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