Tuesday 29 March 2016

Changes at You

Cecilia van Zyl, the editor at South African magazine You is taking early retirement. I'd like to wish her well for the future.

Lynn Ely, sub editor at the magazine is taking over the role. Lynn is one of those who currently works on the final edits of fiction used in the magazine.

Stories should be submitted to stories@you.co.za Those previously sent to Cecilia and not used may be resubmitted to Lynn. The guidelines remain the same.

Thursday 24 March 2016

Request from TAB editors.

Margaret Nicholls, editor at Take A Break's Fiction Feast, would like me to 'ask authors to prioritise 1 and 2-page stories over longer as she is keen to get a good stock of the shorter ones.' (These are 700 and 1,200 words)

Norah McGrath, the fiction editor, tells me, 'I get soooooo many at 2,000' and ' I think my need for 1 and 2-pagers is now constant' so she's going to amend the guidelines to reflect this.

These shorter stories are to be posted in the normal way.

(For guidelines for each magazine, click on it's name directly under any post where it's mentioned, or scroll down a little and find it in the 'Magazine guidelines - quick links' on the left.)

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Interview with womagwriter Kate Willoughby

My guest today is Kate Willoughby.

1. When and why did you start writing, Kate ?

I started seriously writing in 1999. I’ve always wanted to have a book on a shelf somewhere, ever since I was a little girl. I had toyed with the idea of majoring in English in college, but got discouraged in a creative writing class where my attempts to write genre fiction were met with derision.

2. Are you a disciplined writer producing a steady stream of stories, or do you wait until you're in the mood?

I’m not the most disciplined writer in the world. I do write almost everyday on my novels, but the Woman’s World stories come as inspiration strikes.

3. I know you have a particular interest in romance stories for Woman's World. What do you particularly enjoy about their fiction?

I enjoy how quick and simple they are. You can always count on a happy ending. There’s also a feeling that you’re entering a safe world. You’re not going to encounter any gritty issues or violence or abuse or anything that might cause you to feel anxious. In a way, reading these stories is like taking a literary bubble bath—they let you relax, enjoy, and escape reality for a little while.

4. On your blog you analyse the Woman's World fiction and you also offer online workshops for those interested in writing for this market - can I persuade you to share a few observations and tips? 

My best tip for those who want to sell a romance story to Woman’s World is to either subscribe or regularly buy the magazine. This is the best way to absorb the tone, rhythm and content that they gravitate towards. At the very least, read 4-5 of the romances. If the magazine isn’t available where you live (it’s usually on the stands at the grocery checkout,) maybe you have an American friend who could purchase issues for you and send you a photo of the romance story.

5. The right writing snacks are very important - what's your fuel of choice?

Snacking is my downfall. I’m trying very hard to eat four fruits and veggies a day, which for some reason is easier for me to do than “avoid bad snacks.” So, my go-to snacks will be apples, carrots, cucumber, tiny tomatoes with ranch or hummus.

6. You write novels too. Are these in a similar style to your Woman's World stories?

My novels are not similar at all. I write sexy hockey romance—romance in which the heroes are professional hockey players. (Yes, it’s really a thing!) There is graphic sex inside those books and a lot of swearing, because, hey, they’re hockey players. One thing you will find in both my Woman’s World Stories and my novels is humor and (hopefully) well-developed, likable characters.

(On the Surface is the first in Kate's hockey romance series. US readers can get it for 99c at the moment.)

7. What has been your happiest or proudest writing moment so far?

You know, I was pretty proud of that very first sale to Woman’s World. At the time, they paid $1000 for 1100 words. I had heard that the Woman’s World market was very difficult to break into, and I had submitted five stories to them before the third story I sent got accepted. Every sale since then has been cause to celebrate in my house. It’s always a great excuse for me not to have to cook. LOL

8. What is it Americans have against the letter U? Flavor, color, neighbor - it's all so wrong!

Efficiency? Laziness? I don’t know. LOL

9. There don't seem to be many other U.S. women's magazines which publish short stories - is that the case? If so, is short fiction unpopular in the U.S. or is it accessed in other ways?

It saddens me that there isn’t more short fiction published in the United States. I suspect that younger generations of women are more interested in other things. I also think that “being busy” is a badge of honor these days and that if you have time to read, it probably is an indication that you’re “not busy,” which is not something people admire, unfortunately.

10. What advice would you give to someone considering submitting to womags?

Study the market. Give yourself permission and the time to improve. Professional musicians don’t get gigs the first time they pick up an instrument. Persevere. Unlike being busy, getting a rejection from a publisher is a badge of honor—it proves that you had the guts to put your writing out there. It’s always hard to get a rejection, but it does get easier, especially if you remember that the rejection is not a reflection of your writing ability. It is a judgment on that particular piece of writing. Furthermore, it is not saying that piece of writing is bad. It is just not right for that publication/publisher at that time.  

Friday 11 March 2016

The People's Friend Fiction (and other) guidelines.

The People's Friend have just updated their guidelines. You can find them all here.

Hope you'll forgive me for illustrating this post with a logo from a rejection letter. There aren't any acceptance letters with my name on, nor copies of the magazine with one of my stories in. I'm just not on their wavelength. Ah well, can't win 'em all!

Tuesday 8 March 2016

In case you were wondering ...

I don't just write about womags - I also write stories for them.

I have one each in the current issues of TABFF, WWFS and MW.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Bargain book.

Over The Garden Fence is a collection of 24 of my short stories. Some have been published in womags, others are exclusive to the collection.

It's available to download for 99p/99c until 9th March.

Tuesday 1 March 2016


The cost of UK postage stamps is going up AGAIN at the end of the month. If you decide to stock up, make sure you get the ones which say '1st' or '2nd' rather than give the value. That way you're less likely to accidentally underpay next time the price goes up.

Whilst you're in the post office, get them to weigh a submission 'package' with a few more sheets of paper than you usually send, so you're aware of how long a sub you can make without having to pay extra. If you don't pay enough postage editors will probably never see your story and you'll have wasted more than the cost of another stamp.