Thursday, 2 November 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Della Galton

Today, my guest is Della Galton.

Is it possible to make a full time living writing for magazines? If so, how?
I started writing for womags after joining an Adult Education class called Writing for Profit and Pleasure. The teacher was Jean Dynes (she writes as Barbara Dynes – see her column in Writers’ Forum.) In that first class, back in September 1987, Jean asked if there was any news.
A girl in the row in front, put up her hand and said, ‘I’ve just sold my 27th story this year to Loving Magazine.’
Wow, I thought. I want to sell a story. Just one would do. (ho ho, little did I know how addictive it was). But how was it done?
By researching the markets, I learned, which meant reading the magazine. So off I went to buy a copy of Loving, which I read from cover to cover, several times. They bought the 3rd story I sent. Then the 4th, then the 5th. I was on the verge of giving up the day job when they rejected the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th.
We all know how it works. There are far more rejections in this business than successes
It’s always been like that for me. It still is. And blimey the market is much harder than it was. Back in 1987 there were 100 plus womags that carried fiction. In 2000, which was when I did finally give up the day job to write full time, there were 21 markets. Everyone said it was impossible to write short stories for a living.
It wasn’t! But back to my original question.
Is it impossible now? When there are a handful of magazines that still take stories from writers (who aren’t on their list). I think sadly that it may be. There are just too many of us out here. I know so many fabulous writers who get their stories rejected because there are only so many slots. So can we still follow the dream of being a full time writer?
I once heard a brilliant quote from Linda O Byrne, who at the time was fiction editor of Bella magazine. She said, ‘Don’t give up. There is always a market for excellence.’
The truth is, I came on to Womag today, thank you, Patsy, to talk about my novel, The Reading Group, which is out in paperback, audio and kindle on 2nd November. But I find myself being sidetracked because I feel so passionately about writing.
I’ve been a full time writer for 17 years. Here’s how I do it. I write short stories for the remaining markets. I am the agony aunt for Writers’ Forum. I have several self published books on Amazon which earn me £200 plus a month. I do some journalism. I do the odd spot of teaching. The Reading Group is coming out with a huge publisher (Quercus is part of the Hachette Group) but I wasn’t paid a living wage (advance) to write it. In short, I diversify. My income is made up of lots of bits of writing related work.
I live in hope of having a best selling novel that will mean I don’t have to worry about money so much.
The bottom line is that I love writing. I can’t stop. I won’t stop. I think Linda O Byrne’s advice still holds true. Don’t give up. There is always a market for excellence. I don’t think I’ve quite reached excellence yet – but I shall never, ever give up aiming for it.

The Reading Group is published by Quercus. Click here to buy/find out more.

£7.99 (paperback) £3.99 (kindle)

20 comments:

Della G said...

Thanks Patsy. Always lovely to be on Womag which is I think the best website for womag writers ever. I'm at the NEC tomorrow for Woman's Weekly. I shall recommend you to them as THE place to come for tips and advice.

Admin said...

Thanks for sharing your insights, Della. It's incredible how few markets there are left but there are new markets popping up, new magazines being launched - and I think people will always love stories so will seek them out somewhere.

I agree, this is the best site for Womag writers. Full of great information. Thank you, Patsy for all the hard work you do to keep writers updated.

carrie said...

Inspirational advice for us all to keep going! Thanks Della :) And thanks to Patsy for keeping us abreast with the blog of what markets are out there!

Lisa Macgregor said...

Thanks for a great post, Della. I was lucky enough to be one of your students where I gained invaluable advice and feedback and since then have managed to sell 13 short stories. I think the key is to just love writing because if you do, you'll be happy writing for yourself and the pleasure and it won't feel like a tragedy if you can't sell it. And definitely never give up. After four years of trying and lots of rejections, I've just sold my first story to The People's Friend. And I honestly never thought I'd crack their style. So you have to keep trying. Absolutely loved the Reading Group novella's by the way. Very best wishes xxx

Lisa Macgregor said...

And echoing everyone else about the fantastic womag blog, Patsy. You do a great job and I spend a lot of time reading all the posts. Much appreciated xx

Sally Zigmond said...

It was a delight to hear that Della's first experience of writing for publication was a class called 'Writing for Pleasure and Profit.' Me, too! The only difference is that Della has been more successful than I have. The reason? She has a professional approach to doing what she loves. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing I'd rather do than write fiction but I'm lazy and easily distracted - Oh, look! What kind of helicopter is that flying overhead?" Where was I? Great blog post. I'll have that coffee now while I think of an ending to that story...

Patsy said...

The evening class I took when I first started writing was called 'writing for pleasure and profit' too! It definitely helped, but as Sally says we have to put in the time and effort if we want lots of success.

Anonymous said...

Della said - 'I'm at the NEC tomorrow for Woman's Weekly.'

Are they still running the workshops even though no one can submit stories to them now?

Bernadette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharon Boothroyd said...

Many thanks for this Della and Patsy. I found it very inspiring and useful.

Geraldine Ryan said...

Great post Della! And keep the stories coming!

Rosie Edser said...

Lisa Macgregor says it all about Della's tuition. Her classes are so inspiring. I had a writing break for 3 years during a very stressful time. Going back to class with Della got (the very nervous) me back in the saddle again. And... I love her 'Ice & A Slice' and 'The Morning After'.

Julia Paillier said...

Thanks for such a frank and helpful post.

Kath McGurl said...

I started out by going to evening classes by one Della Galton... Learned so much from her. Great post,thanks to both ladies.

Julie Day said...

I agree with Della, it is best to diversity. I indie publish books for adults and children but don't earn much at all from them. Which is why I also mentor someone else and help them write and publish their children's books, as well as trying to write stories for womags. First success come this week. Oh yes, and I write fillers, which I have much more success at than fiction.

Maria said...

Interesting post - thanks for sharing ladies.

janewj said...

Good to read this, Della. I have always really admired you because you work so hard. I hope The Reading Group is a huge success. I shall certainly be getting a copy. Hope see you soon. love as always jx

Della G said...

Going to try and reply to everyone in one post. Well done Lisa M. Fabulous.
Thank you Sally. I love your stories.
Thanks Rose,
Thanks Kath.
Thanks Jane WJ.
Blimey, turning into a thank you post!

Maybe I should just say thanks everyone.

How do you write fliers, Julie, I'm intrigued!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Late reading this but thanks for sharing that, Della - very interesting about the need to diversify these days!

Sue Blackburn said...

Thank you Della. Inspiring post as always. And thank you Patsy for all your hard work keeping us abreast of everything. xx