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: (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 new 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.