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.


Elizabeth McGinty said...

Thank you Patsy and Sharon, for all your hard work, it's very much appreciated.

Lots of information to work through and double check against my own wee guideline spreadsheet to ensure I'm up to date. I had forgotten about the Yours synopsis, so thank you for that reminder. It's also good to know that other writers experience unanswered emails or long waits etc and it's not just you.

Looking forward to trying some of the comps too.

Thanks again ladies, and best wishes to all on some happy, successful writing.

Bubble said...

Brilliant resource. Thank you Sharon and Patsy.


marialynch said...

Thanks, Patsy, for all this information. It's appreciated.

Chris Sutton said...

Thanks Sharon, it's good to get these reminders. I hadn't realised that stories could be subbed to WW Best Of without getting the editor's okay first. Up to now I've been sending outlines of stories that I've already written, but if it is okay to send the completed story, I'll give that a go. Worth knowing.

Anonymous said...

Tgis is really helpful to me, Patsy. Thank you so much.

Marian said...

Thank you so much for all this Patsy and Sharon. Giving your time and efforts like this is very generous and very much appreciated.

Claire G said...

This is brilliant thank you both for the detail, really informative and I can't wait to get started once I have recovered.

Diane said...

Thanks to Sharon and to Patsy. This is a great update and very useful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Patsy and Sharon for the competitions and updates.
Much appreciated.

Marguerite said...

I think that will keep us all busy for a while! Thank you Patsy and Sharon. Spot the rock - third rock (not from the sun) - Mottistone - a lovely walk at bluebell time :) or any, for that matter.

Fiona said...

Thank you Patsy and Sharon- very helpful info and much appreciated.

Maisie Bishop said...

Many thanks, Patsy and Sharon, for all this useful information.

Jacqui Cooper said...

Thanks Patsy and Sharon. It's easy to focus on the closing markets and forget there are still many opportunities out there.

Helen Lowry said...

All very useful. Many thanks for all this!

Sheelagh said...

Great information. Thanks Patsy & Sharon. Plenty to get stuck into

Natasha Fordyce said...

Thank you so much for this- Patsy and Sharon, much appreciated! 😊

ados123 said...

Thank you, Patsy, for putting all this together.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the useful info, Sharon - and to Patsy for keeping the blog going.

Dorinda said...

Super helpful. Thank you Patsy and Sharon.

Lexi :-) said...

Thanks for the round up Sharon and Patsy. Very useful!
Sorry to hear about the mix up crediting the story to the wrong author, Patsy.
Best wishes to everyone with their submissions!

Sharon boothroyd said...

Good luck everyone with your story submissions. But bear in mind that Yours fiction mag may close later this year. The ed says please re- sub in Jan 2024, but an announcement could be made public before then.
Many thanks Pasty for posting my list and for keeping the blog going.
many thanks for all the comp/ project news.
I forgot to say that I had 2 stories accepted and published in Crowvus mag, which I found on here.
It's non- paying but it was fab to finally find homes for stories I'd had a while and they were vey nicely illustrated.
I've also tried my luck with Postbox mag, which I also saw on here. Results are given later in the year.

Marguerite said...

Pleased to hear about Crowvus, Sharon! I have just entered their (paid) comp for this year with two - crossing me fingers!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to both Patsy and Sharon for the info. As always it’s very much appreciated. It would be a shame to see Yours Fiction go. (I had my first acceptance with them). Fingers crossed it stays open. They published a Christmas story of mine on their website last year after Sharon Reid told me she didn’t have space in the magazine, but agreed to keep it on file for Christmas 2023. (That’ll not happen now, unfortunately).
Will have to look over the competitions and might give Ireland’s Own a go.

Good luck to everyone in their submissions.

Michael Donoghue

Sharon boothroyd said...

That's odd Michael, because I was also told that a Xmas story was going on the website, but she couldn't get hold of the website team -so it didn't appear!
Hmm... I wonder if my story was dropped for your story instead?
The regular Yours will feature more fiction in some, selected bumper issues, so maybe the stories meant for the Yours fiction special will be considered for those issues instead.
I'm not withdrawing my submitted stories, anyway!

Anonymous said...

Sharon, I didn’t actually see my story on the Yours website as I’m not a subscriber. Perhaps it didn’t appear either? Sharon Reid did say she’d been given the opportunity to publish two stories on there. Hopefully, the regular Yours magazine will publish several bumper editions and some stories will cross over. I do have a story that was accepted for their 2024 year book, due out in September, which I think might have been passed over. I don’t plan on withdrawing the few stories I have ‘out’ with Yours just yet, though.

Michael Donoghue

Anonymous said...


Wow, we're going to be kept very busy with this lovely lot. Many thanks Patsy and Sharon. Much appreciated.

Carrie said...

Some great comps and a succinct list - thanks so much Patsy and Sharon B.

Sharon boothroyd said...

Ah right. I didn't realise you had to be a subscriber, Michael to access certain parts of the site. That wasn't explained to me.
I just kept clicking on the normal Yours website, hoping it was there! But it wasn't.

Jenny Worstall said...

Thanks, Patsy! The first competition you mention is only open to unpublished short story writers. Sounds like a great opportunity for a new writer, though! Best of luck to everyone submitting to all these opportunities this month. Jenny Worstall

Patsy said...

Thanks for your comments everyone.

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.

Laura said...

Just come across this, really useful info, thanks for putting it together!! Feeling inspired to try my first story aimed at a womag now!