If you would like your manuscript return please state that and include an SAE.


  • Any article submitted must not have been published elsewhere and, if published by us become exclusive to Yours magazine on an all-rights basis.

  • Yours magazine reserves the right to edit, alter or shorten any article submitted and it may not appear in its entirety and it may appear in any of our publications.

  • Although all reasonable care is taken, Yours magazine can assume no responsibility for the safety of unsolicited articles or photographs, so it is a good idea to send copies. Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope if you would like your manuscript returned.

Know your audience

Before submitting any articles, it is essential that you study at least six issues of Yours magazine. Most submissions are rejected because the subject matter and/or the style of writing is unsuitable for readers.

Reading back issues will give you a good idea of the sort of person who reads YOURS and the general tone we use - which is informal and chatty.


We are currently looking for inspirational stories and adventures to inspire our readers.

Style and tone

Your article should grab the reader from the first sentence. Our style is friendly and warm - after all, your contributions are what makes YOURS the magazine it is! And 400,000 readers a fortnight can't be wrong.

Send your manuscript marked ‘Follow Your Dream’ to:

Non Fiction Submission
Yours Magazine
Bauer London Lifestyle
Media House
Peterborough Business Park
Peterborough, PE2 6EA

Or by email to: (Subject: Non Fiction Submission)

*PLEASE NOTE: If you would like us to return your submission, please include an SAE with the correct postage amount on it. We regret that any submissions without an SAE will not be returned.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Word counts

I've had a few queries lately about word counts for different magazines. Below is the latest information I have - but do keep checking guidelines as they can change.

Allas (Sweden)

This Swedish magazine count characters not words and will translate any accepted stories into Swedish, so getting it right won't be an exact science for those writing in English.

They ask for either 8,000 to 9,000 OR 12,000 to 14,000 characters. 

I estimate this to be either just under 1,000 words or approximately 1,500 and have been successful with submissions at those lengths.

Woman's Weekly (UK)

Either 900 to 1,000 words, 1,800 to 2,000 words or 2,300 to 8,000 words. 

The cannot use anything between 1,000 and 1,800, so please don't send those.

That's Life (Australia) 

1 page = 600-900 words
2 pages = 1200-1500 words
3 pages = 1600-2000 words
4 pages = 2200-2600 words
"These are approximate and the final word count printed will depend on the design of the page/s. You don't need to overly cut or edit your story to fit the word counts."

People's Friend (UK)

1,200 to 3,000 for the regular magazine. 4,000 words are accepted for the specials. They can also consider 10,000 word crime thrillers.

The Weekly News (UK)

1,200 to 1,500. 2,000 word stories may be used occasionally, but Jill will request these.

Take a Break's Fiction Feast (UK)

Confirmed today - They can be a little flexible but prefer 700, 1,200 or 2,000 words. Although they do publish some longer stories, newer writers are requested to stick to these guidelines. 

I have just been sent the latest guidelines and will post them in a few days.

My Weekly (UK)

Varies according to their needs and this market is currently only open to those who've been previously published by them.

Prima (UK)

It was 800 words the last I heard. I'll check up on this.

Candis (UK)

2,300. Commissioned work only.

You (South Africa)

1,500 words

Yours (UK)

1,000 to 1,200 words - confirmed today.

Woman's World (USA)

Last I heard it was 800 words, but that was some time ago and I've requested new guidelines.

Ireland's Own (Ireland)

Confirmed today 1,000 to 1,400 or 2,000.  Further guidelines will be posted in a few days.

I will post any updates and changes I hear about, but PLEASE check official guidelines yourself before writing and submitting work.