Updated March 2023 – If you're looking for the current Woman's Weekly fiction guidelines, try here.
For other magazine's guidelines check the submissions database.
To ask advice, please post a comment on the latest blog post, which you can find via 'home' at the top of the page.
Woman's Weekly Fiction Guidelines
Fiction is a vital ingredient of Woman's Weekly, the place where readers can escape and switch off. This doesn't mean predictable plots or old-fashioned romances. Escapism means getting involved in an engaging tale with believable characters. Above all, we are looking for originality and a wide variety of themes and moods, such as mystery, humour, relationships and family issues, with warmth and hope still an important factor. “Uplifting” is the word to keep in mind. We are not looking for stories about Covid, lockdown, or stories that dwell on death/illness/hospitals... Try to be subtle in your writing and remember the maxim: "Show don't tell".
We recommend you read several issues of Woman's Weekly to get a feel for our audience. Unfortunately, we can't offer feedback, but if your writing shows promise, we will contact you. Please be advised that stories may be edited as part of the publishing process.
WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR: For the weekly magazine: Short stories of 800 and 1,800 words.
Submissions should be my email.
Single quotation marks throughout.
Your name, address and contact details should be included on the first page.
The title of the story and the word count should be in the document name.
Please note that it can take up to sixteen weeks for manuscripts to be considered, and that we are unable to enter into any correspondence by email.
Please send stories to: email@example.com
Andrew says, "The same guidelines apply to Woman and Woman's Own, however, we are only looking for 1800-word stories for those publications. All submissions should be by email. We are no longer accepting hard copy submissions.... All fiction stories for Woman's Weekly, Woman and Woman's Own are on an 'all rights' basis."
Thanks for this Patsy. I've never had anything accepted by Woman's Weekly. Now we have these guidelines, I might try to write something for them. Thanks for all your work in keeping us updated I don't post much on here but I really do appreciate it. Xx
Thanks for the update, Patsy, but probably won't submit anything as it is 'all rights' - last resort only!
Thanks for this, Patsy. I was only trying to find useful information on how to sub to them yesterday - there is nothing out there on the interwebs or in the magazines.
Many thanks for this Patsy.
I heard that the fiction is booked up for Woman's Weekly until October and all the stories had been scheduled until then.
If this is the case, but fresh fiction is still being considered and accepted for WW, they'll be even more booked up!
Has anyone any news on why there are new stories being published in the 'Best of WW' fiction specials? It'd be great if there was still a slot there for us!
Thank you for this - but with the all rights issue - well, let's not go there again ;) Still always another to add to the mix. Sorry I went 'anonymous' last time - slip of the 'pen' ;) I know it must be irritating not having a name.
I recently submitted to Woman's Weekly, and my story was passed across to Woman's Own, where it was commissioned. It will appear in a June edition - there's obviously a fair bit of movement between the 'sister' publications.
Similar with myself ‘new girl’ my story bought recently and will appear a June addition in Woman magazine, so stories are being considered for all three mags.
Thanks to those of you who've taken the time to leave a comment! I really appreciate it. However with just seven people being sufficiently interested to do so, I don't think it's worth me continuing to request this kind of information from editors.
@ Sharon H – As long as you're sure you don't mind losing your rights, I wish you good luck with your submissions.
@ Alyson – Such a shame they take all rights. The really don't need to, especially as another department of Future can offer an alternative contract which allows them to do exactly as they like without taking all rights from the author.
@ Bubble – some editors do seem oddly reluctant to make their requirements known! It was this lack of information which prompted me to repeatedly ask for these guidelines. I confess I had expected more than 7 people to be interested!
@ Sharon B – It may be that there are spaces to fill in the other titles.
Fiction for the 'best of' seems to be commissioned, rather than having an open submissions policy.
@ Marguerite – The all rights issue stops me submitting, but I know it doesn't bother everybody. I think most people would like to know of potential markets, even if they do decide not to submit.
@ New Girl - congratulations and thanks for confirmation that the system does work as stated.
@ Charlie – congratulations to you too!
Thanks for getting this info - it is most useful. Shame about the 'all rights' situation when they already have our consent to use the story in publications worldwide. Seems petty - but makes a massive difference to us not being able to claims ALCS. Thanks for your hard work putting this together, it's appreciated. Linda
Thanks for sourcing the info, Patsy. Like many others I loved writing - and being accepted for publication at Woman's Weekly, till they decided to take all rights. So, like many others I won't be submitting to them unless they revert to the old contract, but it's very kind of you to seek out the information for those who are happy to submit. Well done on all your plantings mentioned in your Newsletter. Your garden must be fabulous - maybe you could get a little slot on TV or start a gardening blog as well! I'm just suffering a bit of gardening heartache as my partner has just choked down my lovely Weigelas just as it was about to flower with a million trumpet shaped pink flowers!!!!
@ Lionsshare – Yep. Publishers such as DC Thomson have contracts which allow them to do whatever they like with the story, as often as they like, without depriving the author of all rights. There's no reason they can't all do that.
@ Anonymous – Thank you. I did have a gardening blog for a while. That got very few visitors and almost no comments, so although it didn't take up nearly as much time as this one, it still didn't seem worth continuing.
If you'd like to see more of my garden pictures you could follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/PatsyCollins or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/patsy.collins.925 as I often post some to those sites.
Thanks for the info Patsy. I'm sure many people are interested but not all of them will comment. I wasn't aware of the three-mag crossover, but sadly, like you and others, I won't give all rights so it's still a no to what was my favourite mag to be published in.
Thank you Patsy, I really do appreciate all the hard work you do getting this type of information to us.
@ Bernadette – I really hope those who are interested do take the time to comment. It doesn't take long to do that and gives a good indication of the topics people are interested in – not just to me, but to potential contributors.
@ Chris – Thank you. It's made harder by the fact I get so few comments. Editors and publishers might well be more responsive if they saw how many people do want this kind of information.
I know I keep banging on about comments, but without them this blog is harder to keep up to date, and less useful than it would be if more readers were to respond to the posts.
Dear Patsy, I’m new to your fabulous blog. I was thinking of trying to submit a Christmas story to WW. I was about to print off a hard copy - based the info I found up until I saw your post.
I’m most grateful to you for taking the time to find out and share these things. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your blog.
@ MJ – I'm glad I saved you some printer ink and a stamp!
You might find my 'guidelines database' useful. There's a link to it near the top of the page.
I really appreciate you obtaining these editor guidelines for us, Patsy! Thank you for all your hard work.
I do wish Woman's Weekly didn't take all rights. I'd really like to submit to them, especially as I can buy it locally (not all UK mags are available in Australia), but the all rights policy makes it less attractive.
@ :-) Thanks for letting me know they're useful.
@ Liz – I also wish they, and other mags who take all rights, would change their minds about this extremely unfair policy. It's entirely possible to have a contract which allows the publisher to use our work exactly as they wish, wherever they wish, as often as they wish, yet still allow the author to retain some rights themselves. Some publishers do it, some departments of the company which owns Woman's Weekly do it – they all could if they cared enough for their writers to make this small adjustment.
Thanks Patsy - I'm new to this and have found your blog so helpful in the last 12 months.
I've had a few things accepted by PF, and was contemplating giving WW a go, but may not now as I'm not happy about the rights issue.
Thank you Patsy, I have only just come across your blog, its great information and much appreciated as its so difficult to get up todate info online. I have a number of times submitted to magazines on the basis of outdated info usually to complete silence and occasionally someone takes pity on me and updates me on the magazines current criteria. So please do keep going now that I have found it, its great to know what's going on.
@ Polly – I think it's best not to sub places which take all rights, but it's your decision.
@ Sheelagh – There are are few websites about with information which is no longer in date. At least with a blog you can see when it was posted, which will give some indication of how current it's likely to be. I'm also putting the date the guidelines database was last updated, for the same reason.
Thanks Patsy, its brilliant, I don't know how you find the time to do it all.
@ Unknown – It is sometimes a struggle to fit everything in!
Hi Patsy, I too have only just found your blog while looking for submission guidelines for WW. Thanks for all the info it's very much appreciated. Jackie
Hi, just found this (I am a newbie writer. I've wrote for yard, but never felt confident enough to show anyone) so thank you for the post.
What is ALCS please?
I'm new to all this.
Thank you, very useful. I have submitted some older stories to see what happens and whether we ever hear anything.
Hello, I am new to fiction, but I have had some reference books published.
May I ask what is the problem with magazines demanding "all rights" ?
The magazines have permission to publish and republish I assume, so what other rights are there, that I would want to retain?
Is there a short list of magazines etc that take short stories and don't demand all rights ?
Thanks - and Happy Christmas everyone
Thank you so much for this. I haven't tried to get a short story published before and knowing what is required and offered is key. I too am wary of the 'all rights' issue but hadn't thought beyond simply getting a story published.
Thanks so much for all the research you've done for this, Patsy; I think it's very generous of you. I haven't submitted any short stories to the womags for about ten years, but I'm thinking of giving it another go (needs must, and all that...) Wow, how things have changed in that time.
I'm submitting for the first time so I'm a real rookie. Is there any payment if a short story is published. Has anyone submitted to woman and Home. I like the mag but some of the stories aren't very good.
'm submitting for the first time so I'm a real rookie. Is there any payment if a short story is published. Has anyone submitted to woman and Home. I like the mag but some of the stories aren't very good.
@ Unknown - ALCS is an agency which pays authors if their stories are photocopied, or used in various ways.
@ Anonymous – The problem with a magazine taking all rights is that it will no longer belong to the author. They can't use it again in any way (nor the characters or worlds they've created for it) whereas the person/organisation who acquires the rights can do anything they like with it including publishing it under a different name or with substantial changes.
@ Linda – Yes, they do pay.
Thanks all of you . I'll send one story out and see what happens.
Hi Patsy I really find all your posts both interesting and informative. I don’t usually comment which I think might be true of many writers who read your fab blog. Thank you for all you do to help us. All the very best Tess x
@ Tess - Thank you. It makes a huge difference to the blog if people comment - and it also makes me feel that it's worth my time writing the posts.
Hi, I have never submitted a short story by email attachment before. What would be the best format? I use Open Office to write in. Many thanks for all your treasured help.
@ Anonymous - Individual guidelines may state which formats they take. If none are stated the safest option is to 'save as' a Word doc. and send that.
Thank you so much Patsy. I've looked for guidelines for Woman's Weekly but can't find any.
I'm attempting to get the latest guidelines / requirements. If I get a response I'll put it in a new post, and in the submissions database (link at top of page)
Thanks Patsy, I'm showing my lack of familiarity with blogs here as I missed that link, I appreciate your patience. I hadn't realized you now have to submit a pitch to Woman's Weekly, rather than send an unsolicited manuscript so I'll need to rethink my strategy and, of course, research how to submit a pitch.
Tomorrow's post (25th March) might be helpful to you. To find the current post, click the 'home' tab at the top of the page.
If you can add a name or other identifier on your comments it will make it easier to reply to you on current posts. If two entirely anonymous people ask different questions it might be confusing as to which reply is for which.
Thanks Patsy. I look forward to seeing your post tomorrow
Thank you for today's post, Patsy and for everything. The publishing world has changed since I did my creative writing course in the 70s. Life got in the way then but, now retired, I am enjoying finding out about this whole new world. Exciting but scary. I appreciate you walking with me some of the way. Thanks again.
I am tearing my hair out trying to find out what 'no formatting' means re short story submissions. Some sites say one thing, some another. I am confused about whether to use indents or double spacing for dialogue and are page breaks and margin settings classed as formatting? I have several books and articles detailing how to submit a manuscript but none cover submitting online. Do you know the best place to look please? Many thanks
Thank you so much Patsy for your excellent 'From Story Idea to Reader' received today. I have several books on writing but this has to be the most comprehensive. I'm sure I'll be dipping into it time and again. Thank you again.
Hi Patsy, page 185 of your book explains no formatting for People's Friend further, thank you. I am still confused about handling dialogue and scene breaks though. If not using indents, would you use an extra two lines, seeing as it is double spaced. If so, would you use the return key for that please? I am upgrading to Word. Many thanks
Hi Bea, welcome to the precarious world of writing short stories for women's magazines. One tip I found really helpful when I started (attempting) to write for various magazines is to buy copies of the various magazines and read them like a writer i.e very slowly noting the way dialogue, indents, inverted commas are handled in each one because the style varies quite a bit between different magazines. It also gives you the great excuse that you are actually doing research rather than just 'enjoying yourself' reading magazines if anyone asks!! Best of luck Bea. Enjoy the journey
PS it took me a while to find where you had posted your comment as it isn't coming up in the most recent blog post. I tend to find that if you post there, other writers who are reading the blog will also answer queries for you.
@ Bea – I'm glad you're finding the book helpful.
For 'no formatting' dialogue I still us speech marks/quotes. Sometimes the guidelines say single or double - if they don't the choice is yours. I don't have extra spaces around dialogue, just what I'd do with standard formatting except no indents of the paragraphs.
For scene breaks I do use an extra blank line, insetted using the return key.
@ Sheelagh – I totally agree about studying magazines as a writer, not just reading and enjoying them. I would suggest concentrating on just one magazine at a time. TPF is a good one to start with as they publish so much fiction and are open to unsolicited submissions.
Also agree that Bea would get more responses posting on the latest post. (To find it, click on 'home' at the top of the page.)
Many thanks all for your welcome responses. Sorry I've been posting in the wrong place. I'm just finding my way round blogs. My problem is not with a mag's print style, I've researched many. It is the fact that Peoples Friend asks for 'no formatting' in the manuscript you submit to them online. I was not really sure whether indents, page breaks and scene breaks were formatting. I am finding my way round that now, but any further info will be really useful.
Idiot that I am, it's taken a while to tumble to the idea of searching 'formatting' on the Peoples Friend website. They say it's a question they regularly get and they lay out exactly what it means. So I'm on my way then, after only a nigh on 50 year delay. Wish me luck. Many thanks again for all your invaluable help and the book of course.
Post a Comment