Tuesday, 22 August 2017

An alternative?

OK, so this is just a one off, but books and the city and heat magazine want to "find and publish an exciting new women’s fiction short story writer". They're doing that via this free to enter short story competition.

Thanks to Maria Smith for pointing out this might well be of interest to womagwriters.

If you're interested in trying more writing competitions, do take a look at my other blog; I regularly post links to free to enter contests for all forms and genres of writing.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Another Woman's Weekly update!

I've recieved the following email from Danni Dawson, the new fiction editor of Woman's Weekly and am copying it here with her permission.


Apologies for the round robin.  I am writing to introduce myself and to say that I am very much looking forward to working with you. 

I will try to respond to everyone who has emailed me individually as well.  As you can imagine, I'm snowed under with emails at the moment but I am hoping I can clarify a few points here. 

Although this is a period of huge change, Woman's Weekly and the kind of fiction required has not changed. With your help, we will continue to publish the same brilliant fiction we have always been known for.

The guidelines will stay the same. We still need exactly the same kind of stories for Woman's Weekly, i.e:  

1000 and 2000 for the main magazine. Plus serials.

Longer stories for the FS. I am currently short on longer stories, around the 5000 mark, but need all other lengths too.  Varying subjects and themes. Longer crime would be good.

Family stories, relationship stories, crime, humour, romance, period, etc, for both titles.

At the moment, I can only accept submissions via email to this address from our regular contributors, which includes you - as you are receiving this email. 

However, it is very likely that I may have missed some people. I'm happy for you to forward this to anyone who is a regular contributor, or who has been in the past.  I have been associated with the magazine for a long time (in the background), so hopefully will recognise them.

Finally, we are NOT closing the doors to new writers indefinitely.  I just need to get on top of things first.   In future, I anticipate that I will be open for submissions from Regular Contributors ALL the time and open to submissions from ALL writers SOME of the time. I can announce when this is happening on our guidelines, or on social media such as Womag. 

If you have emailed me individually, I will get back to you.  Please bear with me!

Many thanks and my very best wishes.


Thursday, 17 August 2017

A message from Clare at Woman's Weekly

I've just been asked, by Clare at Woman's Weekly, to post this message here ...

'In light of the restructuring at Woman's Weekly, it has been decided to suspend the acceptance of unsolicited stories for the time being.  We hope to reinstate them at some point in the future.

Any that have already arrived in this office or that are in transit will be returned to the sender with a note saying the above.

We thank everyone for their interest and wish them good luck with their writing.

Many thanks, Patsy.

Best wishes.

Clare X'

UPDATE Clare has sent a clarification ... 

'When we say "unsolicited" we mean the people whose stories we haven't published before, not our regular writers.'

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask them here and I will do my best to get you answers.

Please don't contact me directly about this (I'm so swamped with queries I'm feeling very sympathetic towards fiction editors!) – I will pass on anything I learn via this blog.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Changes at Woman's Weekly

There's a big, and sudden, change at Woman's Weekly. The entire fiction team of Gaynor Davies, Clare Cooper and Maureen Street are leaving this Friday. I know I'm not alone in being very sorry to hear this and in wishing them well for whatever they do in the future. I'll miss working with them.

An email to 'regular writers' states that 'After 18th August, the person to send your stories to is Danni Dawson'. There's a new email address for those who currently submit by email. If you submit by post, then address them to Danni Dawson at 
Fiction Department
Woman’s Weekly
Time Inc (UK)
161 Marsh Wall
E14 9AP 

I do hope that will be the end of the changes - it might not be.

Friday, 11 August 2017

A vicious circle?

I'm currently away from home (please excuse a holiday picture with only a tenuos link to the subject!). As I believe I have a story in Woman's Weekly Fiction Special, I've been looking in newsagent's and shops in the hope of seeing a copy. No luck - nor for Take A Break's Fiction Feast.

The problem of getting hold of the magazine is what prompted me to subscribe, but I travel a lot, so often don't see them until weeks after publication date. It seems it's that, or not see them at all.

Are these magazines not popular enough for shops to stock them, or are the general public unaware that the magazines offer monthly fiction specials?

If you read any magazines containing fiction, how do you get hold of your copies?

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Fenland Reed

Thanks to Susan Jones for telling me about The Fenland Reed, who are open to submissions of short stories and poetry, as well as photographs. (I'm unsure what, if anything, they pay.)

I've not been to the Fens, so here are some more pictures from my current trip.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A tough life ...

Sorry the blog is a bit quiet at the moment. That's partly because there isn't much womag news, but mostly because I'm in the Outer Hebrides, working on the edits for my novel Leave Nothing But Footprints. OK, I have taken *some* time off to sightsee, but I have been working too – honest.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Free ebook

My short story collection, Up The Garden Path, is currently free as the final part of Alfie Dog Fiction's fifth birthday celebrations. This offer runs 12th to 16th of July.

Get it here.

If you download and enjoy it, I'd really appreciate it if you left a review on Amazon.

Thursday, 6 July 2017


I've found this link, which shows you how to obtain the ISSN for any magazine. As I'm currently travelling, that's the best I can do for now – but actually it's probably better than a list, which I might misstype and which will undoubtedly soon become out of date.

Many, but not all, magazines also give the ISSN on the first or large page along with things such as their registered address and copyright information. (You'll need to look at a copy to check the title your story was published under.)

If you're wondering what an ISSN is, or why you'd need one, take a look at these posts.

As I don't have a womag with me to illustrate this pst, I'm using a few pictures from our trip. If you'd like to see more, take a look at my other blog, or on Facebook.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


It's been suggested that I include a list of magazine ISSNs to refer to when adding work to ALCS; would you find that useful?

As I'm still away in the van, it will take me a while to sort this out – unless some of you can help out by adding some details in the comments. I could later transfer those to a separate page/post.

If you have no idea what I'm going on about, you might want to take a look here and here. If you've sold work (fiction or non-fiction) to UK magazines within the last three years, it's worth your while to put in a claim.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Slight change at Allas

There's a change to the postal address to use for invoicing Swedish magazine Allas. It is given on the acceptance email, but if like me you have a template set up, it's easy to miss things like that. Or perhaps I can blame the beautiful, but very warm 6 mile walk I'd taken along the white cliffs of Dover just prior to opening my emails? 

The new address is - 

Aller Media AB
Allas / Lotta Gustavsson
FE 5006
838 77 Frösön

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Woman's Weekly update

Woman's Weekly are particularly interested in seeing more one and two page stories for the weekly magazine, and longer stories of 2,500 to 8,000 for the fiction special.

Most themes are welcome, except for weddings, as they have enough of those for now.

Full guidelines can be found here. (Note there's a new(ish) address.)

My story in the current (July) fiction special is about a rugby coach.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

No choice

I've released a new collection of short stories. Can't Choose Your Family is a collection of 25 family themed short stories. 

The usual price will be £6.60 ($9) for the paperback and £1.99 ($2.99) for the ebook, but for this week the kindle version is available at 99p (99c).

Monday, 22 May 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Shane Telford

Today's guest is Shane Telford.

Imagine my excitement when I accidentally discovered a new market for short stories while aimlessly flicking through my Readly app the other night.

Woman’s Way is a weekly publication in Ireland, aimed at women thirty and beyond. I’ve noticed it on shelves before but it was never really on my radar. Once my finger slipped and I’d downloaded the most recent issue onto my phone I decided to go for a bit of a snoop, to pass the time if nothing else. And there it was on the content’s page, ‘Reader’s Fiction’.

I skipped to page forty-one, eager for a read and found a rather cute story about dating in your fifties, the kind of story I’ve read and written in the past. Then I investigated further and discovered that their fondness for a short story was only recent; it had become a regular feature two weeks prior.

So far, so good. I decided to get in contact with the editor and enquire about their fiction guidelines, asking about word count, theme and pay rate.

The editor replied rather promptly, another plus I thought, and sent me a detailed list of guidelines. But before I could begin plotting my first submission to the magazine, I saw a sentence that made my heart sink. ‘We are not currently in a position to pay.’

And just like that, any excitement I had about this new market dissipated until all I was left with was anger and disappointment. I flicked through the pages again and noticed that the magazine were willing to pay for reader’s letters, but when it came to eight hundred words of fiction their purse-strings were tightly pulled and knotted.

That got me thinking: Why is our writing so often treated as second-class, unworthy of payment? In an ever-shrinking market, where it’s becoming harder and harder to sell a story, why do some publications think it’s okay to ask us to just give away our work and be content with a pat on the back?

I suppose the answer is because some people will sell a story and be completely okay with the thrill of publication as the only payment. But that doesn’t help those of us who use our hard-earned writing money to pay the bills. If anything it’s a hindrance.

So, what is the answer? I wish I knew that for certain. I just know that I could never support a publication that takes my work for granted, considers my writing just a hobby, and expects me to fill their pages free of charge. Instead I’ll spend my time and money on those magazines that offer more than just an opportunity to see my name in print. The Womag market isn’t at its healthiest but I think it’s important for us all to appreciate that there are still magazines out there willing to give our work the respect it deserves and pay us what we’re owed. They are the magazines we should be supporting, in whichever way we can, whether it be by subscribing every month or submitting our best work.