Monday, 22 May 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Shane Telford

Today's guest is Shane Telford.

Imagine my excitement when I accidentally discovered a new market for short stories while aimlessly flicking through my Readly app the other night.

Woman’s Way is a weekly publication in Ireland, aimed at women thirty and beyond. I’ve noticed it on shelves before but it was never really on my radar. Once my finger slipped and I’d downloaded the most recent issue onto my phone I decided to go for a bit of a snoop, to pass the time if nothing else. And there it was on the content’s page, ‘Reader’s Fiction’.

I skipped to page forty-one, eager for a read and found a rather cute story about dating in your fifties, the kind of story I’ve read and written in the past. Then I investigated further and discovered that their fondness for a short story was only recent; it had become a regular feature two weeks prior.

So far, so good. I decided to get in contact with the editor and enquire about their fiction guidelines, asking about word count, theme and pay rate.

The editor replied rather promptly, another plus I thought, and sent me a detailed list of guidelines. But before I could begin plotting my first submission to the magazine, I saw a sentence that made my heart sink. ‘We are not currently in a position to pay.’

And just like that, any excitement I had about this new market dissipated until all I was left with was anger and disappointment. I flicked through the pages again and noticed that the magazine were willing to pay for reader’s letters, but when it came to eight hundred words of fiction their purse-strings were tightly pulled and knotted.

That got me thinking: Why is our writing so often treated as second-class, unworthy of payment? In an ever-shrinking market, where it’s becoming harder and harder to sell a story, why do some publications think it’s okay to ask us to just give away our work and be content with a pat on the back?

I suppose the answer is because some people will sell a story and be completely okay with the thrill of publication as the only payment. But that doesn’t help those of us who use our hard-earned writing money to pay the bills. If anything it’s a hindrance.

So, what is the answer? I wish I knew that for certain. I just know that I could never support a publication that takes my work for granted, considers my writing just a hobby, and expects me to fill their pages free of charge. Instead I’ll spend my time and money on those magazines that offer more than just an opportunity to see my name in print. The Womag market isn’t at its healthiest but I think it’s important for us all to appreciate that there are still magazines out there willing to give our work the respect it deserves and pay us what we’re owed. They are the magazines we should be supporting, in whichever way we can, whether it be by subscribing every month or submitting our best work.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Patsy's periodic prompt

Here's a picture you might like to use as a story prompt - if you use it and sell the story, please do let me know!

I'm rather proud of this photo, so this is really just an excuse to show it off to those who missed it on Twitter.  Generally when something like this happens under my nose, I'm so busy watching, I forget to use the camera.

Do you think you might write about seals? Or have you done so already? (I have in my novel Firestarter.)

Any idea what type of fish that is?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Happy Birthday, Alfie!

Alfie Dog Fiction is five years old today!

I know it's a cliché to say so, but it really doesn't seem that long since the first of my stories was published there. It must be though, as I was Alfie Dog's very first author.

As part of the celebrations, there will be special features, reduced price stories and even free books. Keep checking the website and social media, so you don't miss out.

(Picture is Alfie himself, with Rosemary J Kind - Alfie Dog Fiction's editor.)

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Any questions?

I'm spring cleaning the blog and have removed some sections which weren't being used, or didn't seem helpful. One of these was the questions page. Lately people have been posting questions about a particular magazine as comments on posts which feature its guidelines. This seems to work well, so please keep doing that.

If you have a question which isn't specific to a particular magazine, please either ask here or on my latest post (not guest posts please unless the question is for the guest poster, or specific to their post.)

Please post all questions on the blog - that way I will see them. If you email or ask via Facebook there's a chance I'll miss them, plus it's quicker and easier for me to reply here, and the information will then be available to more people.

Anyone is welcome to reply to any questions or comments - I don't know all the answers, but between us, we probably do!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

People's Friend Pocket Novels - latest guidelines.

I posted the My Weekly pocket novel guidelines yesterday.

For People's Friend, the word count is shorter - and of course there are style differences too.

I'm not absolutely sure about the pay rate, but believe they're similar for both.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

My Weekly Pocket Novels - new guidelines

Here are the latest guidelines for My Weekly pocket novels.

Unlike with the short stories, you don't need to have been previously published by My Weekly to submit a pocket novel.

If a pocket novel is accepted, the author will then be able to submit short stories to My Weekly.