Tuesday, 2 August 2022

A bit of a result?

Womag news

Here's some advice from Lucy, the fiction editor at The People's Friend which might help reduce the amount of time we need to wait for a response from that publication. (I've no idea if it was my Twitter thread and blog post she saw, or if there was another discussion which she's responded too. Either way, it's good to know that writer's concerns are noted.)

The photo is of a tree in my garden (ten points if you can identify it). Years ago I blogged about this tree and shortly afterwards it was mentioned in a response to one of my magazine submissions (not to TPF). That was the first time I realised it wasn't just writers who read the blog.

Free entry competition news

Thanks to Alan for passing on the details of Beagle North.  They're looking stories of up to 2,500 words with the theme of falling. There are small cash prizes for the winner and two runners up and the best 15 to 20 will be published in an anthology.


Sheelagh said...

Attempted a comment earlier but it didn't seem to publish for some reason. Thanks for all the info Patsy as ever, thanks to Lucy TPF too for the extra clarification and for coming back to us on the discussion, always great to get useful input & to know we are not whistling in the dark at times. Thanks also to Alan for the competition details, I might give that a go. Love the tree, Patsy, I'm going to guess that it is a Mulberry Tree? (If I am right I am going to set myself a challenge of writing a story for TPF of at least 2000 words with mention of a mulberry tree in it & incorporating all tips gleaned so far, it might be lucky charm)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's a green tree! Yeah, no idea.

Sheelagh said...

I'm far from sure either hence all the idle threats above

Marguerite said...

I agree with Alex :) I thought, deciduous... but maybe not. Alan's 'Falling' sounds good - thank you for that. Yes, the TPF website is very comprehensive - good to know the latest needs. A quick question re Yours - I subbed, no auto response - followed up a week later (which was a disaster because I put some really wrong dates in! so amended and sent yet another one - ohno!) - but, point is, no automatic resposnse to ANY of them. Anyone else come across this? Thank you.

Bubble said...

An interesting blog post from Lucy. But it doesn't explain why I sent an Xmas story in of Special length, labelled exactly the way she said, and I haven't heard a dickie bird.


Sharon boothroyd said...

I don't usually receive an auto response from Yours or Yours fiction. Rejects do come in from the regular Yours, but it's around 3- 4 months later.
I've heard that a lot of established fiction writers are still waiting for decisions 1 year, 2 years down the line at TPF.
Some have had to re - sub, and then of course, wait longer, as work has gone missing.

Patsy said...

@ Sheelagh – Ten points! And I expect you to deliver on that writing challenge!

@ Alex – Pep. With leaves and everything!

@ Marguerite – You're hedging your bets there. Hedging, get it? ;-)

I had exactly the same thing with my last submission to Yours. I thought it was a blip, but maybe not.

@ Bubble – I can see that it would help the TPF team if everyone were to follow these rules, but it's clearly not a complete solution. I too have followed the instructions and in some cases am still waiting for a decision a year or more later, even in the case of 2,000 and 3,000 word stories.

@ Sharon – That's interesting about Yours. Until now I've always had the auto acknowledgement.

You're right about people waiting a year or more with TPF. I know they have a lot of submissions to deal with, but it's really frustrating to write and submit what they're asking for and it still not to have been considered a year or more later.

Exasperated said...

Lucy, if you're not going to use a story can you please just say so? You must waste so much reading time in answering queries about years old stories and even then you only say you've got it and it's under consideration or that got it's lost in the system and can I send it again.

Exasperated said...

Sorry. That should have said 'it has got lost.' I'm too exasperated to type properly!

And I forgot to say thanks to Patsy for raising this whole issue. When I say anything myself it feels like I'm being difficult, so I usually just wait, and wait, and wait. If lots of us say it together, maybe it will show there's a real issue which needs more action than a blog post telling us to do what we're already doing.

Anonymous said...

I didn’t guess the tree, so well done, Sheelagh.
Agree with exasperated and wish I could receive answers on stories with TPF too - some of mine I’ve been waiting on decisions for over 2 years. I’d rather know as at least I’d know where I stand. Frustrating!

Sheelagh said...

Oops Patsy can I say I was only joking and make a donation to 'the beleaguered writers fund' instead?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Exasperated too!
It's frustrating having to wait so long to hear about submissions and a blog post telling us to do what we already do is just annoying.
It's also annoying that established writers have to wait so very long for any sort of reponse and yet new writers apparently sometimes hear back in less than an hour!

Anonymous said...

The problem is, it doesn't clarify anything. Lucy's blog simply restates this is what we want you to do and this is how we work. What if we follow the rules, send correctly headed stories of the required length and still don't hear back? It's especially frustrating when they put out a call for a certain length and you know they have some of your stories that length on file. If they need more I presume mine didn't make the grade. I'm fine with that. I really am. But I need them to reject them before I can sub elsewhere. They want seasonal stories early and we send them early. If they are rejected, please tell us when we still have time to sub them elsewhere rather than let another year roll by. And another. And sometimes another. As well as the word count and season, maybe we should add the year of submission to the subject line:)
Equally Exasperated

Marguerite said...

Thank you, Sharon - I certainly know they used to for the Yours Fiction but I guess they might have stopped. I am thinking all mine have probably gone in to a big black hole anyway :(

Patsy said...

@ Exasperated – I know this is a real issue for many writers, which is why I've mentioned it on the blog. Like you I don't want to be difficult – just to know whether or not my stories will be published by the magazine I submitted them too.

This isn't just a problem with TPF. Some other magazines also hold onto stories for a considerable period of time.

@ Anonymous – That's all I want - just to know whether the story will ever be used.

@ Sheelagh – Absolutely not. Get writing!

@ Anonymous – Yes, clearly quick decisions are possible!

@ Equally Exasperated – I agree. I don't actually enjoy rejections, but I accept them as part of being a writer. It's the not knowing which is ... exasperating.

@ Marguerite – I hate that feeling! It would be wonderful if all magazines acknowledged submissions (even if they did so automatically) and gave a definite decision on whether the story was accepted or rejected, or failing that a cut off period, beyond which we could safely assume it wouldn't be used.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Exasperated, Equally Exasperated and Anonymous - the blog just tells us to do things that we are already doing.

New writers are getting rapid responses. Popular writers' submissions are also clearly getting read because they have at least one story in every other issue. (No problems there, they're going to prioritise authors who are most popular with the readers.) But those of us who are in the middle - have had a number of short stories accepted, but aren't established in the way those reader favourites are - seem to be falling through the cracks. I agree that it is frustrating to see call-outs for particular story lengths or seasonal stories when you sent something that meets those requirements over a year ago. I am sure the editors (at TPF and other magazines as well) are completely overwhelmed by submissions, but I think their system needs refining because if people are waiting for more than two years for a decision on a story, something is not working.


Anonymous said...

Well let us hope that magazine editors take note of our earlier discussion & general consensus and put in place a cut off point for all submissions whether they be from new, established or popular writers because all of us face the same problem. And while a writer may find it difficult to get an acceptance from one magazine you can simultaneously be both established and popular with a different magazine. A consistent approach would be welcomed in terms of cut off points be that for submissions 'under consideration' or those which have been accepted under the 'if we can find room for them.'

Susan Wright said...

I know I'm very late in making a comment about all this, but I'm feeling just as frustrated as other people about the current long waits to hear about stories, and I'm seriously considering offering stories to more than one publication at a time now.
Has anybody else done this?
I've never done it before in over twenty years of writing, but I'm pretty sure that I'd be able to sell some of my stories that are 'stuck' elsewhere, so I'm thinking of giving it a go even though I might have to withdraw a story from one place if the other publication bought it.
Any thoughts anybody?

Exasperated Too

Susan Wright said...


Didn't mean to post the above showing my name, but I don't suppose it matters!

Patsy said...

@ Frustrated – Falling through the cracks sums it up perfectly!

@ Anonymous – You're right, we may well write work that's much better suited to one magazine than another. It's hard to know which is which if we never get a response though!

@ Susan – I totally understand the temptation, but I don't advise submitting the same story to more than one place at a time, unless you're certain both places are happy for you to do so. (Most womags are not.) There's too much potential for things to go wrong, such as an acceptance not reaching you, or your withdrawal not being seen in time. However you could ask the editors concerned if it's OK to do this with stories they've had for some time.

I'm sure it doesn't matter if we openly say that we find the apparently indefinite wait for an answer with some magazines to be frustrating. In my experience editors are nice people who want to have a good relationship with their writers and if for some reason that relationship is becoming strained then I hope and believe they'll want to know so that they can try to improve the situation.

Susan Wright said...

Thanks for your very quick response, Patsy!

You're right when you say that there's too much potential for things to go wrong if you submit the same story to two places, but it's so tempting and WW are even suggesting that we should do this now as they have so many 'accepted' stories waiting for a place.

I hope you're right when you say that editors want to know if there is a problem so they can try and improve the situation, but I can't imagine that anything will change.

Patsy said...

@ Susan – I don't submit to WW (because they take all rights) but friends have told me of this happening. It seems very odd to me, but I suppose if he says it's OK then it is OK. If you (or anyone else) decides to try simultaneous submissions I strongly suggest letting both editors know what you're doing and why.

Susan Wright said...

It seems very odd to me too, Patsy.
I've got about a dozen stories waiting for a place at WW now, so they're 'stuck' like all the stories elsewhere that I never hear about.
It all used to be so much easier, didn't it?