Feedback on your writing
One of the things The People's Friend mentioned in a recent tweet is that they can't critique stories or give detailed feedback. As far as I'm aware no magazine editor does this – please correct me if you know of any that do. This service is sometimes offered to competition entrants, either as part of the entry fee, or for a small additional charge. It might well be worth the money, especially for an ongoing competition.
Feedback, critiques, constructive criticism – whatever you call it, it's very valuable for a writer. That's especially true when we start out, but most experienced writers (myself included) also have at least one other person read their work critically before they submit it, as they've discovered how useful this is.
If you're really lucky there will be a local writing group which provides just the type of feedback you need. Often that's not the case – there might not be a group you can attend reasonably conveniently, or they might not be at the appropriate level for you, or might write in a very different genre. That's where online groups, forums, and critiquing partnerships can be immensely useful. If you know of an online group or site which is open to new members, please post details in the comments. And do the same if you'd like to swap critiques with someone else, or offer a feedback service, or are looking for somewhere to ask for feedback. Hopefully a few of you can find a suitable match.
The People's Friend have given more information about submitting via email on their Twitter page. The gist of it is to only use the email address for short stories and that, just as with postal submissions, these must comply with their submission guidelines.
Following the guidelines is important with all markets. The magazines can only publish stories of certain lengths and they're sent plenty of these. If yours is too long, or too short, they would either have to request that you altered it, or do so themselves. Obviously this takes time, something no editor has lots of. I think you can see that they'd much rather buy a story from someone who has followed the guidelines and supplied something they can use without a great deal of further effort.
I've been in contact with Andrew Shaw at Future who has confirmed that fiction for Woman's Weekly, Woman and Woman's Own can only be accepted on an 'all rights' basis. Stories submitted to him will be considered for all three magazines. If I'm supplied with guidelines for any of these I'll share them in a future* post. Andrew doesn't deal with the 'Best of' magazine – that's a different department with different requirements.
*See what I did there? Future publishing, get it?
I have a new book out! Happy Families is a collection of 24 family related short stories. The paperback can now be ordered from Amazon, your local bookshop, or in some cases your local library. The ebook is on 'pre order' and will be available in a few days.
I'll be back with more news, and some free to enter writing competitions soon.