Sunday, 16 May 2021

Fiction guidelines for Woman's Weekly, Woman and Woman's Own.

These guidelines have been kindly supplied by fiction editor Andrew Shaw.

 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:

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.


Sharon Haston said...

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

ados123 said...

Thanks for the update, Patsy, but probably won't submit anything as it is 'all rights' - last resort only!

Bubble said...

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.


Sharon boothroyd said...

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!

Marguerite said...

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.

New girl on the block said...

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.

Charlie said...

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.

Patsy said...

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!

lionsshare said...

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

Anonymous said...

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!!!!

Patsy said...

@ 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 or Facebook as I often post some to those sites.

Bernadette said...

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.

ChrisC said...

Thank you Patsy, I really do appreciate all the hard work you do getting this type of information to us.

Patsy said...

@ 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.

MJ said...

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.
Best wishes

Patsy said...

@ 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.

:-) said...

I really appreciate you obtaining these editor guidelines for us, Patsy! Thank you for all your hard work.

Liz said...

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.

Patsy said...

@ :-) 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.