Monday 21 March 2022

Fiction guidelines for YOU magazine

Here are the guidelines for YOU magazine, reproduced with permission from the fiction editor.



Length: 1 500 words  


Genre: Any, including romance although we'd like to feature more whodunits and detective stories.   


Plot: General, but including contemporary issues such as the internet, email, family and social relationships, etc. The main criteria are that the story should be an entertaining, compelling read, and not too highbrow or morbid. Stories with an interesting twist always make for fun reading. Finally, there must be a definite storyline; sketches will not do.   


Target market: YOU is a family magazine and ideally we'd like our short stories to appeal to both male and female readers (young adults and adults).   


Presentation: Only emailed manuscripts will be accepted for consideration. Email them to  


To facilitate our production process please:  

  • Use double quotation marks.  
  • Use only one space after full stops, commas, semicolons, question marks, etc.  
  • Press the ENTER key only once to make a paragraph; do not use indents.  

    We pay: R1 950/story  


I invited the fiction editor, Illana Frantz onto the blog and she replied that she'd like to take me up on that offer sometime. If you have any questions you'd like her to answer, please put them in the comments. I can't guarantee she'll be able to answer them all, but I will pass them on.


Anonymous said...

Dear Patsy,

Thank you for the guidelines for YOU magazine SA.

I note that submissions may not have been previously published in South Africa or on the internet.
Do you know how we should define published on the internet?
If magazines are published on subscription sites such as (Readly?) our stories would be published too. Has the story therefore been 'published on the internet'?
I would be grateful for any advice on this.

Jacqueline Pye said...

Thinking of sending a short story of mine, gentle ghost component, but it is included in the book of short stories/flash fiction I self-published in 2013 and the whole book is available on Amazon (but hardly sold at all as not well marketed). Would this be acceptable for You magazine?

Marian said...

Thank you very much indeed for this, Patsy. So interesting and useful.

Sheelagh said...

Thanks Patsy that is great information as usual.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Many thanks for the update, Patsy!

Anonymous said...

What about rights? What rights does YOU SA take?


Sharon boothroyd said...

YOU doesn't take copyright, as far as I know.
I don't know about stories in mags that are then published on Readly, being classed as online. But technically, yes these stories have been published online.
My weekly also re- publishes stories on their website. I should imagine work in an anthology, sold on Amazon is classed as being online, too.
I don't tend to sub previously published work to YOU.
These guidelines are quite old but the taste in fiction changes with every fiction ed, so it's what appeals to them, really. As writers, we're subbing a variety of work, hoping it will appeal.
New writers need to send a scan of their passport and don't forget that around £5 is taken from a SA bank as a small fee to transfer your fee to a UK bank.

New girl on the block said...

Thanks for the info. It's really useful. Does the word count of submissions have to be exactly 1500, or can they be 10% either side?

Liz said...

Thanks, Patsy.

The thing that puts me off submitting to YOU is having to send a scan of your passport. It's very risky, especially as cyber crime is increasing all the time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information, Sharon

Marguerite said...

Thank you for all this, Patsy. If nothing else, it has reminded me that there are other outlets for short stories that I don't even think of - and perhaps I should.

Fay Knowles said...

Thanks for this, Patsy. I was all gung ho to see what I could send to this market, but I agree with Liz. I don't like the idea of sending a scan of my passport if one of my stories is accepted. Is there any way they could eliminate this requirement?

ados123 said...

Thanks, as ever for the updated details, Patsy.

Patsy said...

Thank you for your comments and questions everyone. I'll pass them on to Illana and hopefully she or I will be back with answers fairly soon.

Re published on the internet – I took that to mean easily and freely available online, rather than needing a subscription or to buy a book, but that's just my interpretation.

@ Polly – Pretty much the same as all the other magazines who don't take all rights. You will get a contract to agree before your first story is published so will be able to check all the details.

@ New Girl – The previous editor said a little over was OK, but not under. I'd guess that's the same as it's a question of space available rather than editor's preference.

Re the passports – I believe this is a legal requirement in South Africa and is intended to try to stop fraud and money laundering, so I don't think the magazine has the option of dropping this requirement.

@ Marguerite – It's always good to have options, isn't it?

KathrinS said...

Hi Patsy,
Thanks for this helpful post on YOU Magazine. It's definitely one to consider.

I have a question about submissions.
"Yours Fiction" said they would take 12 months to review a piece I sent. Does that mean I shouldn't send them anything new in that time? Or can I submit multiple pieces to the same place at once? How do other authors handle this?

Patsy said...

@ Kathrin – Unless the guidelines say different it's fine to have more than one story out with the same magazine.

I don't advise sending a batch all at once as that will give the impression you're just dumping a lot of stuff on them, rather than having written / selected work with their guidelines and readers in mind.

KathrinS said...

Thanks for your guidance, Patsy! That's very helpful.