Saturday, 4 February 2023

A change

Thank you so much to those of you who comment on this blog. I really appreciate you taking the time and trouble to do that. Sadly there are very few of you and I feel I'm spending rather a lot of my own time to reach, on average, fewer than a dozen readers. 

I nearly didn't post at all this week, but Fiona sent me the link to this poetry competition, reminding me that this blog does receive great support, even if it is from a very small number of people. That made me feel think I should post, if only to explain that in future I'll be doing so less frequently. I'll try alternate weeks for a while, and see how that goes.  I may go to monthly.

Anyway, back to that competition. The website states, there are - 'Three Grand Prizes will receive $100 each plus their poem costumed and danced, a DVD of the poem being danced.' That makes me want to have a go - perhaps I will.

Better go now – I'm expecting a visitor to help with research for my cosy crime novellas, and to help eat the cakes I baked this morning. (Except the carrot cake – I made that last week.)

As always –

New blog posts are published alternate Saturdays. All blog readers are welcome to use the comment section to share writing news, tips, successes, links to competitions and other publication opportunities, to ask questions and to respond to comments from others.


Sharon boothroyd said...

I'm sure there is more then a dozen people who read this blog, Patsy!
You sound pretty disheartened again. I hope things improve and pick up for you soon.
There is a new editor at Writing magazine (I don't know why, as there was no indication that Johnathon was leaving).
The letters page has been clumped together with other things now - that's a shame.
I only skim through it, as there's little in there to attract my interest.
There is an expectation that WM readers want to write novels. Most of their articles are about this, too.
Does anyone else here read WM? What do you think of it?

ados123 said...

Thanks for the blog, Patsy. I read it! And I use the womag resources often, and I'm so glad I've found Globe Soup through your recommendations. Have had great fun entering two of their competitions in the last few weeks.
I hope you afternoon entertaining goes well. The cakes look splendid. I'd spill all I knew if you offered them to me...
@Sharon I read Writing Mag. I have done since it's early days when it was two magazines: Writing News and Writing Magazine. I have to say it used to be far more useful with lots of good articles about story starts and ends and stuff like that. I agree its gone a bit 'celebrity' and just seems to want to interview people about their books now. I guess it's cheap material, not that they pay that well. I've written a couple of articles for them in the past directed towards short story writing which Jonathan took but then took a long time to print! The writers news section with competitions is the best bit for me, but this month there was nothing of interest.
I'll look forward to the next blog, whenever it maybe. Will pass on any comps I find along the way.

Anonymous said...

Always grateful for your blog Patsy! You have been a great source of knowledge to me. Since all the upheaval on Twitter, I rarely see posts from all the magazine writers I’d come to know over the last year or so. I just searched you to see your latest news. I wonder if this has happened with other followers.
As always huge thanks for all the work you do for all the magazine writers out there! Julie

Anonymous said...

I love your blog, Patsy and read it often though don’t usually comment. The mag guidelines are so useful and i love reading your news too. Lou.

Anonymous said...

Love this blog and site, but don’t usually comment. Please know how you help so many of us. Like Julie said, don’t see your tweets now, and therefore forget to look here. Karen Xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Patsy, I love your blog, always read it and find it really helpful.
I will make more effort in future to comment.
If I'm honest, my reason for not commenting is that I'm a little disheartened just now.
I haven't been writing stories as much as I used to. I think it's because I feel as if they disappear into a black hole when I send them off as I haven't had much response lately.
For this reason I'm considering maybe trying to write something longer like a serial for People's Friend or a pocket novel.
Sorry, I don't mean to be miserable. Hopefully my writing mojo will return soon as I do love writing.
Sharon -I read Writing Magazine when I subscribed to it but recently I haven't looked it up on Readly.
Good luck everyone with your submissions.

Linda Casper said...

I am a massive fan of your blog but understand how time consuming it is for you. I would add places to submit but you always beat me to it.
Shame you can't share the cake!

Anonymous said...

Sorry I meant to leave my name above. It's Sharon H.

Anonymous said...

Hello Patsy,

Debbie Wilkinson here although I’ve signed in as anon.

I’m sorry if you’re feeling disheartened.

Please be reassured that whenever I tutor groups I always show them your blog because you post info about free comps which I know is if interest to them as creative writers.

Also, I tutor learners who need to know how to write a blog post as part of their studies. I always display your blog during my meetings with these learners as an example and discuss it with them Many of them are full of admiration for your blog.

I often pop into your blog for a quick 5/10 minutes to catch up in between tasks and I’m sorry I don’t comment very often but I’ve always believed you have a good bunch of followers and are strongly supported by them.

I hope you will continue with the blog.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Hello Sharon,

I haven’t read an issue for sometime but I always recommend the website to others when the opportunity arises. The price is a bit of an off putter for me although I realise a magazine will have costs they need to meet in order to exist.

Anonymous said...

PS. Sharon, I’m Debbie Wilkinson but signed in as anon.

Marguerite said...

Sorry you've got a bit more than the January blues, Patsy. It seems as though your blog is well-read by many - I know I certainly enjoy it and recommend whenever I can.
I have noticed a change in WM just recently, Sharon - I used to enjoy the 'editorial calendar' - that's disappeared. Yes, clumped together - good description.
I think a trial of fortnightly might be a good move - I have to say, I was eagerly waiting this morning :)
The cakes look lovely - please leave some for me ;)

Patsy said...

Thanks to everyone who has commented so far. I appreciate it.

Yes, I'm disheartened and frustrated. I try to make this blog useful, but can only do so much myself. If all the people who read it were to share information it could be a far more valuable resource for us all.

That information doesn't have to be competitions or womag market changes, although these are very welcome. Things such as waiting times for submission responses or which length or genre stories are being bought at the moment, would be very useful. The same goes for helpful tips and suggestions, encouragement for those who are struggling and the sharing of good news are all appreciated.

Carolb said...

I always read your blog posts, and will make an effort to comment more. It's an important resource for writers.
The start of the year is a strange time, and not always bright skies, which can be a little depressing.

Marian said...

Hello Patsy. I'm a great fan of your blog. It's given me a great deal of support and encouragement, especially as I have only been submitting for a relatively short time. Reading about other people's successes (and disappointments) inspired me to keep going. I also look back over previous posts if I want to refer back to something.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all that you do, Patsy. Understand that managing the Blog is demanding, but very grateful you do. I've not been writing much for a while now, but was spurred on by 3 of the competitions posted here and submitted to them so a big 'Thank You' to you for posting and those who shared the information. Good wishes. Kate Hogan.

Fiona said...

I really enjoy the little writing community that exists round your blog Patsy and appreciate the effort you put in keeping us supplied with photos, news and competitions. My own news is that I’ve had a story rejected by PF - first response to one of my stories in nearly a year - and a promise to read another sent in 2021. Time for cake!

Sheelagh said...

Hi Patsy, first thing I did this morning was check into the blog before I even made a cuppa & was puzzled & disappointed when there was no update, logged in several times over the course of the morning in fact. Then I was out walking for the day so only getting to check in again now. I appreciate that you need a regular response from blog readers to ensure the continued relevance of the blog & personally I love engaging with yourself & the other contributors. In fact without it I'm not sure I would still be writing, for me it's not just a source of information about competitions & guidelines but access to a community of similar type writers to share highs & lows with. I really hope you continue if even once a month. By the way I have a story in Woman's Weekly on the 15th Feb. Did Michael say he had one also in same issue?

Lindsay said...

I read every post, Patsy, and sometimes manage to enter a competition if I'm eligible. I don't always comment, as often I don't have much to say. I recently had yet another rejection from PF (but it came quickly which I much prefer to the endless months of no response.) I did get a small piece published on a literary review website so one publication this year! Your blog is so very appreciated. The carrot cake looks delicious but I daren't attempt it as I'd end up eating most of it.

Sheelagh said...

Yes Patsy those cakes look absolutely delicious, if you need any help with research let me know....

Liz said...

Hi Patsy - I'm going to give my honest take here, and I hope you don't mind. Other people's perspectives will be different, so you may need to take this with a pinch of salt. However, it may be helpful, so I'm going to say it.

This is a great resource, which I've found really useful over the past few years. I always point people towards it if they're interested in writing for the womags. This blog, the People's Friend blogs, and of course reading the mag itself were all equally important when I decided I was going to try to write a story for PF.

Since I started writing for the womags (primarily PF) I've found the blog helpful and reassuring when it's come to things like the ALCS drama a couple of years ago, and whether a 'yes, we want it but you're welcome to sub it somewhere else in case we don't have a slot for it' is really a 'yes' or not from Woman's Weekly.

But what I always found particularly helpful/reassuring were the monthly 'Over to you' posts. If I hadn't heard about any of my submissions for a couple of months or so, it was reassuring to know I wasn't the only one. Similarly, when people started announcing a sudden spate of sales to PF, it was reassuring to realise this meant they were getting through their backlog.

Additionally 'Over to you' kind of gave permission to share this type of info. I know the idea now is that we can all share news about sales, rejections etc on any post, but I personally feel less comfortable doing that - sharing news or lack of news doesn't always seem relevant to the post. Additionally, the non-womag stuff isn't always relevant to me (a lot of the comps are for UK residents only) so I tend to engage less with those posts anyway.

I accept I may be the only person to mourn the loss of 'Over to you' and the info that used to be gleaned from the comments in that. I also should add that I've been engaging less with my favourite blogs, vlogs, podcasts etc since New Year because I've started a new on-site part-time job, and have a fair amount of freelance work on, so time has become a real issue.

I appreciate the work you put into this blog, and would really miss it if it disappeared. I think we all understand it's a lot of work for you and would be happy with fewer posts if that helped you to keep it going.

Unknown said...

Apologies. I don't comment as often as maybe I should. You dova great job

Unknown said...

That was me...Carol

Marguerite said...

I feel Fiona's contribution has got lost in all this ;) Thank you, Fiona. I am one of those - 'I don't do poetry' people... until I think about the silly poems I'm writing, custom-made, for friends and family in their birthday cards... maybe I should lookey-see... :)

Anonymous said...

Just waited 14 months for a rejection from PF. Now they are considering one I sent in March....2021! So patience is definitely needed. Linda Lewis

Anonymous said...

I love your blog Patsy but like some others, don’t always comment. Sometimes it’s just down to frustration as not getting any sales or the silence you get. I have noticed writing stories for woman magazines is getting even more competitive as less opportunity out there (also a lot of talent). I am currently putting together a collection (some previously published but kept the rights) and some that I gave up submitting, so I will see how that goes. Also writing my debut novel as I feel that is the future of woman writing - not short stories. But that’s me, so again thank you for all you do Patsy, it really is appreciated. Charlie.

Sheelagh said...

That's interesting to hear that some writers are still waiting up to 2 years for their submissions to PF to be read. In my innocence I imagined that once you had an assigned editor & now that covid is behind us (fingers crossed) an acceptance or rejection would come within the 12-16 week mentioned in the PFs own online guidance. Although I know there are no guarantees for anyone I still imagine that if I regularly see the same contributors published week after week in the PFs that somehow they are exempt from the rejection process. When writers kindly share info good or bad it gives all writers a sense of perspective about their own acceptance/rejection rate. At the moment I have only 2 stories out there waiting for a decision so if I'm to wait a couple of years I need to get submitting big time. I confess I have been lazy on the editing & submission end. Think a slice of that carrot cake could make all the difference

Susan Wright said...

I'm sorry to hear you're feeling disheartened, Patsy, but I hope all the comments people have made make you feel much more appreciated.
I don't comment very often because I rarely have anything useful to say, but I read your blog all the time and find it very helpful.
It's so interesting to read about other writers' experiences, and I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one having to wait an awful long time to hear about PF subs.
Actually, I'm waiting an awful long time to hear about all subs at the moment, and I'm finding it hard to keep going this year.
It all used to be so much better when there were more magazines publishing fiction, but sadly there's not a lot we can do about that, is there?
Really hope you decide to keep on with the blog, Patsy. Even if you only post once a month.

Patsy said...

Thanks again for your comments, everyone. I'm reading them all and will reply to some in more detail later.

Do you think it would work better to go back to the monthly 'over to you' posts, with the main focus on reporting stuff about the womag market, and a different monthly post more focussed on competition links and other writing news?

Sheelagh said...

Actually Patsy I think that could work very well as I often find myself responding to just one thread of a post & then afterwards reading the update again & finding that I've missed parts of it. & once a month would be fine for 'over to you' even feedback like 'not writing anything ' or 'feeling frustrated' is worthwhile for others to understand that everyone has peaks & troughs & you are not alone

Sharon boothroyd said...

Some of us don't post our success, as it can make others feel inadequate, especially if they are feeling down about a lack of sales.
When I've felt down about it, lots of sales success SM posts from a womag writer, bragging and boasting, does not inspire me or motivate me to get cracking.
In fact, it makes me feel worse!
I have seen new writer's stories in TPF recently, so that has filled me with a bit of hope.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Patsy. Like others, I’m also sorry that you feel a little disheartened. But I think by the the large number of responses here that your blog is very much read and appreciated. I don’t always comment because I don’t always have things to say. But I do always read it and am grateful for the info you provide and also appreciate the comments from other readers.

I feel that my writing is now beginning to take off and that’s down to your blog and the information that’s shared within it. Fiction editors’ email addresses for example, aren’t always printed in the magazines, but they’re shared here.

@Sheelagh. Yes, I do have a story in Woman’s Weekly on 15th Feb - my first with that magazine. (Again, I only learnt who Andrew Shaw was through this blog).

I had two stories rejected by TPF last month. One of them was ‘out with them’ for six days. As all my previous rejections from them have come within 24 hrs or less, I wondered if it had managed to get passed on to Lucy.

I think the ‘Over to You’ slot once a month is ideal. We can go from week to week with no news, but a lot can happen in a month.

Once again, thank you for keeping this blog going, Patsy. And good luck to everyone with their writing.
Michael D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Keep it going - yours is the best site for finding writing competitions. And we just like you as well! So any updates about your writing and life are appreciated.

Maisie Bishop said...

One of the things I value most about this blog is the little community you've created. Writing can be quite an isolating occupation. I would totally understand if you started to post fortnightly. I agree with what some of the other contributers have said - maybe alternate between giving info about competitions (that's really useful) and Over to you, which gives us a chance to exchange experiences, information etc. Thank you for what you do.

Elizabeth McGinty said...

Hi Patsy, I'm sorry you are feeling a bit low at the moment, I hope the toothache issue hasn't caused brought you down. You must do what is the right thing for you in terms of this blog, but as you can see from the replies it is a valuable resource for many people.

I had a rejection from TPF last month which had been subbed in Sept. Currently on my 6th rejection for longer story. Have tried without success to get a response from My Weekly re guidelines for short story, I have had a Pocket Novel published by them previously and believe I may be able to sub to them now, but to date no answer to my email enquiries.

I too have struggled to write these last few months, but I have just returned from a Grief and Grow retreat which was gifted to me and I already feel my writing beginning to reignite.

Hope you enjoyed that lovely cake and get to spend some (as much as is needed) quality time away from the blog.

Eirin Thompson/E.D. Thompson said...

I would like to add my appreciation to all the above, Patsy. I'm not a competition person - at least, not yet - but, like Maisie, I really value the supportive community you have built around this blog. I love hearing everbody's news and views and the vibe is always positive. I very much hope you will feel able to continue with the blog in a manner that does not drain you and soak up too much valuable writing time. Your efforts are much appreciated by me. (And I've bought three of your books as a direct result of finding this website!) Best wishes to you and to all your correspondents.

Anonymous said...

Dear Patsy

I have been trying and failing to get a story in PF for some time and discovered your Blog last August. It opened a whole new world of information for me. I am guilty of not commenting, having never thought I had anything of value to add. But have always felt part of the lovely writing community you have created, and I look forward to your posts.

Thanks to you, I have entered competitions I would never have known existed and even had a go at Haiku! And I have had some success. I learnt last week that I won the Best Valentine’s Fiction competition. To say I am thrilled is an understatement!

As demonstrated by all the comments this week, your hard work in sharing your photos, writing life and information is very much appreciated and enjoyed by many of us, even if we are not all very good at letting you know.

A big thank you to you and all your contributors. I hope you feel able to continue.

Patsy said...

@ Sharon - It seems you're quite right that more than a dozen people read this blog! I really thought that wasn't the case.

I didn't know about the change of editor at WM as I've not read it in quite a while - there never seemed to be much which applied to me. Maybe this will be a change for the better?

@ Alyson – The afternoon went really well as I learned loads, got extra enthusiasm for the story and ate cake!

@ Julie - Yes, I'm also finding it harder to find interesting people and tweets on twitter now. If you've not tried switching from 'for you' to 'following' at the top of the page, give that a go. It helps a bit.

@ Lou and Karen – I'm glad you find it useful. Please do consider sharing some of your submission experiences in future. The more people do that, the more useful the blog will be.

@ Anonymous - I totally understand the submissions going into a black hole feeling and it is indeed extremely disheartening. Good luck if you do try longer story forms.

Patsy said...

I'm replying to comments in batches, as the internet is being a touch flaky and I don't want to type and lose them all!

@ Linda - I didn't eat it all myself - honest!

@ Sharon H - Hi!

@ Debbie – I'd really appreciate if, as well as encouraging people to read the blog you were to suggest they consider leaving comments. This blog could be so much more useful to everyone if we all shared information, rather than it just being a handful of people contributing.

I will continue if people continue to leave comments. Without comments on the blog I will stop posting.

@ Marguerite – Sorry, the cake has all gone. If there was some left I'd send it to you as thanks for your frequent comments.

Patsy said...

@ Carol – Thanks. The sky is blue today and I feel better for it - and possibly for getting my frustration off my chest.

@ Marian – I feel that people sharing their experiences, good and bad, are a very important part of this blog.

@ Kate – It's great to hear that the blog has encouraged you to try the competitions. Good luck with them.

@ Fiona – I too feel there's a bit of a community among those who comment on the blog. Thank you for being part of it.

Sorry about the rejection, and the very long waits! I confess I got so fed up with my stories not being read by TPF I withdrew them. My editor said he totally understood. I'm sure the same would apply if you or anyone else decided to withdraw stories to try them elsewhere.

@ Sheelagh - Sorry for the disappointment. I'm glad now that I did post, even though it's a whinge, and didn't just stop with no explanation. Thank you for your regular contributions, they're very much appreciated.

Congratulations on the publication!

@ Lindsay – Bad luck for the rejection, but as you say that's better than never hearing back.

Well done for the publication!

@ Liz – Thanks for your thoughts. I think you might be right about the Over To You posts and will try those again. It's occurred to me that even if I don't have time to research competitions etc for a post, or can't get online whilst travelling, these would still allow people to share experiences and pass on information.

@ Unknown / Carol - It's good to know people value the blog.

Patsy said...

@ Marguerite – Yes, it has got a bit lost, but I'm grateful for all the responses.

Although I don't usually write poetry I did once win £1,000 in a poetry competition which captured my interest, so I definitely think it's worth you having a go.

@ Linda – Almost two years just to have something read is too long, isn't it? I'm sure it's not intentional and just due to the huge number of submissions, but it's still hugely frustrating.

@ Charlie – I can understand that if you've heard nothing it feels as though you have nothing to contribute, but it all helps build a picture of what's going on and it's reassuring for other writers to realise it's not just us who are apparently being ignored.

Good luck with the novel.

@ Sheelagh – I don't think all writers have experienced these long waits, but it does seem that most of us have.

@ Susan – I think I've already explained why I'm disheartened and why comments are valuable even if people don't have big news. As you say it's interesting, and sometimes reassuring to read other people's experiences. We can only do that if people are willing to share that information.

I will keep the blog going - but only if readers continue to leave comments and so make it far more useful than it would be if there was nothing but whatever I post.

Patsy said...

@ Sheelagh – Yes, absolutely!

@ Sharon – I definitely don't want to make anyone feel inadequate - quite the opposite. And I do understand that seeing lots of posts announcing success can be demoralising, especially to people who've just had rejections, or haven't even had a reply. And yes, some social media posts do sometimes feel like the person is bragging rather than sharing news.

However I don't think people who post successes here are bragging as I've asked them to share their news. I do feel it can be helpful to know which magazines are buying stories, especially if the fortunate writer can share information on which lengths are being accepted, how long the waiting times are, what season they're buying for and things like that.

Personally I find it encouraging to know that stories are being bought and published, competitions are being won, writers are getting publishing deals etc. And I'm delighted when I learn someone has been placed in a competition or had any kind of success which came about from something posted on this blog. I don't get as much of my own good news as I'd like, so it's nice to share in other people's.

Yes, TPF do still welcome submissions from new (or new to them) writers. Good luck with your submissions there - and everywhere else you send work.

@ Michael – I will be starting the Over To You posts again – and look forward to hearing some of your news.

Patsy said...

@ Alex - Aaaw, thanks.

@ Maisie – That's pretty much what I've decided on. I'm going to do two posts a month (I think it will be easier for me, and others, to keep track if it's the 1st and 3rd Saturdays, rather than alternate.) Hopefully that will work. As Micael pointed out, longer intervals will mean it's more likely that people have news to share.

@ Elizabeth – Thanks. The tooth problem turned out to be a gum problem. I was warned it would take a while to settle down, but it is a lot better than it was. Yeah, maybe that's effected my mood more than I realised.

My Weekly only accept submissions from writers already on their list, which probably explains why they've not responded about the guidelines.

I'm pleased the retreat has rekindled your enthusiasm for writing.

@ Eirin – Thank you for being part of that positive vibe (and for buying the books!)

@ HB – Oooh, congratulations on the Best win!

Hearing that people are encouraged by this blog, whether they have success or not, makes it feel worthwhile. It's also good to know which types of competitions people enter and which markets they submit to, as it helps when I'm searching for information to share to know what will be useful.

Liz said...

That's great news that Over To You is back, Patsy.

I don't have very much out on submission at the moment - just 2 short stories (one from 2 years ago) and a serial proposal. I need to remedy that soon!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Patsy
Your commitment to replying to everyone is impressive and much appreciated.

Maisie Bishop said...

And thanks for the link to the carrot cake recipe. I'm not usually a great baker, but I decided to bake this for my husband's birthday this week. Delicious!

Sarah C said...

Hi Patsy, I am yet another writer who regularly visits this blog and enjoys reading your posts and comments. I wanted to say thanks for all you do. I am glad that people have responded to you and let you know that your blog is appreciated. Thanks also to all contributors. I will try to share news when I have some!

ados123 said...

Loving seeing how many comments you got to this post, Patsy! It is loved...

Sheelagh said...

Agree Alyson & would be so missed as the great resource it is if discontinued

Anonymous said...

I hope you continue with your blog Patsy. I take a look when I get time and find it informative and very inspirational.
Hopefully when I retire (in next year or two) I can use your useful information to good use to further my writing.
In the meantime there is a Welsh Poetry Competition I saw in my local library with 3 good cash prizes see for further details.
Keep up the good work!

Helen Lowry said...

I too look when I get the chance. I find the blog very useful and I'm a big fan. The guidelines are very helpful.

Jules Jones said...

I only read the the blog intermittently (as witness the late comment) because health problems mean I haven't written at all for a few years. I don't comment because I may not read something until weeks afterwards. But I really appreciate the blog being here; it helps to remind me that there are markets I'd like to write for when I can write again.

Patsy said...

@ Liz - Good luck with the serial proposal.

@ HB – It's not too bad when I'm at home. I might not be able to do it when we're away in the van.

@ Maisie – I'm so pleased you enjoyed it.

@ Sarah – I look forward to hearing from you.

@ Alyson & Sheelagh – I'm delighted people find it interesting enough to feel it deserves the time taken to leave a comment.

@ PJH - Thanks for the link. The blog will continue as long as people keep sharing info and encouragement via the comments.

@ Helen – I'm pleased it's helpful.

@ Jules – It's good to know opportunities exist, even if we can't always take advantage of them.