Monday, 11 April 2022

Why bother?

Womag news

Submitting to YOU magazine is now resulting in the following automatic response –

 Dear writer, 

Thank you for your story.
Due to the sheer volume of submissions, the YOU Fiction mailbox will be closed until further notice. 

Appreciate your understanding,
YOU Fiction Editor

Hopefully this is only temporary, to allow the editor to catch up with submissions. 

There are a lot of us writers submitting to a small number of markets – if most of us simultaneously send something to the same place, which tends to happen when submission windows or new markets open, the editors will feel swamped. I'm not saying don't submit, but maybe think twice before sending everything on your hard drive which is the correct word count?

My news

I'm doing some updates on this blog and my website. If you happen to notice any broken links, daft typos or anything else which needs attention, please let me know.

The photos above are of the illustrations for stories I have in the current The People's Friend and Take A Break's Fiction Feast. If you submit to either magazine you'll know which is which. If you don't you're not reading the current issues and I strongly advise that you do.)

I have a new short story collection coming out soon.

Sometimes, when I get a rejection, or I've had no book sales I can wonder why I bother. Other days something happens to make me glad I do. Yesterday was one of those times. I got a review for this collection of garden stories. Naturally I was pleased by the 5 stars, but it was the person saying they'd bought the book to read to their mother who has dementia which made the impact.

I feel the real value of womag type stories is their ability to provide a few minutes escapism and pleasure. They don't change the world or people's lives, but they can sometimes raise a smile – and that's important.


Carolb said...

Thanks Patsy.

Hope this will only be temporary.

ados123 said...

Thank for the update, Patsy. Hopefully, the You situation will be temporary. It's a shrinking market...

Jenny Worstall said...

Just read Alyson's comment quickly on my phone (without glasses!) as 'stinking' market! Reassured now it's only shrinking...

Sheelagh said...

Thanks for the information as always Patsy, its a pity but understandable really. I like the illustrations with your stories there and you know those few minutes of escapism sometimes does change the world or at least your thinking on something. I have often read some short story that really cheered me up or made me think a little differently about something. & that's great news about the impact of your stories on a dementia sufferer, that can make all the difference to the person and their family.

Sharon boothroyd said...

I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling low, Patsy but uplifting feedback on your work should lift the spirits!
I think in lockdown, mag fiction was an important form of escape. With the daily news so grim now, people do still need that escape.
I do, anyway!
Personally, I wouldn't self- publish my work, as the income generated from this can be very risky. I'd consider myself very lucky if I made any profit at all, as Amazon take a fairly large cut.
Experienced fiction eds should be used to dealing with a full inbox, and used to reading quickly, to decide if a story is suitable or not.
That should be part of their skill set, and them being swamped shouldn't put anyone off subbing their work.
Open markets offer everyone the chance to be published and paid.
I usually sub around 2 stories, per month, per mag. I don't know if that's excessive or not!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's awesome you have a new book coming soon!
When that place opens submissions again, they will probably be overwhelmed again.

Marian said...

Thanks Patsy. I had never submitted to YOU before last week, when I got the automatic response, but am I correct in thinking they do close for submissions periodically? I wrote my story specifically for them, so I'll keep hold of it in the hope they open up again.

Eirin Thompson said...

Like Sharon, I believe magazine fiction has probably been immensely valuable during the past two years of global trauma. In challenging times, and with concentration sometimes fleeting, a short story can provide a welcome escape, a smile, a chuckle, an uplift of the heart. I feel privilged to think I might have provided someone's bedtime or coffee-break reading and brought even a little comfort or warmth in trying times. Patsy, I am so glad you had that review, reminding you of the worth of what you do. It is easy to dismiss commercial short fiction as fluff, or insubstantial, when in fact it is really engaging, entertaining, poignant, funny, thought-provoking. Our work might not be in the running for literary prizes, but that is not the only kind of writing or the only kind of success.

New girl on the block said...

I found this a really uplifting and encouraging post. I suspect we all experience 'Why do I bother?' moments, so thank you, Patsy, for reminding us why we do. If we can make even a small difference to one person's life, it's worth it.

Marguerite said...

Good luck with the upcoming publication, Patsy :) Still awaiting the next spooky tales... ;) We must add up all those bits of praise - with all the negative going on around us, it will always give us a boost. Those boosts keep us going.

Patsy said...

@ Carol and Alyson – I think it probably will be temporary.

@ Jenny – On bad days stinking feels right!

@ Sheelagh – Thank you for that. I agree, sometimes a moment of escapism can make quite a big difference.

@ Sharon – Thank you. You're right – a good review (or an acceptance) quickly cheers me up.

I totally understand people's instinct to send loads of stories in the hope the editor will like one of them, but if they send more than the editor can possibly use it seems counter productive as well as time consuming/irritating for the recipient.

Two stories a month doesn't seem excessive to me, especially as I know you take care to submit what you hope the editor will be able to use.

@ Alex – they will be and no doubt will then close again.

@ Marian – Yes, they have done this before, but never so soon after re-opening.

@ Eirin – Thank you. I totally agree, even though I do sometimes forget!

@ New Girl – I'm so glad you found it encouraging.

@ Marguerite – Thank you. More spooky stories are on the list, but it's quite a long list.

Thank you so much for everyone who took the trouble to comment. I really do appreciate it, as without comments here, writing the blog wouldn't seem wortwhile.