Saturday 17 June 2023

Over To You

 Do you have any womag news?

Any market news? Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Still waiting to hear back on outstanding submissions? Do you have a question? Can you offer tips or encouragement to other writers?

Any other writing related news, questions and comments are also welcome.

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

Calls for submissions

Fanatical are looking for "unpublished sci-fi, fantasy and horror stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words." They pay £20. That doesn't seem a lot for the amount of work involved!

Free entry competition news

On the Premises are running another competition. This time there's a picture prompt (see that and other rules by clicking on 'guidelines'. The prize is $250

Thanks to Sheelagh for mentioning a different competition to me. I'm not posting a link, as it had a $75 entry fee – something we both initially missed. Has anyone seen a higher entry fee, and would you consider paying that amount?

Womag/competition news

Thanks to Sharon Boothroyd for this – The regular Yours mag have launched a short story story comp. Details are in the mag. 
Max 850 words, and it's an open theme and genre. 
Closing date, July 3rd and it's free to enter. 
The only drawback is that they take the rights to all entries. So you lose the rights to your story just by entering.

I hate the way some competitions become rights grabs in this way. There's no need for it – they don't take all our rights when they publish stories they buy from us, so why would they want them for failed competition entries?

My news

I've had a reply about my story which was accidentally credited to the wrong person in TAB's Fiction Feast. No one at the magazine has responded, but ALCS have agreed I can still claim through them in the normal way.

Edits on my cosy mystery novel, Disguised Murder In Little Mallow, are going well, and I have a new short story collection out. Days To Remember is available as an ebook, paperback or to be read through kindle unlimited. As I hope the title suggests, the 24 stories are about special days in the lives of the characters. (The first story is set in the same location as the novel I'm working on.)

A reminder – I regularly post on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month but, as you may have seen from my last post, I'll add in extras if something interesting, important or urgent pops up in between (and I'm able to get it uploaded.) Any guests posts would also go between those dates. When I know an extra post is coming up, I'll try to let you know on the previous one.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. As well as allowing us all to share information, help and encourage each other, comments also show editors, competition organisers and others that the blog is read and will therefore be more likely to provide information for me to share with you.

The next scheduled post is 1st July.

Thursday 8 June 2023

The People's Friend - update from the fiction editor

After my last post, which included lots of info on submitting to various womags, kindly created by Sharon Boothroyd, I had an email from Lucy Crichton - fiction editor at The People's Friend - with more info. I'd have posted it sooner, but I've been on my travels - Yes, AGAIN! (photos from a little stroll we took.)

Lucy says – 

*First-time authors - payment is £80 for a first acceptance. Payment rises to £95 on a seventh acceptance. After six payments of £95, payment then rises to our top rate of £110 per story.
*Our guidelines are being refreshed and are not currently available online. They will be posted in due course. 
*Regarding word count, we work to set templates. Information available here -

*People's Friend" Pocket Novel word count is between 37,000 and 39,000 words per novel.
*Finally, copyright remains with the author at all times.
Hope that's all helpful, and thanks so much.

Yes, Lucy - that's very helpful! Thank you.

There's often useful info on Lucy's blog too – That's a good place to check which particular lengths or types of stories are currently most in demand.

You can also follow TheFriendMag on twitter and take part in the weekly writing hour (Tuesday mornings) and/or follow Womagwriter for various writing related stuff.

When the new TPF guidelines go live, I'll post a link

The next planned post is Saturday 17th June.

Saturday 3 June 2023

Loads of womag info and a few free writing competitions

Unless you're new to the blog (if you are hello and welcome), you were probably expecting to see loads of photos from my recent trip. You probably will eventually, but I'm still not caught up with everything. I think there's enough info in the blog for you to forgive me fobbing you off with a pile of rocks - even if the larger part of it was kindly written by a writing buddy.

Free to enter writing competitions

This short story competition offers a £1,500 prize.

If you know anything about the Czech and/or Slovak republics, this competition could be for you. The prize is $400.

And if you know about contemporary art but haven't written a lot about it, you could be in with a chance of winning £1,000 here.

Thanks to Fiona for sending the link to this free to enter poetry competition with a £70 prize fund.

Thanks to Sharon for the link to this halloween competition. You have 2,500 words and until the end of August to come up with a spooky tale and be in with a chance of winning the £20 prize.

There's a wide range of prizes on offer there. Those with the lower amounts on offer might well attract fewer entries, but don't be put off trying those with larger prizes because you think you'll have no chance - someone really will win, and if you can write what they want, it might well be you.

Other submission opportunities

Here's a call for submissions of short stories and essays. They pay £110 per accepted piece.

Womag news

Massive thanks to Sharon Boothroyd for the following very detailed and comprehensive information – 

Womag wonders

A lot of aspiring writers say there's no point trying to break into the womag market, as there's too many closed lists.

There's only three magazines I know that hold a closed list. 

These are My Weekly, Take a Break's Fiction Feast and Best. TAB also publish a new story in their monthly special. 

Stories from FF are sometimes re- printed in their monthly Fate & Fortune mag – writers aren't paid for these. A short story also appears in the monthly and seasonal specials of That's life! mag. (UK version). I think it's the same situation there.

Also, published stories are re- printed in That's life! the Australia weekly magazine.

Here's my list of paying magazines that hold an open list:

Ireland's Own Max length: 2, 300 words.

They haven't issued any actual guidelines, but from my experience they like the kind of story The Weekly News used to accept. They quite like ghost stories scams and twists, too. 

They publish various seasonal specials and hold an annual short story competition - it's around £7 to enter. They also publish children's fiction and pay for this.

Pay: around £40 - £50

They don't give out rejects, so after 4 months, assume it's a no. If your work appears, they send a complimentary copy of the magazine via snail mail.

Woman's Weekly
 800 words & 1, 700/ 1, 800 words. 

Take all rights. Stories are now being re- published in Woman mag (Writers don't receive any more for this). 

A 4 month wait for a decision. If you don't hear, it's a no.

Pay: It varies. The lowest fee that I know of is £75.

Monthly 'Best of WW fiction' magazine  
750 & 1, 500 words

The fiction ed requires pitches for unwritten stories, but if the story is already written, it's ok to send it in. Needs chasing for decisions.

While most stories are re- prints, it's good to see that fresh material is being included, and more womag writers have been added to their list. 

Pay: £75 for a 750 story and £150 for a 1, 500 story.

They take all rights.

The People's Friend and their special - various lengths from 1,000 to 9, 000. They have introduced a '5 stories submission' rule for some of their published fiction writers.

Fiction guidelines are available on their website:

They have an email submissions system for their unpublished story writers.

They also publish poetry in their mags, plus poetry and fiction in their yearly fireside and friendship books.

Pay: £80 for a newbie writer but this is raised after so many sales (I think it's 7) eventually reaching £110. £15 per poem. 

(From Patsy – Lucy Crichton, fiction editor at The People's Friend, has sent me an update with more information. I'm currently travelling, but will post it as soon as I can.)

The regular Yours – 950 words. 

Pay: £100.

They also publish poetry in their letters page, which is a paid slot.

They publish an annual year book and need stories and poetry for this. Payment for accepted poetry is now a £10 cheque.

Yours only give out rejects, but from experience, a yes arrives within 3/ 4 months. Same with the Yours special.

The Yours fiction special 450 – 2, 700 words

They sub- head their fiction slots which helps us aim for a particular theme.

Both magazines require a short synopsis of the story.

Guidelines for the magazines can be found here:

Pay: It varies from £25 upwards, depending on how many pages your story takes up.

The August issue is the last one for this year and after that,the future of the mag is uncertain - that's from the ed. So no dec one with xmas stories in.

Woman's World, USA
 - take all rights.

Fiction guidelines are available on request. 

They publish a 700 word 'solve- it yourself' detective murder mystery. They like a main detective and an aide. No gory violence.

At the end, your story should include the brief solution (In other words, who committed the murder and why). 

This solution is featured at the foot of the story page. 

These are quite difficult to write, especially in such a short story! I know womag writers who have attempted these detective mysteries, and subbed, but they weren't successful. But they managed to length their stories and sell them to UK mags.

They also publish an 800 word cosy romance. 

They have an active private FB group that focuses on fiction, and the fiction ed regularly posts call- outs for what they require. Search on facebook for 'WW writers'.

Pay: Again, it varies but it's about £250 – £500 (It could be more, depending on the exchange rate). 

I know 2 lucky womag writers who have sold their romances here. They were over the moon. The fee was around £500, but they haven't managed to repeat their success. 

Bear in mind that some published stories are discussed at length in the Woman's World U.S writer's websites. That's not something I'd relish!

Your Cat 
monthly magazine

No guidelines as such but from experience, I'd recommend that your story features some form of cat care. A 3/4 month wait for a decision, but the ed needs chasing.

Max 1, 500 words

Pay £100

Spirit & Destiny monthly magazine SADLY, THIS CLOSED IN APRIL 2023

Max 1, 500 words.

Pay: I recall it was around £100/ £150

They took all rights. Be aware that a newbie could be bombarded with a lot of unnecessary forms to fill in. This also happened to a new writer at TABFF in 2022. 

I refused and fought my corner to be paid. I didn't write for them because of that reason.

Best magazine run an ongoing themed short story competition. It's free to enter and the writer keeps their rights. 

£500 is awarded to the first place winner and £200 is given to the two runner- ups. Womag writers have won this competition and have clinched runner- up status too, so it's worth a go.

NOTE: They regularly publish fiction but have a closed list. I'm an experienced womag writer and I can't get on it. I've tried several times, all with different stories but I've had no luck.

run an ongoing 800 words monthly short story competition. 

It's free to enter. The prize is £100. 

But be warned - they take all rights to all entries in their competition, so even by entering, you lose the copyright to your own short story.

Plus, there's the pocket novel market for longer fiction. (Up to 50,00 words). 

The two titles are from My Weekly and The People's Friend (37-39,000 words).

Anyone can submit a pocket novel for either title. If a MW one is accepted, you will be able to join the closed MW story writer's list. 

However, I've heard of people who've had a PN accepted, and asked to be included on the MW list, but not received a reply.

The best way to learn how to crack it is to read and study the short stories in the magazines you want to write for. 

I know this isn't always possible with the overseas magazines, but if you become involved with a womag writing community in some way, you'll find others are often prepared to help.

Good luck!

This is greatly appreciated, Sharon, especially as I've not had time to update my submissions database lately. I will as soon as I get the chance, and will use this to help.

I've had some relatively swift responses from The People's Friend for stories I withdrew after they'd been waiting a loooong time and then resubmitted. Writing friends are reporting the same thing, but not hearing back on those submitted last year, or the year before. In some cases when they've queried they've discovered the stories have got lost in the system. However it does seem that the backlog is reducing and things are improving.

There was a mix up at TABFF with one of my stories being credited to another author. I blogged about it on my website. It's the first time something like that has happened to me - and hopefully the last. TAB haven't yet responded to my email, but it's only just happened. I'm sure they will in time, and they'll pay the right author. Unfortunately I'll probably miss out on the ALCS payment, but I'll make enquiries.

Friday 2 June 2023

Magazines submissions database

My magazine submission database is a page on this blog and it can be found via the link under the header image or by clicking just HERE.