Thursday, 22 December 2016

Big changes at TAB

I had an email this morning telling me about some big changes at TAB. For the present, no more stories are to be sent, whilst the backlog of submissions is cleared.

When submissions reopen, sometime in the new year, they are to be made by email, but only those on a preferred list will be invited to send work.

I've asked some questions of the sender of the email and invited him to answer them for this blog.

I've also received lots of questions and comments via email and private messages - if you add them here I will try to get them answered (I can't guarantee I'll get a response, but I will try!).

54 comments:

  1. I've had the same email. I only started submitting womag stories last year, and had sold 3 to TAB. This number is, apparently, insufficient to place me on their list of preferred writers. I understand the reasons for the changes - but the news has saddened me greatly.

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  2. My questions to Andy are:

    1. I've had 1 story published and 2 stories accepted which haven't yet been published and I haven't been paid for. Are these 2 stories still considered as being accepted and will they be published and will I be paid?

    2. Will we be emailed if and when the open submissions policy is reopened?

    3. I have a further 4 stories which are currently with TAB / FF - will these still be considered for publication or will they be unread and returned?

    Glenda Young
    glendayoungbooks.com

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  3. I'm in the same boat Scholastica, even though I have sold them some stories. Seems they are going the same way as My Weekly in having a closed group of people who can submit. Seems poor timing to announce this news just before Christmas. Good news for the preferred authors though.

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  4. Hi, I'd like to ask:

    1. If new story guidelines will now be sent?

    2. FF's payments used to be per page. Will this continue or will new payment details also be forthcoming?

    Thank you,

    Anon Birdie.

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  5. One more question, please.

    Will there be any limit on how many stories a writer can send per month?

    Anon Birdie.

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  6. I'm in the same situation as Flaming Nora. One story published and two more accepted but not paid for yet. I also have stories waiting with them for consideration. I have exactly the same questions as I did not receive the email this morning :(
    Alyson

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  7. I would like to know if there is any way new authors, i.e. those who haven't been published in the magazine before, can submit work in the future.

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  8. My own questions are -

    Will those stories already submitted will still be considered?

    Will those accepted but not yet published still be used (and if so when will payment be made)?

    Will the payment structure change?

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  9. Another kick in the backside for all those unpublished writers. I'm writing for myself and will self publish so I won't be held to ransom by the few remaining outlets. I feel extremely sorry for all those writers out there trying to make a living.

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  10. I had the email and I've also 'sold' a story to Norah that hasn't been used yet and would like to know if it will be.
    Also had three rejections yesterday so they're obviously already clearing the piles

    Sue Wright

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  11. This email from TAB this morning really knocked me for six - I wasn't expecting it in the slightest.

    I'm deeply saddened to see Norah go, she was always my favourite editor to work with and even though my working 'relationship' with her and the magazine only really started in the second half of this year, she was always supportive and a pleasure to hear from.

    I'm also eager to find out what this means for all us writers lucky enough to have sold stories to the magazine in recent months that haven't yet appeared. Common sense is telling me they'll still be published - but I'd definitely like clarification. TABFF have five of my stories ready to publish so it'd be a bit of a disaster for me if they just shelved them all.

    I'm also disappointed for all those that this new policy affects negatively, specifically those who can no longer submit because they haven't been published enough (or at all) by the magazine and so aren't considered 'preferred writers'. I'll admit I'm chuffed to bits that they still want me to send them work when they're open for submissions again, but it's definitely a kick in the teeth for others.

    The next few months will definitely be ones to watch for us Womag writers. I'm looking forward to seeing how these changes affect the magazine, and I'm hoping for the best - but at the same time, I loved TABFF as it was. I didn't think there was actually much improvement needed there.

    Anyway, those are just my two cents on the matter!

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  12. I had this email, too. It looks as though the whole process is being streamlined. But as Maggie says, it's leaving less and less room for new writers. Mixed news, really.

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  13. From Take a Break

    Hello, hopefully the messages we sent this morning are self explanatory. We have written to writers on our preferred list, and writers who are not. The criteria used to select writers is based purely on the number of their stories of theirs we have published during 2015 and 2016, and no other criteria.

    These are significant steps, and are necessary because of commercial reasons. Every month Fiction Feast receives roughly x10 the amount of submissions we need. Employing a team of people to process them does not make sense.

    We have to stop the flow as we are inundated. If writers are awaiting responses then they will come once we've had a chance to deal with our backlog. It is only right that we guarantee the magazine's future, rationalise our processes and also reply to everyone who is expecting a response from us.

    In terms of payments, this is made clear on the email sent to writers currently on our the preferred list. Any stories recently commissioned will be paid for and published in due course.

    No further comment will be made here.
    Thank you,
    Andy Brooks

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Andy, for the clarification.

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  14. Oh dear - I can understand the need for change now and then but feel sad that it's another market seemingly closing to those not previously published by them.

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  15. Thank you for taking the time to reply, Andy.

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  16. Thanks to Andy for getting back. Maybe a good time to wish Norah all good things at Christmas and New Year - Margaret, too. Thanks to you, also, Patsy for working on everyone's behalf. Good wishes. Kate Hogan

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  17. Thank you for replying, Andy. Best wishes to Norah and her team.

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  18. I'm going to rationalise my process too and won't buy TAB again.
    Julia

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  19. Should those of us who didn't get an email at all despite previous sales just assume that we aren't on the list?

    Anon2

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  20. In TABFF's defence, it can't have been an easy decision for them to make on their side either. Us writers already took a cut to their payment rates, and I suppose if they didn't shake things up like this, we would've probably faced another rate cut.

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    1. Rather that though than exclude writers from subbing, surely? Still. It's TAB's loss, really. They'll miss out on lots of good stories that will now be subbed to other magazines for them to publish instead. I completely understand that they are trying to economise but they need to think of their loyal readers & writers who have worked so hard, trying to write the stories they want to publish. I know they didn't ask us to sub to them, but we did because we thought it was a top class magazine worthy of the effort to sub too.What are we supposed to think now? I wish the magazine well & hope it survives these changes but it's a sad loss of a market for those of us now not deemed worthy enough of even being able to sub to them.

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  21. Thanks for answering our questions, Andy.
    I was shocked when I received the email because I've been submitting to Fiction Feast since 1998 and this is such a change, but I understand why it's had to be done.

    Sue Wright

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  22. I was very surprised as I've sold about 20 stories to TAB in the past (admittedly over a long period), but I've been working full-time for 18 months so haven't been subbing so am not on list of preferred writers. I've certainly not been inundating them with submissions so doesn't make much sense to me. Did ask for a reconsideration but no joy, looks like rules are rules.

    Oh well! All the best to Norah who was great to work with. End of an era (and my WOMAG writing career I think).

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    Replies
    1. I feel so sorry for you, Cathos. Good luck in 2017 with your other writing endeavours x

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  23. Of course we all understand it takes a huge amount of time to read the submissions, and that time costs money.

    It's just a real shame that this decision means that less well-known writers are now unable to have their work considered for publication by TAB. I've always bought TAB and enjoyed its mixture of stories from well-known writers that we all look forward to reading. But also I enjoyed stories by new voices too. It's a shame that colleagues at TAB could not find another solution to this which still kept this variety in place, while cutting down the admin burden. Surely a bit of imagination would have come up with another solution.

    I'm sorry to say, I won't be renewing my subscription to TABFF. There seems little point in researching a market which is no longer open to me as a writer.

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    Replies
    1. I cancelled mine the minute I knew about the situation.

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  24. Some of us did not receive any email at all and that is why we had so many questions. Having just broken into this market I feel particularly hacked off with the decision. I just hope the story they bought will still get published. TAB said above that that aplied to those on their preferred list. Obviously I am not on that list so who knows?! I cancelled my subscription anyway as it made no business sense for me to continue paying for and reading a magazine I can no longer sub to.

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  25. What a shame. I always enjoy reading the stories by new writers and there have been some real gems in TABFF. That will affect my purchasing habits, too. I never buy - or read - My Weekly (which has a closed list) because it's too predictable.

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  26. Sad that many writers, me included, have lost a potential market to start submitting to. And also for those writers who didn't make the list. All magazines need new voices to keep the magazine moving forward.

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  27. I agree with Julia. I won't be buying TAB again and would urge both writers and readers to boycott it, for the sake of creativity and artistic integrity. Having a closed shop limits the range of styles, topics etc as well excluding new writers. A triumph of profit over quality. And, I must add, I find Andy's tone in his statement above hostile and unpleasant and am very disappointed to see people thanking him. Em.

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    1. He was honest. That's what I thanked him for, not the decision. At least we all know exactly where we all stand & what their priorities are. If you had read the comments properly, you would have seen that I actually cancelled my subscription to their mag the minute I heard about their change in policy.

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    2. He was honest. That's what I thanked him for, not the decision. At least we all know exactly where we all stand & what their priorities are. If you had read the comments properly, you would have seen that I actually cancelled my subscription to their mag the minute I heard about their change in policy.

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  28. TAB may well save themselves some time and money in the short term by streamlining, but I don't think it will help them in the longer term. Do people really want to read stories from the same closed group of writers, month after month, however good those writers may be? Well, maybe some do - but it doesn't appeal to me. The very fact that TAB have recently cut their rates of pay, and have now taken this step to 'guarantee the magazine's future', suggests it may well be on the decline, and may eventually suffer the same fate as so many other WOMAG fiction outlets. Miriam.

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    1. I think you might be right, Miriam.

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  29. Reading through all these comments I gather that not only are they closing their list but that Norah has gone as fictions editor? I thought something was up as not only have they taken ages to reply to my submissions recently (and others on this blog) but I actually have been unable to source the Fiction Feast locally recently either (I don't subscribe). I have been told that a December themed story is under consideration but still not been told it is rejected (which it must have been. It sounds like they are totally overwhelmed or suddenly disorganised. I wonder if sales are falling off a cliff or something leading to major job losses? To be honest I've always had problems trying to understand what sort of story TAB wants.

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  30. Thanks for your comments everyone. I don't know if Andy will be back to read them, but just in case ...

    It's a shane that Fiction Feast is so hard to find in the shops – I'm sure that can't help sales! Most readers seem to be subscribers, but I think people need to see it first to know they want to subscribe.

    Although I'm not keen on adverts, I'm surprised there aren't any in FF. Most magazines seem to have some to help meet production costs.

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  31. Patsy - Bauer offer advertisers the opportunity to advertise in TAB FF, at a rate of around £2,600 per page. If the mag is not running adverts, it is probably because Bauer can't sell them. Another bad sign. Miriam.

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  32. I agree with Em about the tone of Andy's email. I wonder just how long he's been in the business and if he will share his editorial credentials with us.

    As to receiving TEN times the amount of stories they'll use, I'm pretty sure most magazines receive even more than that and manage just fine. If you're looking in Andy, may I suggest that you employ a more efficient staff, drop the attitude, and be grateful that the best womagwriters are still interested in your magazine. Woman's World US receives over 2000 submissions weekly. They seem to manage.

    This reminds me of Rachel Johnson's 'new broom' when she joined The Lady as Fiction Editor. She accepted a story I'd emailed her on her first day on the job. Days later I received an email from a very apologetic young editor telling me that Rachel no longer wanted it. No explanation. It turns out that what Rachel wanted was to accept stories from only the aristocracy and all her mates. I think she lasted under a year...
    If I was in Andy's shoes I'd leave the submission process as it was when Norah was there, work hard, remember my manners and treat writers with respect.
    Cathos, they'd be mad not to let you submit.
    Cheers,
    Maureen Brannigan aka Kirsty Peters

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  33. And best wishes to Norah if she has in fact. moved on. I rarely sent any stories to her as I'm in Canada and the IRC thing was more trouble than it was worth. She never bought any from me, but was always encouraging and told me when she liked a story even though it wasn't FFs cup of tea. Best of luck, Norah!

    It would be great to submit via email - that would be a positive step for Andy to implement.

    Maureen Brannigan aka Kirsty Peters

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  34. Just an update for folks on the TAB situation.

    Rosie Evans emailed me a receipt for one of my stories today so I replied and asked how future payments will work now that there has been a shake up at TAB HQ. Here was her response:


    "Hi Shane,
     

    For stories we’ve already commissioned, at the moment we’re paying them issue-by-issue, as usual. So yes, for the moment, payments should arrive two weeks after publication.
     
    Once we start commissioning stories again, we’ll be paying upon acceptance, but payment will still take two weeks to go through from when you receive the Purchase Order document.
     
    I hope that all makes sense!
     
    With best wishes,
     
    Rosie"

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  35. Rosie is fabulous. Can they put her in charge?

    Anon 101.

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  36. Hear, hear!
    Rosie is always really lovely to deal with. I also got an invoice from her today as presumably I have a story in this month's TAB - I've three stories pending publication with them but sadly still didn't make their list!
    Sue C

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  37. I feel your pain Sue! TAB have five of mine (including the one they published today) so I had everything crossed that there'd be another in with it!

    'Til next month I guess!

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  38. Hi Shane,
    No, I mean I didn't make the preferred list - I've had 3 published over 15/16 and another 3 pending but apparently not enough sales so I've not been invited to make future subs.
    Glad you made it though.
    Sue C

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  39. feel so sad for everyone not on the preferred list. The good news is that there are still good markets out there. If yu have sold to TAB you can sell to Woman's Weekly, Sometimes it's just a matter of getting the emotional impact right. Jeep writing whatever happens.

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  40. Thanks for your thoughts, everyone - and for passing on the infor from Rosie, Shane.

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  41. What strikes me most from the email from Rosie is 'once we start commissioning again' - which makes me think it could be a while before anything is sold to them, including any stories they're still hanging on to...

    I hope it's not a case of them just rejecting everything they have now though. And if that is actually the case it'd be great to know too because they've two Easter stories of mine I could send elsewhere with enough notice!

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  42. It sounds to me as though they have a backlog of accepted stories as well as more subissions than they feel they need.

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  43. On 6 December Norah McGrath replied, while declining my story, that she 'looks forward to future submissions'.
    On 23 December, Andy Brooks from the same company replied that 'from now onwards we will not accept unsolicited submissions'.
    This does seem an reasonable u-turn in policy in such a short time.

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  44. I did send Norah a very heartfelt email on the same day that TAB got in touch with the writers, thanking her for her kindness and encouragement and wishing her all the best in the future but I've heard nothing back so I'm starting to think that it wasn't the most amicable of splits. (it was a blueyonder email address so I assume it was her personal one)

    Poor Norah though, we all know how unreliable an editor can be, but she was definitely one of the good'uns.

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  45. Although middle aged, I have only recently started submitting and TAB Fiction Feast was one of my target magazines. I submitted one story last year which wasn't accepted as not quite suitable. Very nice letter back from Norah though which made me feel positive that I was on the right lines.
    I agree with many of the above comments in that by reducing the pool of writers to draw from, there will be a lot of "samey" stories, albeit well written. The magazine will get fewer readers and will probably disappear altogether(at least that's what my business brain is reading from the statements made).
    It is a very sad situation to have yet another door close for aspiring and even established short story writers.

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  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

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