Tuesday 31 May 2022

The People's Friend – our questions answered.

Lucy Crichton, fiction editor at The People's Friend, has kindly agreed to answer questions raised as comments on this blog about their fiction competition and general submissions – 

Your short story competition has attracted a lot of interest. Is it open to absolutely all writers – those who've never submitted stories to you, and those who have been published in The Friend?

Our Short Story Writing Competition celebrates “Scotland’s Year Of Stories 2022”, and is open to all authors who have not yet been published in “The People’s Friend - as stated in the rules, published in our May 14, 2022 issue. 

Since its inception in 1869, “The People’s Friend” has aimed to encourage and inspire new authors from all backgrounds. That ethos continues today. We’re committed to ensuring that new authors come through to complement existing writers, and to replace those who’ve moved on to other projects. 

I see from the terms and conditions that by entering the competition entrants will assign all rights to D C Thomson. That's not your usual policy – can you tell me why it applies to this competition?

As a one-off competition, it is being run in accordance with DC Thomson’s standard competition Ts & Cs. 

These differ from the standard terms that we agree with regular contributors to the magazine to give flexibility around promoting and publicising the competition and its winning entry. 

Are you planning any changes to the current contract for regular submissions?

No. There are no plans to change our current contracts at this time. Details of our contracts are available here - https://www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/2020/06/19/writers-rights-at-the-peoples-friend/

Might you publish any competition entries other than the winner, and if so under what terms?

The judging panel will make a decision on this after the closing date. It's excellent that you're increasing the amount of fiction in the magazines. 

Can we hope that this, combined with a return to the office, will eventually reduce response times for your regular writers? 

We aim to read and respond to every submission in a way that’s fair and transparent. 

Returning to the office won't impact on response times. Avenues for women’s short fiction are disappearing. 

This means that we receive an increased volume of submissions, especially compared to pre-Covid days. Communication is key. If you’re an established author and have been waiting for a response for longer than 12 weeks, please do email your assigned editor, and we can chase it up for you. 

As well as reading submissions, the Team are busy with many other day-to-day tasks such as proofreading and blogging; we aim to be efficient in all areas, prioritising where necessary. 

New (to you) writers are reporting very fast rejections – sometimes within 24 hours and some find it disconcerting. Can you reassure them that the speed with which replies are sent out is no reflection on the quality of work, or the amount of attention you've paid the piece? I assume it's just that, due to the high number of submissions, you've had to learn to assess whether a story might suit the magazine during a single reading.

This situation applies to new-to-the "Friend" authors only. 

Our vastly experienced Team are able to assess a story for suitability within minutes. We no longer have a backlog of manuscripts to get through, and our Team go into the inbox every day. So expect response times for unpublished authors to remain speedy at the moment. 

Is it still the longer length stories which are most in demand?
The stories which we need most of are 2000 and 3000 word stories which are suitable for any issue. The stories we receive most of are 1200 words. We only use one of these per issue.

Thank you, Lucy. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions and clarify the situation for us.

Thursday 26 May 2022

At last!

I'm now properly doing the #travellingwriter thing. Blog posts may become irregular, but I'll do my best to keep bringing you womag, competition and other writing news – and there will be photos. (If you want more of those you might like to follow me on Facebook or twitter.)

Free entry competition news

 On the Premises are running a flash fiction competition. $35 is the prize for the best story of 25-50 words with an unreliable narrator.

The Writer's Bureau have a poetry competition. A place on one of their courses is the prize. Closes at the end of the month.

Press 53 have a monthly 53 word competition. The prize is publication and a book.

If you can invent a beautiful future you might be able to win $1,00o in this short story competition from Sapiens Plurum. Thanks to Alyson for sending me the link.

Womag news

This is really news of forthcoming information. Lucy Crichton, fiction editor at The People's Friend, has kindly agreed to answer some of the questions raised over their short story competition. She's understandably busy, and my travels mean limited internet access, but they'll be posted as soon as possible.

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Over To You


Womag news

Do you have any womag news?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Feel free to use the as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Free entry writing competition news

I'd love to hear your competition news.

Do you have writing tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Friday 13 May 2022

Do you (still) enjoy reading fiction in magazines?

I know many of my blog readers like writing short stories and hope to have them published in magazines – and wish there were more submission opportunities.

I've been wondering why there has been such a decline in the markets over the last few decades. Maybe there are only a few of us left who appreciate short stories?

I don't think that's the case, and apparently neither do DC Thomson as they've increased the amount of fiction in both The People's Friend and My Weekly. I'd love to know your thoughts.

Do you enjoy reading fiction in magazines?

Did you use to enjoy short stories, but now prefer celebrity gossip, adverts and whatever else has replaced the fiction in magazines which no longer publish it?

Does your like / dislike of fiction influence your decision on whether or not to read a particular magazine?

Responses (as comments on this blog please) are welcome from all who have an opinion, whether they're writers or not.

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Things are looking up

Free entry competition news

The Anansi archive have competitions for flash fiction, short stories and poetry, all with small cash prizes. I've sent them a flash piece.

There's a much larger prize – £1,000 on offer for this poetry competition. Poetry isn't really my thing, but that prize is very tempting.

Competition / womag news

In The People's Friend this week there's a competition to write a short story withe the theme of Scotland. Thanks to Liz Filleul for pointing it out - as I'm away I've not seen the mag yet. I do however know there's a story of mine inside and a lovely illustration of one of my favourite castles on the front.

Update 12/5/22 I've just checked the 'small print' and learned that simply by entering this competition authors will give up all their rights to their stories.

"Entrants (including the winners) hereby assign all intellectual property rights and waive all moral rights in their entry to D. C. Thomson."

I am very surprised and disappointed that DC Thomson are treating writers in this way, as they're usually so fair and supportive. 
I strongly urge writers NOT to give up their rights, even in exchange for a prize or publication fee, and certainly not just for the chance to send in an entry.

Womag news

My Weekly are following The People's Friend in increasing the amount of fiction they publish. This market is not currently open to unsolicited submissions (meaning you need to be 'on the list' to send work in) but I think it's still encouraging that some publishers, and their readers, obviously do value short stories.

My news

The photo says it all!

Sunday 8 May 2022


Sorry if you saw the rather unpleasant spam comments. Because some are creeping through Blogger's defences, and I'm going to be on the road quite a bit so not able to keep a close eye on things, I've decided to put comment moderation back on.

That does mean any comments might take a little while to appear, but I'll get to them as soon as I can and still appreciate them all just as much. These flowers are for everyone who leaves actual comments, not spam ones.

Wednesday 4 May 2022

A quickie about stuff

Hi. Just a quick post today as I'm busy with 'stuff'. Writing of course, but also gardening and getting ready for adventures in the van - we'll be staying in at least five different locations and three different countries before the end of the month and it all starts today.

Womag news

I've still not heard anything from Stylist magazine, nor do I know of anyone who has. I did spot that they've changed their submission requirements a little.

Lipstick and Lies
have temporarily closed to submissions. They've contacted everyone who has had work accepted. Were you one of the lucky ones! (I hadn't even decided whether or not to sub when I discovered they'd closed.)

My womag news

This kind of thing doesn't happen often, but I currently have a story in Yours, The People's Friend and People's Friend special.

Free entry competition news

This competition is for literary novels over 30,000 words and offers £1,500 plus publication to the winner.

Any questions?

If you have any womag or other writing related questions I'm very happy to try to answer them – provided you do it as a comment on this blog.  Sorry but I simply don't have time to answer individual queries by email and social media. Often more than one person asks the same thing and even when it's just one person the chances are that someone else was wondering. If you ask on the blog, not only can others benefit from the answer, but more people will see the question so you're more likely to get a helpful reply.

Whether you have questions or not, please do leave a comment if you find the blog useful, interesting or otherwise worth me taking time out from all the other 'stuff' I have going on!

Here's how to leave a comment. (It's free and you don't need to create an account.)