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How to find magazine submission guidelines, or anything else on this blog.

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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Very friendly

I'm very pleased to have a story in the current issue of The People's Friend, along with some virtual writing friends.

There will be another one of mine in a fortnight's time, and more to come in the future as I've just heard I've sold them two more.

See here for some tips from 'my' editor, for writing stories for The Friend.

Monday, 29 June 2020

A few words of caution

I'm posting this because of something I saw in an online group. Some members clearly misunderstood the situation, and if they did, it seemed likely others will too.

When you sell rights (any rights from single use to all rights) you generally sell them to the company who own the publication – not the magazine or the editor. The rights you sold will belong to that company for the term of the agreement (which is usually the whole copyright term, so long after your death). This will be stated in the contract.

You don't get those rights back if the editor moves on, or the magazine closes, or it was such a long time ago you think it doesn't count anymore. The only way you can regain your rights is to buy them back – and whoever bought them is under no obligation to agree.

Please, please, please don't sign any contract until you're sure you understand all of it completely, and that you agree with the terms offered. And keep a copy! Don't assume you'll remember, and don't assume you can ask another writer to check for you – they may well have been offered different terms, especially if they signed at a different time.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Couple of things...

Lucy at The People's Friend thought this post, on writers' rights, might be of interest.

I'm the latest guest on the Healthy Happy Writer Show. You can listen or watch here. I talk (and talk and talk!) about different writing related topics, including Womag and copyright.

Update. Three things now! I've just had an acceptance (from YOU) for a story which was sent three days short of two years ago!

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Guest post by Della Galton – Selling All Rights

Today's guest, Della Galton, is probably known to all of you as a very successful womag writer.

Selling All Rights

Long ago when I joined a creative writing class – which was what got me started as a writer – I was told by the tutor never to sell All Rights to my work.
All Rights meant that you no longer owned your work. You literally handed it over lock stock and barrel to a new owner, who could if they wished make a film script from it, put their name on it, sell it on to someone else, enter it in a competition, all without asking your permission, or, of course, paying you any extra fee.
For the above reasons selling All Rights was a financially unsound thing to do, especially in the days when you could sell the rights more than once. However it could possibly be considered as an option if the buyer paid handsomely. Not many writers did it though. Not ones who knew what they were selling anyway.
There was another very good reason not to do it. After all, if a few writers were to start selling All Rights to their work then what was to stop all markets demanding that all writers did it?
If this happened then sooner or later writers would be redundant. Why would a market pay for new work when they could simply reprint old work without payment?

Have things changed? Is it OK to sell All Rights now? Obviously it’s up to the individual writer what they do with their work, just as it always has been. But everything I’ve said above still applies.
I often hear writers say that it’s OK for well paid bestselling authors but that the poorer ones among us have no choice.
We ALL have a choice. Although not necessarily a very palatable one.
Everyone has bills. Lots of us – myself included – are self supporting with no partner to help and no other income but writing related earnings. When Woman’s Weekly decided to buy All Rights I made my choice not to sell them any more work. This meant I took on a cleaning job, to supplement my writing income. Not a choice I particularly relished. But a choice none the less.

So now Take a Break has followed suit and I know some writers will be saying, Oh no, but I have no choice. If I don’t sell All Rights I won’t be able to pay my mortgage/rent/bills.
There is actually still a choice.
I have now added an invoicing job to my cleaning job and my writing job. I think they call it portfolio working. This enables me to continue working for markets that don’t take All Rights for fiction. I’m very happy about that.

To end on a very positive note, I’ve been approached twice recently by publishers asking if I still owned the rights to my short stories. I now have an anthology of short stories aimed at teaching people English coming out in Russian and English. I can’t wait to see what my work looks like in Russian.
I was also approached and given a very good fee for a story to be reproduced as part of an educational course used by Oxford University Press. Neither of these things would have happened if I’d sold the rights to what is MY work. Please think about it before you sell the rights to what is YOURS.

If you enjoy Della's writing, you might like to take a look at her latest novel, Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff Hill. I've not read that one yet, but I've read and enjoyed several of her other books. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Over To You

What's happening in Womag land?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Do you have tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Feel free to use the photo as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Yours Fiction guidelines

Thanks to Alyson Hilborne for sharing these guidelines she spotted in Yours Fiction. Please note that although Yours and Yours fiction are sister publications, they have different submission guidelines and you must state which magazine your story is for.

Both Yours and Yours fiction are open to submissions from all writers. They both take quite extensive rights, but after discussions with myself and others they no longer take all rights.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Double quick

Just a quick note to say that two of my novels are on sale today and tomorrow for half price – that's 99p (99c) each for Firestarter and A Year And A Day.

And I've got two stories in the July issue of Take A Break's Fiction Feast which is out today. That'll be the last time, unless they rethink the decision to impose all rights contracts.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Fiction Feast – all rights contracts.

Heres an email I've just received from Fiction Feast.

Dear Patsy
Thank you for continuing to submit your stories to Fiction Feast, we appreciate your contributions.

I am writing to let you know that from issue #10 this year (published in September 2020), both Take a Break Fiction Feast and Take a Break Monthly will be changing the basis on which fiction is commissioned. From that date we will require you to grant all rights for any commissioned work.

This is to bring Take a Break fiction commissioning in line with all other Bauer UK arrangements.

I have attached a copy of the commissioning agreement for your information. Clause 5 lays out the rights requirements. I have attached a copy of the commissioning agreement for your information. Clause 5 lays out the rights requirements. Please can you print out the Agreement, fill in your details and sign and date at the bottom, before emailing it back to us.

Please note that this change of rights applies to future commissions only.  Any work that we have commissioned from you previously will remain on an FBSR basis, as originally commissioned.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes


Helen Stables

And here's my reply.
Dear Helen,

I’m very sorry that you’ve taken this step as all rights contracts are very unfair to the writers. It’s entirely possible to have a contract which allows you to use the work multiple times and in multiple formats without taking away our moral rights and the ability to reuse our work in other ways, such as self publishing. I therefore won’t be submitting work under the new terms.



If you care about copyright, I suggest you do something similar. As I said in my last post, it is possible to make publishers think again, but for this to happen with Fiction Feast it will need a lot of us to work together.

All rights contracts – again.

If you came here because you're concerned about all rights contracts, then you can click on 'copyright' under this post to get my opinions on the matter. Those opinions are not favourable.

If you're here for my advice on the matter that's very simple – don't sign. Simply explain to whoever sent it that although you'd be happy to have your work published by them, you're not prepared to give up all your rights. They might listen – several of us asked Yours to reconsider and they did. 

The only way we can stop all magazines from taking all rights is if a lot of us refuse to sign any new all rights contracts, and if those who've already signed some contact the editors and explain they will no longer submit work under all rights terms, either in their own name or a pen name. We could achieve this together. I cannot do it alone.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Clarification on submissions to Yours

Several people have asked about the rules for submitting work to Yours Magazine and Yours Fiction. I asked for clarification, both for myself and to share on this blog. The response was as follows –

Dear Patsy
Thank you for your email.

It seems that many of our regular contributors are a little confused about the difference between submitting stories for the magazine or the Fiction Special. Just to clarify, any stories intended for publication in the magazine that are either approximately 1,200 words long or three-parters (see the Short Story Guidelines attached) should be clearly marked for my attention.

Any stories intended for the Fiction Special (which can be of any length) should be marked for Katharine’s attention.

Making it clear whether a story is intended for the magazine or the Fiction Special helps to ensure that Yours admin staff can direct it promptly to the right person.

Every time that a story is accepted for publication, either in Yours magazine or the Fiction Special, we will ask you to sign a contract accepting Bauer’s terms and conditions which in their revised form do allow writers to place their stories elsewhere. In other words, stories are no longer accepted on an All Rights basis.

Please feel free to contact myself or Katharine if you have any further queries.

Kind regards,
Marion Clarke
Contributing fiction editor

Those attached guidelines follow. 

SHORT STORY (fiction) Guidelines

Dear Reader/Writer,

YOURS is always looking for good short stories. Every submission is read but we receive more than a hundred manuscripts a month and are able to publish only one short story per issue.

Please allow up to six months for a reply and enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like your manuscript to be returned. Submissions should be 1000-2,000 words long and not have been published elsewhere before.

From time to time, we also publish longer stories that are serialised over three issues. These should be approximately 3,000-3,200 words long and the first two parts must end on a cliff-hanger so that readers will be eager to find out what happens in the next issue. 

Manuscripts can be sent by email or by post, clearly marked SHORT STORY. Submissions must be TYPED on one side of the paper and the title page must include the following:

  • 100 - 150 word synopsis.
  • An accurate word count.
  • Your full name (and real name if you write under a pen name), address & telephone number

If we can’t use your submission and you would like it returned to you please enclose a SAE with enough postage to cover the cost of the submission/s. 

TIP - Know your audience….

It is essential that you study three or four published stories in YOURS before writing anything for us.

Many manuscripts are rejected because, although they may be well written, the stories are aimed at a completely different market, such as younger women or a largely middle-class readership.

Read several issues of YOURS. This will give you a good idea of the type of reader you should be writing for and the general tone we use. 

Our readers range in age from fifties upwards, with most in their mid-sixties and seventies. They are mostly women, although YOURS is read by some men, so don’t ignore their interests! 

TIP - Good subjects….

Some of the most popular themes with YOURS readers are romance, families, grandchildren, nostalgia and wartime comradeship. A lot of our readers did war work and/or had husbands or boyfriends serving in the Forces. Don’t be limited to these subjects though; the style and tone of what you write about must appeal to our readers as much as the content.

The first line of your story should grab the attention; it is all too easy to start a story with a bang, which quickly turns into a damp squib by the end of the first page. Keep up the reader's interest until the end or they will not bother to get that far - and a brilliant surprise ending will not make them read it in the first place.

TIP - What to avoid….

Avoid stereotypical images of older people as ill, frail and lonely. Make sure your story is plausible and realistic and do not rely on unlikely coincidences. Try and avoid the hero turning out to be a cat or dog. Avoid downbeat subjects such as death, widowhood, illness and loneliness, or write about them in a positive way that does not dwell on negatives. 

Try not to rely on obvious plot devices such as twists in the tale and memory flashbacks. These are very common and, unless cleverly written, can be predictable. A good story does not always need a surprise.

Remember this….

Always think of YOURS readers, not just as older people, but as ordinary human beings who have experienced everything in life - childhood, growing up, starting work, falling in love, friends and family, joy, sorrow, heartache, longing and laughter. YOURS readers have their own interests and needs which match their years of experiences but many of their hopes, fears and dreams are shared by all of us and they still enjoy a good story.

Send your manuscript to*:
Short Stories (FAO: Marion Clarke)
Yours Magazine
Bauer Media
Media House
Peterborough Business Park
Peterborough, PE2 6EA

By email to: yours@bauermedia.co.uk (Subject: Short Story Submission for the attention of Marion Clarke) – email submissions must include contact telephone number and address details. 

Marion and the Short Story team

*PLEASE NOTE: If you would like us to return your submission, please include an SAE with the correct postage amount on it. We regret that any submissions without an SAE will not be returned. All successful submissions are accepted on Limited Licence Agreement

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Bitter Sweet

I'm pleased to have a story in the current issue of The weekly News, but sad this is the peultimate issue. My first ever acceptance letter came from Jill Finlay when she was fiction editor at The weekly News, so it's always been a favourite of mine.

In other news, That's Life! in Australia are no longer publishing fiction. There's some hope that this may only be temporary.

Stories sent either to Yours, or the fiction special need to be marked to show which publication they're for and something sent for one won't be considered for the other. I'll put more details in another post soon.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Your Go

What's happening in Womag land?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Do you have tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Feel free to use the photo as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

25 stories for 99p

Keep It In The Family, my collection of 25 'related' short stories is currently reduced to 99p / 99c.
Alec thinks he's suffered a medical emergency, Dr Kuttemopen says the same about his patient, and Jake and his granddad will be at risk from one if they carry on as they've been doing. With the support of loved ones, they could all put these predicted and suspected health problems behind them. Uncle Boris's condition will never go away, but neither will Aunt Jonna, so he'll not just cope, but enjoy doing so.
Everyone has problems or concerns from time to time. Some deal with them by always moving on and never looking back, others by asking the right question. They might try to keep them hidden, insist on bringing them into the open, or allow the sea to wash them away. Most will turn to their families for help, but all Miss Frencham's are gone. All she can do, is tell people about the bodies.
Anne's spent a lot of time waiting for her daughter; a whole lifetime, but it's been worth every second. Daniel's mother and Dizzy's father-in-law won't wait a moment for them, until they come to their senses and reunite their families. Stephanie's waiting for the right kind of snow, and Adam's waiting for the wrong sort of Santa. Their reward will be to know they did the right thing.
Families, whether we're born or married into them, or choose them for ourselves all have stories to tell. This collection contains 25 of them.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Would you like your story published in Best magazine?

Thanks to Christine Sutton for sending me this extract from a recent issue of Best magazine. Sadly they've not reinstated their regular fiction slot, but they are running another competition for a short story to be published in the magazine. The prize is £500.
If you click on the image, you should be able to get an unobstructed view of all the t&cs.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

A real shame (updated)

Don't click this link, unless you're prepared for bad news.

If you'd be disappointed by this news, you may want to consider taking out a subscription to a magazine you'd like to continue in business.

Updated 24/4/20 Lucy Chricton has asked me to include this link, to help explain the situation to The Weekly News writers.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Over To You

What's happening in Womag land?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Do you have tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Feel free to use the photo as a picture prompt. (I'd actually picked this one out before I knew we'd still be in lockdown, but it does seem very apt.) If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful. And see yesterday's post if you're interested in reading one of my novels for just 99p (99c).

This morning I recieved a copy of scandinavian magazine Hemmets, containing one of my stories – but I have no idea which one. Can anyone tell me what it's about? 

Friday, 17 April 2020

I confess ...

... this post has nothing to do with womag writing (except perhaps that I'm writing it).

My novel Leave Nothing But Footprints is a romance about a couple of photographers who go off in a campervan to Wales. They walk up mountains and along the coast, enjoy the scenery and wildlife – just what I'd be doing for real if I could.

If you enjoy my short stories then you'll like this book too. Leave Nothing But Footprints is available to download for the discounted price of 99p (99c) for the next week.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Submitting fiction to The People's Friend

Lucy Crichton, fiction editor at The People's Friend, has asked me to share the following on this blog – 

The People’s Friend team are working from home, during the lock down period. The most up-to-date guidelines can be found on our website - https://www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/2020/03/23/a-message-about-submissions/ and https://www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/2020/04/01/your-submission-questions-answered/
In essence - published “Friend” authors, please contact your editor in the first instance, before submitting by email.
Unpublished “Friend” authors, please continue to submit by post.
As the situation is changing daily, please continue to check in to the website for the most up-to-date news.

I'm sure we're all grateful to the team for adapting their working procedures and keeping the magazine going during the outbreak. No doubt reading The People's Friend is a huge source of comfort to many readers at the moment.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Magazine subscriptions

Thanks to Douglas McPherson (who writes for womags under the pen name of Julia Douglas) for this topical guest post.

Just a word on the importance of magazine subscriptions during the lockdown.

The closure of WH Smith has hit all magazine sales, including the womags. And while they're doing everything they can to keep going, we writers can help them to survive and keep buying our stories by encouraging everyone to take out subscriptions.

There are some great deals available, such as DC Thomson offering 13 issues of My Weekly or People's Friend for just £4 (about 31p per issue, delivered to your door).

To protect our incomes during this time and going forward, I think we all have a part to play in encouraging friends, family and social media followers to switch to subscriptions or digital issues (which can be bought issue by issue).

Remember, we don't know how long the shops will be shut or whether lock downs will become a regular future occurrence, so the less dependent that magazines are on retail sales the more secure they will be.

This applies to all magazines and especially to titles more commonly found in Smiths etc than supermarkets. Some monthlies have entire print runs shuttered up behind the closed doors of Smiths that will never be sold.

I hope you can all help to raise awareness of this issue and how we can all help.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Happy birthday to me!

It's my birthday today and as we can't go out to celebrate or to be with friends and family, I'll be spending it at home reading and in the garden.

So that you can join me, I'm offering my garden themed short story collection Through The Garden Gate for free for the next few days. I really hope you like it – if you do a short review on Amazon would be very much appreciated.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Uplifting stories for crazy times

Fran Tracey and Julia Underwood have set up a new Facebook group offering free cheery reads to help distract ourselves from virus related worries. They say 'we are always looking for new published authors. Pm the admins for details.' 

If you do decide to offer a story, keep in mind that according to Facebook's terms you're technically giving them non-exclusive copyright and won't be able to sell the story or offer it into a competition as unpublished.

I've contributed a daft little piece, and Ginny Swart has a fun story there  to help get things going. New stories will be added periodically.

You can join the group here.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Over To You

What's happening in Womag land?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Do you have tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Feel free to use the photo (taken on Vatersay) as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

If you find this blog useful or interesting, please do leave a comment – without those I'll assume nobody is reading and wonder if there's any point in me continuing to post.

If you're not sure how to comment, see this post.

Monday, 9 March 2020

What can you do with your Pocket Novel?

Today's guest is Jenny Worstall.

In the comments to this post last week some people discussed doing more with pocket novels and Jenny has kindly agreed to share her experiences.

What can you do with your Pocket Novel?

Once you’ve had a pocket novel published, there are two further things you can do with it (well, three if you count visiting as many branches of W H Smith/Tesco/Sainsbury etc as I did to worship my book...). First, you can send it to Ulverscroft to see if they would like to publish it, and second you can self-publish your own original version.

My People’s Friend pocket novel, Love And Lies, was published on 21st March 2019, and I sent an enquiry email to Alex Hamblin at Ulverscroft on the same day, not knowing quite what to expect but having been advised by RNA friends to contact her. Alex replied on 25th March, asking me to send in a copy of the PN (actual physical copy). She said I could send in the MS from my computer, but they would pay more for being able to use the PN (it’s already edited and they have some sort of arrangement with PF). I should mention here that while I was worshipping my PNs in Smiths etc earlier, I also bought quite a few of them, thinking they would be useful at some point, so luckily I had a spare one ready to send off. You can of course buy them from D C Thomson over the phone, but you will pay postage.

At the risk of burbling on, I’m going to add a quick story here. Later, I wanted to buy some more copies of Love And Lies. I had run out of the ones I’d  bought before, so I rang D C Thomson (number on the website). A delightful lady answered (yes, with a ‘Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ accent) and I asked if she had any copies of my novel as they were no longer available in the shops. She said she’d have to go down to the basement to check, because sometimes the more popular books sold out. I heard her shoes clicking away into the distance and held my breath. On her return, she told me there were LOTS of copies left and, as you can imagine, I didn’t quite know whether to be pleased or not!

Back to business – by 8th May I’d not heard back from Alex at Ulverscroft, so after further advice from RNA friends, I sent an ultra-polite enquiry. Alex answered on 22nd May with a YES and the offer of £300, saying she’d like to buy Love And Lies for the Linford Romance Imprint. So the time from my first tentative enquiry to acceptance was 8 weeks. The contract was for a large print edition of the book only, and lasts for five years. It also states two author copies will be provided. As soon as I sent the contract back, I was paid. Like D C Thomson, Ulverscroft pay on acceptance, not on publication.

I didn’t know when my book would be published, but I found out from Alan Williams in the Susan Jones Pocket Novel Group on Facebook that you need to check the Ulverscroft site as they gradually put the details up. After compulsively checking every five minutes, I calmed down and then in around November 2019, I was thrilled to see this(You have to put my name in the search bar after clicking on the Union Jack).

I had a publication date – 1st May 2020 – and a great new blurb for my book. Apparently a few weeks before publication, the book cover (new) will appear too. Can’t wait!

I have recently found out on the grapevine that Alex was standing in for Sarah Quirke, who is now back in charge of PN submission at Ulverscroft. There’s an interesting article here, from the RNA, about Sarah and PNs. It gives her email near the end, in case this is useful for submissions. Although the article is a few year old now, it’s still relevant, EXCEPT the bit about them not setting titles directly from the PN ‘booklets’.

For self-publication, you don’t have to wait until you’ve been published by Ulverscroft, because remember you’ve only sold them the large print rights. Although D C Thomson has published your novel, you still own the copyright and can self-publish, as long as you remember one important thing: you can self-publish your own original version, with your own original title. The edited version is theirs. So, next I decided to self-publish and I’ve already blogged about that here.

Don’t forget to claim ALCS for your Ulverscroft edition (and for your PN too, but that’s as a magazine, not a book). (For more info on ALCS see here.) You can also register for plr (public lending rights) on the large print books.

Thanks Patsy for having me as a guest on your blog. It’s been great fun! If anyone feels remotely interested in my books, please look at my Amazon Author PageFacebook Author PageFacebookInstagram , Blog or twitter.

If anyone is interested in the process of writing the pocket novel itself, see this post by Susan Jones.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Prima short story competition

Prima are still running their short story competition. This is from the current issue (with details of the winner hidden, in case she'd rather not be mentioned).

If you're (understandably) struggling to read the small print underneath it says that by entering you give up your copyright.

If you found this (or any other) post interesting/useful please leave a comment. Without those I'll assume nobody is interested in the subject(s) and there's no point in me posting about it!

If you're not sure how to comment, see this post.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

UK postage costs to rise – Guest post by Bea Charles

Guest post by Bea Charles

I see Royal Mail prices are increasing on 23rd March. Time to stock up on stamps for all those The People's Friend submissions I keep promising myself I’m going to make this year. (Good time to buy stamps for Christmas too!)

1st class - currently 70p, increasing to 76p
2nd class - 61p, up to 65p
Large 1st - £1.06 up to £1.15
Large 2nd - 83p up to 88p

The People’s Friend insist on postal submissions from all writers, both new and those regularly published. They prefer a separate envelope for each story submitted. They will reply by email if you ask them to do so. (They will apparently make an exception for non UK writers but you should probably contact them first by email to explain and ask for permission and the appropriate email address.)

Woman’s Weekly still require all new writers to submit by post. Only previously published writers can submit by email.

Yours accept submissions by both post and email.

The Weekly News only accepts email submissions.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Chatting, age and friends

I took part in The People's Friend writing hour today (it's on twitter every Tuesday morning 11-12). This is a good way to 'meet' fellow writers, and ask questions of the fiction team. In response to a question, about characters aged 70, they said that if characters had a story to tell, age wasn't relevant. 

I asked about stories from a child's POV, as I've not seen many in the magazine and was told 'We really like junior viewpoint stories, but we don't seem to get a lot of them sent in!'

Talking of twitter writing events, you may like to join #WritingChat on Wednesday evenings. It's open to all writers and covers all genres. There's a different theme each week, plus you can ask questions and suggest future topics. To take part, just tweet 8-9 using the hashtag.