Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Scribble Magazine

Is it just me, or are things a bit subdued in the world of womagwriters?

As there's not much else to report, and a comment left on my last post asked about Scribble Magazine, I thought I'd do a post about that. (Just to be clear, the picture here is one of my scribbles, not a sample page of the magazine!)

Scribble will accept womag fiction, but consider themselves "an alternative to the mainstream 'women's magazines' " and are equally happy to see other genres. Submission requirements here.

They have an unusual way of operating. It's run as a competition, rather than the more usual submissions process. Writers pay to submit their work, some of these entries will be published. I'm not sure if they'll all be paid for, but some authors will recieve payments between £75 and £10.

If you wish, you may opt for feedback on your work, which costs £5. Not having seen any, I can't say if it's worth the price, but that does seem good value – particularly if you intend to make further submissions to the magazine.

It seems the magazine is only available by subscription (subscribers get free entry). I can't help wondering if there are any readers who aren't also people submitting to the magazine, but perhaps I'm being overly cynical there?

I'll be very interested to hear from anyone who has been published by the magazine, read it, recieved feedback from them or is involved with it in any way. Please leave a comment, or contact me, if you'd like to write a guest post.


Gail Richards said...

I didn't realise Scribble was still going. I subscribed for a year or two when I was first starting out around 2010/2011. The stories were an interesting mix and varied quality. I submitted a story without paying an entry fee, as an annual subscriber. Subscribers can vote for their three favourites in each issue and there are several pages of letters where people explain their choices - mainly positive, obviously, as they're talking about the ones they think best. Mine was voted second so I think I must have won £50. It was very encouraging at the time but when I look at the letters it was probably the one tiny bit of negative criticism - that my title gave too much away - that was most helpful. I don't know whether it's changed over the years but it's probably mainly for beginners who want to submit and get feedback - or for anyone who fancies a cheapish read of a lot of different stories not by professional writers.

Sharon Boothroyd said...

I used be a Scribble subscriber.
One the the best things about being a subscriber was that I could send in as many stories as I wanted for possible selection in the mag.
This was clearly stated in their submission rules.
It was in the days of snail mail,so it cost me a lot more to sub work back then.
The ed then became quite cross with me for subbing too much work,saying I wasn't playing the game correctly.
I wasn't sure what this game was.
I've since gone on to sell to womags and guess what? I've never been given a ticking off for sending too many stories.
Scribble is a good place to start out but don't send them too much work, because in my experience, the ed doesn't like it!
And the one line of feedback wasn't very helpful, either. Sometimes, it was quite sarcastic and harsh, which I found hurtful.

Colette Coen said...

I subscribed to Scribble for a couple of years a while ago, and have just renewed. You get a £4 credit note if you're published (to use against the next year's subscription - currently £15).
The thing I like about Scribble are the readers' comments. It's nice to hear what people really think about what you have written. I was close to winning a prize a twice, but the comments buoyed me up for a while.

Patsy said...

@ Gail, your comments make it seem as though it might be a good place for newer writers to gain a bit of experience and perhaps pick up a publishing credit.

@ Sharon, if they only want a limited number of subs per person, it would be helpful if they said so, wouldn't it? I see they still state a subscription entitles a person to 'unlimited' free entries. One line of harsh feedback doesn't sound good value for £5 either – or was that not the paid for option? I'd expect quite a bit more detail than one line if I was paying for a critique – even a cheap one.

@ Colette, genuine feedback can be extremely valuable. Am I right in thinking then that more stories are published than win prizes?

Unknown said...

I subscribed to Scribble when I was starting out, and entered their 'My Writing Day' article competition (I've no idea why - articles aren't my thing). When I came third in that year's article comp it was an enormous encouragement to go on writing. At that point, I hadn't written much at all; I'm a retirement writer - trying to stave off that memory thing where you can't come out with half the words you're looking for.
I've since sent stories to Womag magazines with no success whatever, but last year came third again in another Scribble comp - this time the 'First Line' short story comp. My story, Knots and Crises, was a good example of one the womags wouldn't have given slush-pile space to.
Being third, my story wasn't published in the Mag till the Spring Edition - only first prize was published in the Winter edition - and I'm waiting on the Summer edition to learn about any reader votes or feedback.
I spent my two £4 credits on this year's subscription, having forgotten where I put the slip of paper the year before (no - I didn't frame it, although I felt like it at the time).
I now send in my feedback and vote on stories for every edition, because it seems lazy not to if I expect people to vote on mine. It's made me take more notice of stories I'm reading too. At some point I'll send another story in to Scribble, but at the moment they're all out at various competitions (ever the optimist).

Penny A said...

I don't know this magazine, although seem to remember there were other in-store mags which ran similar schemes (e.g. Bon Marche), but was not tempted to try at the time. Still, nice to have some encouragement when starting out!
Would suggest first trying at small, local comps, though, especially if feedback is offered from established writers.

Patsy said...

@ Cathy, clearly you found the experience of submitting to them worthwhile. Good luck with the competitions.

@ Penny, you're right there are some other magazines which publish a story as part of a competition – usually just one though and the rest of the mag is about stuff other than writing. Might be worth us subbing to some of these though.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

@ Penny I don't think it's available for sale 'on the shelves' - I think it's subscription only and I don't recall how I got to hear of it. The impression I have (I may be wrong) is that it's mostly read by other aspiring writers - which may be why I've only submitted two items (so far). I'm in the happy position of not having to rely on writing for an income (although if I were I might lose some weight... my other goal). Even so, it would be gratifying to find a wider audience

Anonymous said...

I did subscribe to Scribble for a few years and had lots of stories published by David. He was always helpful to me although in those days the one line critique was free. Scribble took one of my very first published stories and that was encouraging in itself although I never won a prize. It's a really great place to get a start and is easy to find online. (Park Publications.)


Sharon Boothroyd said...

The one line of feedback was given free as a subscriber.
I'll just say this - when they heavily slated one of my stories, I was hurt, as I didn't feel it was justified.
They said (or the ed did) that they didn't know what the relationship was between the two main characters.
I'd stated clearly in the story (twice) that they were father and son.
I got the impression that they were skimming work in order to write these very brief crits, as they had too much to go through.
I later sold this story to The Weekly News.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with a writing course tutor. She totally fell for my intended misdirection and thought it was a fault. In fact the story was a twist-ender so her complaint was nonsense. I later sold the story to My Weekly. This is the best revenge, don't you think, Sharon?


Teffy said...

I’m grateful to hear other people’s experiences. Still not sure whether to give it a go, the feedback from other subscribers might be useful but as Patsy says, seems like maybe they’re the only people who actually read any of it. The subscription fee is quite small.

Jen said...

I am hoping to enter their competition this year so reading what everyone has to sa.

Patsy said...

It does seem that people\s experiences vary – but then perhaps the case for all publications?

@Angie and Sharon – yep, selling the story elsewhere is the perfect answer to any rejection or negative feedback! Well done both of you. It is a shame though when feedback dents confidence – I'm pleased it didn't put either of you making submissions.

@Teffy and Jen – the subscription or entry fee doesn't seem to high if you fancy giving it a go, and are prepared for the act you may have your work rejected or criticised (which is something anyone who hopes to get published must face). If you end up with feedback that you can use to improve your writing, then it would probably be money well spent.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post - I haven't tried this yet but may do so. Thanks

Unknown said...

I had my story, The German Bridge, accepted by Scribble and won second prize, currently £20. It states clearly in the back of the magazine that you shouldn't submit more than one story at a time and wait until you receive feedback before sending another. It's good for slightly longer stories, up to 3,000 words. I was touched by the positive feedback I received, having previously submitted this story to WW and PF, and been rejected by both. So it works both ways.

Patsy said...

Congratulations, Rosie.

On their website it states 'IF YOU ARE AN ANNUAL SUBSCRIBER, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO SUBMIT AS MANY ENTRIES TO OUR COMPETITIONS AS YOU LIKE' I can easily see why writers might feel that more than one entry would be acceptable. That's what I'd have assumed myself.