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.


Hello.

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.

Danni

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
London
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

ISSNs for ALCS

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

ISSNs

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.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Patsy's periodic prompt

Here's a picture you might like to use as a story prompt - if you use it and sell the story, please do let me know!

I'm rather proud of this photo, so this is really just an excuse to show it off to those who missed it on Twitter.  Generally when something like this happens under my nose, I'm so busy watching, I forget to use the camera.

Do you think you might write about seals? Or have you done so already? (I have in my novel Firestarter.)

Any idea what type of fish that is?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Happy Birthday, Alfie!

Alfie Dog Fiction is five years old today!

I know it's a cliché to say so, but it really doesn't seem that long since the first of my stories was published there. It must be though, as I was Alfie Dog's very first author.

As part of the celebrations, there will be special features, reduced price stories and even free books. Keep checking the website and social media, so you don't miss out.

(Picture is Alfie himself, with Rosemary J Kind - Alfie Dog Fiction's editor.)

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Any questions?

I'm spring cleaning the blog and have removed some sections which weren't being used, or didn't seem helpful. One of these was the questions page. Lately people have been posting questions about a particular magazine as comments on posts which feature its guidelines. This seems to work well, so please keep doing that.

If you have a question which isn't specific to a particular magazine, please either ask here or on my latest post (not guest posts please unless the question is for the guest poster, or specific to their post.)

Please post all questions on the blog - that way I will see them. If you email or ask via Facebook there's a chance I'll miss them, plus it's quicker and easier for me to reply here, and the information will then be available to more people.

Anyone is welcome to reply to any questions or comments - I don't know all the answers, but between us, we probably do!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

People's Friend Pocket Novels - latest guidelines.

I posted the My Weekly pocket novel guidelines yesterday.

For People's Friend, the word count is shorter - and of course there are style differences too.

I'm not absolutely sure about the pay rate, but believe they're similar for both.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

My Weekly Pocket Novels - new guidelines

Here are the latest guidelines for My Weekly pocket novels.

Unlike with the short stories, you don't need to have been previously published by My Weekly to submit a pocket novel.

If a pocket novel is accepted, the author will then be able to submit short stories to My Weekly.


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Keith Havers

My guest today is womagwriter and novelist, Keith Havers


Always On The Lookout

I had the pleasure of meeting Patsy a few weeks ago and an off-the-cuff comment by me over the coffee and biscuits is the basis of this post.

I happened to remark that, as an almost full-time writer, I consider myself to be at work during all my waking hours. By that I don't mean that I'm constantly writing or that my mind is consciously working on stories, but I am always on the lookout for ideas and inspiration.

I think this stemmed from a few years ago when I had just begun sending off short stories to competitions and magazines with very little success. My wife and I were walking along the seafront at some English resort and watching the activity on the beach. It was a cold day and there weren't many people about but my wife challenged me to concoct a story based around some of the things going on. I actually managed to come up with two stories, one of which was eventually published.

From then on I was constantly aware that there are story ideas all around and almost anything can be used as a basis for fiction. It has now become second nature for me to latch on to an overheard conversation, an unusual event or a news item on TV and begin to turn things over in my mind.


Since then I have had published stories based on TV shows, family life, national events and many more. Since becoming a writer I've become more observant and a bit of an eavesdropper but it has paid off.

You can find my blog here.

Keith has recently self-published Youthtopia, a children's adventure story aimed at 11 to 13 year olds. It features seven youngsters from diverse backgrounds who have to work together to outwit a criminal mastermind.

A sequel is in process.

Are you like Keith, always on the lookout for story ideas, or do you switch off from your writing when you're away from your desk?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Tracey Walsh

I'm joined today by womagwriter and pocket novelist, Tracey Walsh.

This week's #writingchat (Wednesdays 8pm-9pm on Twitter) was on the subject of Writing Tips. I was slightly off subject when I tweeted:

Bought PF mag today. Showed shop assistant my story. Her response: "You wrote it? Why did you do that?" Discuss! #writingchat

It had been niggling me all day. Whenever I've had a story published before I've had overwhelmingly positive comments. The only other odd comments were things like:

"Do you make them up in your head?"

And:

"They pay you?!"

But the lady in Tesco really took the wind out of my sails. The next day I nearly headed to another shop for the morning papers but I decided to be brave. After serving me the (same) sales assistant asked, "Did you show your story to anyone else?" 

So, come on folks. Share some of the interesting comments you've had about your stories.

Monday, 17 April 2017

New address for The People's Friend

As of today, anything posted to The People's Friend should be sent to 2 Albert Square, Dundee, DD1 1DD (That's not too hard to remember, is it?)

All other submission details are unchanged.

UPDATE Those who already have an editor at PF might have been given a different postcode. If so, they should use that. This address is for those who've not yet been assigned an editor there.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Taking a break?

Good Friday is a traditional time for gardening and the weather is lovely, so that's mainly what I'll be doing this Easter.

These pictures are all from my garden. Can you guess which is my current favourite flower and see why so many of my stories feature plants?





How about you - will you be gardening, writing, or doing something else this long weekend?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Plots, plans and pals

There haven't been many posts lately, but I have managed to come up with an excuse perfectly valid reasons for this. Firstly there doesn't seem to be a great deal of womag news about (if you have any to share, particularly good news, please get in touch).

Secondly I've been out in the campervan (aka mobile writing retreat) meeting writing friends and making plans. At the end of March I met up with Anne Rainbow (we're considering running a residential writing course next spring).

Then more recently pocket novelist Susan Jane Jones popped into the van for a quick cuppa and long(ish) chat about (amongst other things) our current novels in progress.

On the same trip I visited Alfie Dog editor (and co-author of From Story Idea to ReaderRosemary J Kind. We have an idea for another writing book - if we can fit it in around our other projects.

Then it was off to Nottingham where I met up with Keith Havers, Linda Sprott, Maria Smith and Carol Bevitt.

It was a gloriously sunny day and we'd been on a walk around the lakes, so we really did need to sit in the shade and eat ice creams, even though we'd started off in the cafe. (If you want to see the 'informal' group photo, take part in tomorrow's #writingchat.)

Is that too much name dropping for one post?Not quite I don't think ...

My last meeting was with People's Friend author Enid Reece. Niddy and I have known each other online since we both started writing but this is the first time we've met for real.

We chatted over a cup of tea and hardly any cake, before going for a walk.


It was lovely to meet up with so many writing friends and I'm now full of enthusiasm for my current, and future, writing projects. Thank you all for your company and inspiration.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Any luck?

I have a story in the current (May!) issue of Woman's Weekly Fiction Special - and I'm delighted to be issue buddies with several of my writing friends.

My story is about a lucky red pen. One of those wouldn't help me as I do nearly all my writing straight onto the laptop, but when I submitted work by post, I tried to use lucky postboxes to drop them into. Sometimes it worked!

Do you have anything which you consider lucky or helpful when it comes to your writing?

Monday, 20 March 2017

Changes at The People's Friend

The People's Friend staff will soon be moving offices. For now, continue to send submissions to 80 Kingsway East, Dundee 8SL.

The editor, Shirley Blair, mentions on her blog that writers may have to wait a little longer than usual to get replies and asks that they 'bear with us' for a time.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Every Day Fiction

Every Day Fiction is a paying fiction market. Don't get too excited – it's only a token payment of $3.

Regularly published writers have probably lost interest by now. Those who're newer to submitting might feel that having someone so keen to publish your story they're willing to pay, is worth more than the sum involved.

For those who are still with me, stories may be any length, up to 1,000 words and of any genre. If you have a piece which you'd love to see published, but which doesn't fit into the womag market, this could be a good place to try it. There's also a reasonable chance you'll get useful feedback on your work and, if published, there's an opportunity to promote your blog or even books. Either of those could be valuable.


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Two years!

It's now two years since I took over the Womagwriter blog.

If I'd realised in time there would have been cake, but someone ate it. Here are some flowers instead. They're biennial wallflowers, which sort of makes them sound appropriate if you don't think about it for too long.

Under the circumstances, I hope you'll forgive a plug for this rather excellent guide to writing fiction. It's not just me saying it's good - there are a baker's dozen 5 star reviews.

Shouldn't have mention baking and the lack of cake. I'll be in the kitchen if anyone wants me.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Maggie Cobbett

Today's guest is Maggie Cobbet.

Thank you very much for inviting me to guest on your blog, Patsy. ‘Fillers’ have long been a supplementary form of writing income for me and are a particular comfort whenever a painstakingly crafted story is rejected. I’ve given talks, written articles, run workshops and even been persuaded to publish a handbook on the subject. (Sales of Easy Money For Writers and Wannabes have far outstripped those of my other books, so I must have got something right!) 

Womag devotees will already know of the ‘filler’ opportunities offered by the women’s magazine market but may not have looked much further afield. There are publications out there linked to just about every human activity and a great many editors welcome snippets to complete their pages. One of the first successes that I chalked up was a reader’s letter to a DIY magazine popular with my father, but over the years I have also contributed to titles dedicated to antiques and collectables, cookery, current affairs, family history, film & television, gardening, health, lifestyle, music, pets, regional interest, satire, sports, travel and even writing. Magazines and editors come and go, but keep an eye on your newsagent’s shelves and you’ll be amazed at what you find. 
 
For now, I’d like to focus on Reader’s Digest. You’ll probably all be familiar with out of date copies gathering dust in your doctor’s or dentist’s waiting room. Pick up a current one the next time you’re out shopping and take a good look at page 4. On offer in the February 2017 issue are:

£50 for the star letter and £30 for regular letters; 
£50 for the true stories, anecdotes, jokes in Laugh! and You Couldn’t Make It Up...; contributions to end-of-article fillers and My Great Escape (travel column).

I’ve had repeated success in all these areas, so why not you? Good luck, everyone!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Guest post by editor Rosemary J Kind

Today's guest is writer and editor, Rosemary J Kind

At the heart of setting up Alfie Dog Fiction was a recognition that so many good womag stories aren’t published, or are published once and then find no more readers. Alfie Dog Fiction set out to provide an additional or alternative home for short stories. We wanted somewhere that would carry the best of all fiction, regardless of whether it had been published before and which generated royalties for the authors.

Over the five years since we began we’ve grown to become one of the biggest paid short story download sites in the world and been delighted to have stories we’ve nominated accepted for the Write Well Awards on both of the last two years.

We now have two submission windows a year and the next one opens for four weeks from the 5th March. We are looking for good quality stories. Stories that will leave the reader satisfied at the end. Whether it is romance or horror, general fiction or crime we do want a good story line. Our full submission criteria are on the site.

What aren’t we looking for is often more useful. Avoid clichéd storylines or characters. If I can guess your twist ending while still on page one then it isn’t that much of a twist. If you can surprise me with a twist ending that is consistent with the story then you will certainly have me hooked. If you can move me to tears or make me laugh out loud then you’re in with a pretty good chance too. Although I have read quite literally thousands of short stories in recent years, I’m still a reader at heart. I love a good story.

If you haven’t sent off short stories before then there is lots of good advice in the book that Patsy and I wrote together. From Story Idea to Reader was born out of the experiences we have between us of writing and publishing.

Depending on the volumes of submissions I will try to give some feedback if I can, particularly if a writer shows promise. If you want more detailed feedback we do offer a paid critique service for work you want to place elsewhere. The other thing worth doing before you submit is to download some of the stories we have on the site to get a feel for them. We do offer a few for free and many hundreds on a paid download basis, including many of Patsy’s.