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.


Beatrice Charles said...

A lot of their advice holds good for other publications. The loss of copyright is a downside, but I'm happy to swap the occasional 1k for cash. They only publish one story per fortnight, plus another 6 or so in the annual, so they don't take many stories compared to other outlets. Rejections come with no helpful comments. I find them good to write for. Nice illustrations too.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Thanks for this highly-detailed info, Patsy. Think I`m one of those tempted by the Non-Fiction Nostalgia article - even though I`m Really Really Young, I seem to feel nostalgic about tons of things...