Friday 26 April 2019

I need help

Thanks to the dozen or so people who responded to the last post saying you find this blog useful and wish it to continue. I want that too, but I simply can't do it alone.

You're probably familiar with the writing advice to show rather than tell – that applies here. If you value the Womagwriter blog, please show your support for it by sharing information. If we pooled our knowledge this really would become a valuable resource. You can contribute by leaving a comment, either on my monthly posts requesting such information, or by adding your experiences or anything you've learnt, to any other post.

Click here if you're not sure how to leave a comment.

Examples of useful information are –

* Details of what editors are looking for, e.g. particular story lengths, genres or themes. You might learn that from feedback on your own work, or their websites, social media etc.

* Reasons given for rejection and how long after submission these are sent.

* The types and lengths of stories being accepted and how long after submission this takes.

* Any 'big' news about market changes is also welcome. Especially if it's positive! (I'm an optimist at heart.)

Should you be willing to share how a particular story came to be published, your first success, or pass on writing tips and encouragement these might be better as a guest post (which needn't be long or formal). If you'd like to do that, please contact me. It's fine to put this sort of thing in a comment if you'd rather.

If any editors, or anyone else involved in producing womags would like to contribute a guest post, sharing any insights, news or tips relating to the industry I'd be delighted to host you.

I'd also find it helpful to know what sort of posts are useful and/or of interest. When one receives no, or very few, comments I can only assume it's not something you want to read about and it's therefore not worth making a similar post. A comment showing either that you did appreciate the post (my own or guest posts) or saying what you would like to hear about would help me get that right.

Sorry this was a long post (not too whiny I hope!). Are you still with me? Do you have any news you're willing to share? 


Bea Charles said...

We all need you too! But you’re right, we need to share what we know with you.
I’ll start:
The People’s Friend (@TheFriendMag) posted on Twitter yesterday 25th April:
“Shirley's putting her bat signal on! She's looking for event-specific stories, like Valentine's Day, Father's/Mother's Day, Easter, Halloween, Saints Days, Christmas etc...”

ados123 said...

I do read the blog regularly, Patsy, but don't always comment, unless I have anything particular to say. As regards to the womag market it has shrunk to be almost non existent for newish writers - TAB won't accept from me even though I'd sold them a couple of stories in the past. WW - well... The People's Friend is my best and fav market - they are so nice to work for. And occasionally I score a hit with The Weekly News. Sadly it is not a living...
I would love more info on Pocket Novels. Never tried one and would like advice about how to go about it.

Thanks for the blog!

Gill Wiltshire said...

Hi. Patsy. This is just a test. Thanks for the instructions on leaving comments on blogs. Never left any on any blog as I thought you needed to have a google account. Many just have sign in on google.
I do enjoy reading your blog.

Gill Wiltshire said...

Yaaaay it worked! Thanks again Patsy.

Patsy said...

@ Bea – Thanks for that. Oddly although I do write those kinds of stories I don't think I've ever sent on to PF.

@ Alyson – I'll see what I can do about the pocket novels.

@ Gill – Yaaay indeed! Glad to be of help.

carrie said...

I echo Bea, we DO need you, Patsy. I know I'm guilty of not always leaving a comment - so will try to do so more often in the future.
I can share that Woman's World in America are now looking for Fourth July stories,(romance or mystery) but you have to be quick as deadline is next Thursday, 2nd May! The mystery stories need to be nearer 650-700 words, including answer as to whodunnit.
If I hear anything else, will let you know.

Anonymous said...

We've probably all read the advice that when stuck for ideas with the dreaded writers' block, we should try a different way of writing or a different place. After a blank February, I finally tried it and wow, it works. Sitting in the garden with Easter chocolate and a note pad I've written 3 new stories in as many days. It's not easy to read my scrawl though - and my hand aches, but I'm re-energised (or maybe that's the chocolate!)


Sharon boothroyd said...

I've also read on on the PF twitter that they want cosy crime pocket novels 37,000 words.I agree that the climate has changed in the womag market, what with closed lists and all rights contract issues. Some well- known womag writers have now turned to novels, and the beginners have decided not to pursue, as it seems a difficult, more narrower market to crack.

Anonymous said...

The My Weekly auto response is now working. The one at FF never has. Also what's with the rejects at FF? They never turn up. They still have xmas stuff of mine.


Patsy said...

@ Carrie – The short deadline is probably good in their case as that means we won't be left for months and months wondering if we were succesful and never hearing anything.

@ Angie – excellent news that you've found a way to get back into writing after a blank. I'm going to take your advice to eat chocolate! (Bet I'm not the only ones who just uses the parts of advice they like the best.)

@ Sharon – it is narrower and harder to crack market, not that it was always dead easy. Thanks for the info on PNs.

@ Fancypants – I'll try asking them again to bring back the auto response. It's always reasuring to know submissions have arrived.

yellowbutterfly said...

I am demoralised by all the closed markets, and mostly by WW, which was the magazine most suited to the kind of thing I write, and where I’ve had some success. I’ve currently got 2 stories out at competitions, and one with PF - always a long wait. I do read your blog, always hoping for new copyright friendly markets!

New girl on the block said...

I've got several stories out at the moment, with a variety of magazines. I'm always a bit unsure how long to wait before deciding that silence means rejection. In the past I've heard back one way or the other from PF, Yours and Allas, although I've heard nothing back about the story I sent to Allas in January(should I assume a rejection?)

Please could somebody tell me whether the following magazines send rejections please:
The Weekly News (I think not, but unsure....)
Spirit and Destiny
Ireland's Own
Woman's World USA

Many thanks.

Red-Lucy said...

Plucked up courage to send a story to PF-I've been rejected previously so thought I'd have another go. Submitted 27/11/18 got the rejection 11/02/2019. Not a bad turnaround but obviously I was disappointed. The rejection letter seemed a bit generic to me but they must get a lot of submissions so I get why. The thing I don't get though is their requirement for posted copies, in this day and age why on earth aren't they accepting emailed submissions? Not only is postal submission a waste of paper you need to include an SAE to get a response. It just seems so old-fashioned but then again that is probably why people like them. I will try again when my bitter heart has healed lol. Keep the blog going Patsy, I don't comment as often as I should but it's always a mine of information.

Patsy said...

@ Yelowbutterfly – I'm always hopeful of getting news of such markets. Maybe it will happen?

@ New Girl – In my experience none of those four do. Perhaps a post on things such as acknowledgements are responses would be useful?

@ Lucy – You do need to submit by post (I'm not sure why they still prefer this method, but no doubt there's a reason) but you can request that they reply by post and that if not used your submission is recycled.

Jenny Worstall said...

I had a story published in Love Sunday a few weeks ago, with a really lovely picture. I tried writing in the present tense first person, which is a bit of a departure for me, but it seemed to suit the story. Anyone got any thoughts about using the present tense? I have just read 'Surprise Me' by Sophie Kinsella - in the present tense and first person. Felt very immediate. I know lots of readers and writers don't like it and would be so interested to hear some views about it.

Sharon boothroyd said...

In response to the mag rejects- S&D give an email response and a reason for rejection (or they used to).
You can request politely to PF if they'll provide you with an email decision. They will, usually.
I don't like present tense in fiction,I prefer past tense. I find it difficult to read and write.

Bubble said...

This is a fab resource and I'm sure we all appreciate the work you put in, Patsy.
Bea, that's interesting about TPF. I was thinking of polishing up some old Xmas stories earlier this week but discarded it on the basis it was far too early! That's tomorrow taken care of...

New girl on the block said...

Yes please, Patsy. A post on which mags acknowledge submissions and which send rejections would be really useful. Also some idea about how long we wait with the ones which don't send rejections until we decide it's a 'no'.

Is it ever a good idea to chase things up? I discovered almost by chance via an email conversation with PF that one of my poems had never arrived!

Totally agree with RedLucy about PF insisting on hard copies of submissions. Seems bizarre!

Thanks again for all your help, Patsy.

carrie said...

In response to rejections S & D wanted an idea pitched in the first instance to Tracie and she normally responded as to whether she was interested or not. (Though she did have to be chased!) As I've stopped writing for them due to them taking all rights, I don't know if this has changed. With the others, it's a wait and see scenario.
I have chased up in the past - sometimes with hearing good news, sometimes bad, so I think it's up to individuals.

Elizabeth McGinty said...

Like others have stated this is a fabulous resource Patsy and I for one am grateful for the work you do in keeping it going, so sincere apologies for not always responding to blog posts.I think it's to do with imposter there's a topic worth exploring!
I agree that the market has narrowed so much. I was fortunate to have my first pocket novel published this year and that's a market I am continuing to explore I also had my first publication for The Weekly News so some good news.

Susan Wright said...

I'm sorry I don't often make comments, Patsy.
I look at the blog all the time, but rarely feel as if I have anything useful to say, but I really hope you can keep it going.
A post about response times or lack of response to submissions would be brilliant because I've got no idea when I should give up on submissions to publications like Ireland's Own and Allas.
I've got an awful lot of stories with Fiction Feast as well dating back to January 2018, which I just hope actually got there.
Don't feel inclined to chase them up because I don't want to annoy Alice who buys me from occasionally, but it would be good to know if the stories got there and are still being considered.
Anyway, thanks for all you do, Patsy, and please keep on doing it!

Sharon Haston said...

Hi Patsy, I echo everything everyone has said about how informative, supportive and helpful this blog is.
Like Elizabeth, I don't comment much due to imposter syndrome. I am definitely in learning mode when it comes to womag writing, or all writing actually.
I will make more effort to comment in future and will let you know if I find out about any new markets and competitions.
I would be gutted if this blog wasn't here.

Anonymous said...

Just a little note to Susan Wright. I too have quite a lot of stories with Fiction Feast dating back to early last year. I did make a contact and ask if they were 'lost in the 'ether' or rejected? The response was that they were still being considered. A few weeks later Alice contacted me with an acceptance for one of those stories. I'm guessing that there is maybe a real backlog, unless a story submission is just right for a gap in the magazine at the time submitted.

Good wishes Kate Hogan

Susan Wright said...

Thanks for your little note, Kate!
I got the same response when I sent a query a long time ago, but I haven't been brave enough to contact them for a while.
I may be wrong, but I get the impression that Alice has far too much to do and can't get round to sending rejections very often, so I'm just trying to be patient and hoping that some of the submissions will be accepted at some stage.
I hope some of yours are too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Patsy, thank you for maintaining the blog since Kathleen. I'm a long time reader of the blog and but rarely commented because I didn't have anything to contribute as I was learning about the market. Note I still haven't published or rather pursued publishing in Womags.

About 15 years, I sent off a story but got a nice rejection letter from Gaynor Davis. Publishing in a Womag dream that reoccurs periodically. So I took a short story course and had the pleasure of having Sue Moorcraft as my tutor, it was then I discovered perhaps my themes and Womag weren't exactly compatible. No to worry, as I self-pubbed the story on Smashwords and got sales. However, it took me years before I understood 'how to write' for Womag.

So in 2016, I got the bug again, actually I bought both PF and Woman's Weekly, and found out they were holding Fiction workshops - I love attending writing courses and workshops. So I signed up to three - Short stories, and a serial. All three were excellent and the editors lovely. Della Galton co-hosted the Woman Weekly one, the serial writer was a no-show, and I've forgotten who co-hosted with Shirley (PF's fiction editor).

Gaynor did say they were changing systems and received about 800 stories a month. We didn't cover how many stories PF got with Shirley, though I assume with the change in WW's rights, PF will be now snowed under.

My takeaways - note it won't be applicable to WW now.

**All editors have their likes and dislikes

**Rejections can be due to they already have a similar story, or published one not all ago, not following the guidelines or basically it's not just them.

**Their readers are very active and no qualms in voicing their opinions, and the best way to write for them is study the magazines.

For the meantime, I'm focusing on self-publishing as I'm currently editing a story, but when the bug bites again, I'll probably try again.

B Day

Patsy said...

@ Jenny – congratulations on the publication! As for the tense, whichever tells the story best is the one to use! As you say, it can feel much more immediate, which may be what's needed.

@ Sharon – thanks for the info and I agree that present tense can be hard both to read and write. There needs to be a reason for using it, I think.

@ Bubble – it's almost never too early to submit seasonal stuff, unless the magazine has a policy of acceptance very shortly before publication.

@ New Girl – I'll get on it!

@ Elizabeth - congratulations on your successes so far. Hope there are more to come.

@ Carrie – thanks. That's helpful

@ Susan and @ Kate - there does seem to be a backlog at FF. I think you're probably right that it's because Alice has so much to do.

@ B Day - You're quite right that things have changed – and that each editor has particular likes and dislikes, as do readers. Good luck with the self publishing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for the notes about Alice at Tab. I've got lots outstanding with them from last year (even one from 2017. which I re-sent in 2018). I don't like to bother Alice either.


lionsshare said...

Thanks for running the blog, Patsy. I'm a regular reader but don't always comment - so guilty as charged. Re the comments about FF - I have a lot of stories outstanding with them too. Glad it's not just me! I also don't like to bother Alice. Would be great if they had an auto acknowledgement system just so we know the stories have got there. I know that you've asked for that before. I have sold stories which have been with them for several months so try not to give up hope. But it is frustrating.

Wendy said...

Apologies. I'm a regular reader who rarely comments. I'm fairly new to this field, and this blog has been a brilliant resource, helping me educate myself about the market. As a direct result of reading the information you share here I've had two stories accepted - one by WW and one by PF. So, this is a thank you, and a plea to continue to share the latest news from the industry.