Tuesday 4 October 2016

Take A Break's Fiction Feast guidelines

Update 28/1/2018 - Magazine guidelines keep changing. Use the search facility on this blog, or the labes below the post to find the latest info about each.

Eg This post about TAB FF has been superceded by this one.

Here are the latest TAB FF guidelines. I've been told they'll be updated again towards the end of the year, so will do another post then.

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 (approx. 700 words) £200
2 Page (approx. 1,200 words) 

3-4 Pages (approx. 2,000 words) £250 to £275
Please note: the above word counts are a guide, your final payment will be based on the number of pages printed NOT word count.
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 publication.
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 700 - 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 characterʼs mysterious arrangements turn out to be for a surprise party
* the woman discovers her husbandʼs 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 6-8 weeks before a decision is made concerning your manuscript, so please be patient. If your story has not been returned after twelve 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 Breakʼs Fiction Feast Academic House
24-28 Oval Road
NW1 7DT 


Geraldine Ryan said...

No longer makes any financial sense for me now to send stories to this magazine.

Shane Telford said...

I wouldn't be surprised if more markets follow suit and lower their pay rate - That's Life Australia have just updated their guidelines and no longer want 1800+ word stories so their top tier fee is no longer an option.

Geraldine Ryan said...

Funny how in any career where women make up the majority, wages go down.

Shane Telford said...

I really feel for a lot of writers at the minute. TAB is a good market for me because the stories I tend to write and sell are rather short and £200 for seven hundred words isn't something to be sniffed at - but the drop in pay for longer stories, especially with the market as small as it is, can't be very encouraging for those writers who've been at it years and getting paid the old rate.

Patsy said...

@Geraldine, I don't think it's a sexist issue in this case. Rates have gone down, or have frozen, with other magazines too, including those where the contributers are overwhelmingly male.

Not that this makes me any happier about the pay cut.

Frances Garrood said...

I started writing for womags in the 70s, and rates have stayed exactly the same. But I Agree with Shane that £200 for 700 words isn't bad. And I can only think of one magazine that pays more. We have to accept that the market has shrunk, and magazine fiction is fighting for survival. When I started out, there were about eight weeklies that bought fiction; now there are hardly any.

Volcanolizzy said...

I’ve just received a reply from Take a Break magazine. They are no longer accepting unsolicited stories since their merger. Instead they will commission stories from their select list of authors. At least they were kind enough to return my work.

Patsy said...

THat's right, Volcanolizzy. The change came in at the end of 2016 - https://womagwriter.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/big-changes-at-tab.html

Volcanolizzy said...

Thanks Patsy. It’s just that when I googled Take a Break guidelines this was the page that came up.

Patsy said...

Ooooh, I'm nearly famous!

I'll add an update to this post, to direct people to the current (as of now - things might channge!) info.

tracyisabella said...

It’s a shame. I have written a few spooky tales and would like them to be submitted. Oh well, on with the search.