Monday, October 29, 2012

Woman's World Fiction Guidelines


WOMAN'S WORLD
FICTION GUIDELINES

Romance guidelines:

We buy contemporary romances of 800 words. Stories must revolve around a compelling, true-to-life relationship dilemma; may feature either a female or male protagonist; and may be written in either the first or third person. Characters may be married, single, divorced or widowed; should be down-to-earth (no yuppies or jet-setters); and their dilemma should be poignantly or humorously conveyed. Please think carefully about a story's setting, mood and plot, and tell the story with interesting action and dialogue. (Every sentence, paragraph, and scene of the story should deliver more information about your characters and their situation and/or briskly advance the storyline).

We are not interested in stories involving life-or-death matters, nor are we interested in fluffy, flyaway-style romance. When we say romance, what we really mean is relationship--whether it's just beginning or is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The emphasis in our stories is on real life-which is why we do not buy science fiction, fantasy or historical romance.

We pay $800 per romance and retain First North American Serial Rights for six months after publication.


IMPORTANT NOTES!

Manuscripts should be double-spaced in legible size type.

Where to send manuscripts: Fiction Editor, Woman's World, 270 Sylvan Ave., Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632. Indicate Romance on the envelope.

How to send manuscripts: (1) You must include a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to receive a reply. Manuscripts not accompanied by a SASE will be discarded. Note: A #10 SASE is necessary not just for a response, but for your contract if we purchase your story.
(2) Please DO NOT fax or e-mail manuscripts--because such submissions do not include SASEs, we have no means of responding to your submission.

Get to know us: Please familiarize yourself thoroughly with our romances and mini mysteries before submitting your work.

Be patient: Because we receive a tremendous volume of manuscripts, our turnaround time may range from one to six months. If you still have not heard from us after that time, feel free to re-submit your manuscript. Please do not call or write us to inquire about a manuscript's status.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting! Good information!

Do you think they would immediately reject a story set in Europe? Was worried that they might think it wouldn't fit their market?

Nicole

Tamara said...

Personally, I wouldn't recommend it. I have a feeling they are strictly white-bread America.

Kate Willoughby said...

That might be an iffy setting. Is there ANY way you could set it here instead? I don't think I've ever seen a story set somewhere other than the United States.

Mary Jo said...

I once submitted a story set in Hawaii (the USA!) and it came back to me practically by return mail. Maybe they didn't like the couple getting on a jet plane? There was a short note from Jimmie Meiss saying, "This doesn't belong in Woman's World."

I suggest you write your story, Nicole, and don't even mention where it is set. Be sure and use American terminology. We don't travel on the Tube and we don't use a lift to go from one floor to the other. A lot of people use a Mini car, though. My neighbor has one.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Many thanks for these, Kate - and thanks to all who've advised about setting for those of us in the UK and elsewhere!

Anonymous said...

I'm probably not best placed to comment as, being in the UK, I haven't read many of the WW stories and go mainly on your analyses to see what is being published.
Having said that, however, the stories that are actually printed seem to bear little relation to the guidelines, IMO.

"When we say romance, what we really mean is relationship" - but most of the stories don't seem to go much past a 'chance' boy-girl meeting and there is no time to see any type of real relationship develop. And very few seem to be about existing relationships or 'relationship dilemmas'(the garage sale one being a recent exception).

"nor are we interested in fluffy, flyaway-style romance" - that seems to me to be exactly what they ARE interested in!

Am I being unfair? Is it because I'm not reading the actual stories that I see it that way? To me, it seems a much better bet to look at what is actually being published than to go with the guidelines!

Tamara said...

You're reading right, Anon., about the "fluffy, flyyaway-style". And, I would agree that reading the guidelines is a better method of discerning content.

Mary Jo said...

Anony, I think WW has been using the same guidelines (except for the length and the pay) for decades, and with shortening of the stories, it does seem to limit any real depth or development. What we are left with, very often, is simply the PROMISE of a relationship. Can you write along those lines?

It appears that WW subscriptions are available only in the US and Canada. I wonder, Kate, is there any way your readers could share the WW stories with writers abroad?

Kate Willoughby said...

I think Mary Jo is right. I don't think the guidelines have been changed in a long long time and that when the word count was larger, we were more able to develop the relationship part.

Sure, people could mail them the stories or take photos and post them, I suppose.

Chris said...

Hi Kate,

I've been trying to get a foot in the door of Woman's World for over a decade but so far no joy, just lots of 'we look forward to seeing more from you' notes on the rejection letters. Worth their weight in gold as we all know, but when am I going to get a yes?!
I've just prepared another one to send(after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing of emails about the discontinuation of IRCs here in the UK due, according to Royal Mail's helpline, to 'lack of demand' - really?)and was just checking to see if I could locate a fiction editor's name in WW's guidelines when I spotted your blog. Very timely. I'm impressed by your success rate with them. Have you tried the same stories with magazines elsewhere? Always worth trying for a second bite of the cherry overseas.

Kate Willoughby said...

Chris, that is true dedication. The fiction editor's name is in every issue of the magazine, but you can't get the magazine in the UK. Her name is Johnene Granger.

I do not submit the stories elsewhere. Some people have found success in expanding them and selling them to the Trues. I'm going to get some more info about that and post it here. Stay tuned. :)

Chris said...

Thanks for the info, Kate, I do remember the name now and will use it when I submit the story. Yes, dedication goes with the territory doesn't it. My longest ever wait was eighteen years with Woman's Weekly here in the UK. When they finally took a story from me this year it was right up there with my very first acceptance in terms of satisfaction!

If you've sold fiction to Woman's World then you might want to try Fast Fiction and That's Life in Australia too. You'd need to alter the word count a bit but not that much. Guidelines are available on http://www.thatslife.com.au/FastFictionGuidelines. The payscale is a little less for previously published work but still good, so definitely worth a try. The fiction ed is Anthony Lambert. Good luck.

Tamara said...

Just to be clear, Chris, you have to send the story to the first editor -- Patricia Gaddis -- at the Englewood Cliffs address. If you send it directly to Johnene Granger, it will be returned.

Kate Willoughby said...

Chris, thanks for the tip. I perused the guidelines, and they don't want straight romance. :(

I'm not sure how someone would send a story directly to Johnene. The address at Englewood Cliffs is the only one I know of...

Tamara said...

You're right, Kate; there's no address for her in Seattle, but sending it to Englewood Cliffs with Johnene's name on it might confuse the process.

I read someplace -- maybe in her instructions that accompany a contract -- that stories are not to be sent to her unless accepted for publication following receipt of the contract.

Wasn't sure whether Chris had Patricia Gaddis' name and that she should send stories to her. It would be awful to lose out on a contract for sending it wrong.

Kate Willoughby said...

I always put Johnene's name on the envelope to Englewood Cliffs and on my cover letter mainly because I'm submitting it to her, not her first reader.

Yes, in the instructions with the contract it says to email her the story she's contracting, but not anything else. Never use that email for other communication with her.

Finally, if you write a really fantastic story, I doubt they would reject it solely because you had Patricia's name on it instead of Johnene's or vice versa. However, if your story is iffy, something small might tip the scales.

Chris said...

Thanks for all the advice, Kate and Tamara. I think maybe I'll just play safe and address the stories to the fiction dept as usual.

Don't be put off by the 'no straightforward romance' stipulation in the FF/TL guidelines, Kate, what you wrote as a romance someone else might see as a twist in the tail, or a mystery. With FF you submit to a word count, not a category. I've noticed that Anthony takes slightly more 'off the wall' stories than most editors of women's mags and, after all, what can it hurt to try? You'll get an automated response telling you the story has been received, and then it's fingers crossed for a follow up.

BTW, in those ten years of submissions to WW I've probably sent around twenty stories, so not the phenomenal amount you might imagine. A fair percentage went on to be accepted elsewhere, so I think one reason they might not have made it (apart from being rubbish of course) is that I just wasn't American enough in my style (I'm a Brit, that's the way it is!).

I've always submitted work as widely as possible but naturally you concentrate most of your efforts where you've had previous success. I also focus more on mags that are prepared to see email submissions - it's just so much easier (and cheaper) than posting, especially when it's abroad.

Do either of you submit to other magazines in the US? You're lucky to live in such a vast country, with so many titles available to you.

Great website Kate, I am really appreciating the analysis of the WW stories - very helpful. Just off to post two more!

Betsi said...

Oh, Chris, you would THINK we'd have "many titles available" in the U.S., but NO! There is almost no fiction in American magazines these days. Articles on weight loss, cooking, and celebrities seem to be what the American public wants . . . it's very frustrating. The only place I've published other than WW is the "Trues," which are a very different sort of fiction. No byline, for one thing, and they pay only 3 cents a word. Plus, all but 2 of them went out of business recently.

Personally, I'm thinking of giving the Aussie mag a try -- just wish I could read one first and wondering if my "voice" will be too American!

Kate Willoughby said...

Good, question. Do they mind American voices or settings?

Chris said...

Hi Betsi and Kate,

Yes, fiction markets have shrunk both sides of the pond, I think. I do know of some American ones, though, if you are prepared to write for a wide range of ages. I recently had a teen story in Spirit magazine (details on http://www.goodgroundpress.com/), and earlier this year I had an 'older' one in Catholic Forester (http://www.catholicforester.org/servicecenter/catholicforestermagazine/WriterandArtistGuidelines.aspx). I've also had work in Mature Years, Highlights for Children, The Kids' Ark and The Schoolhouse Magazine. Some of the publications have strong church associations, but you don't necessarily have to be of their religion to submit work.

There's also a Canadian online mag called Horizon (details on www.saleypublications.com) which is a very enjoyable mix of fiction and fact. Not saying they're all massive payers but every little helps and it does give your day a boost to get a yes.

The Australian mag That's Life only uses one very short story per issue, but their other title, Fast Fiction, has quite a broad range, including humour, twist-endings, ghost, heartwarming and quirky. Their spelling is very close to ours in England, so if you're writing in Word I'd suggest going to Review and changing the set language from American to English to highlight any changes that need to be made. Not that they are precious about it, if they like a story they'll do the changes themselves.

If you are worried about your 'voice' being too American, I'd be happy to supply my email address, so you could run one or two past me before submitting them. That goes for anyone who is thinking of trying overseas markets.

Tamara said...

Very good information; thank you. As for American markets, I've been published in two literary journals -- one online and one published by New York State University, but I now have two stories I'm sending out to every journal I can find who pays and getting rejected every time (gonna have to start on the non-paying ones soon). I've sent queries to some of the women's magazines for nonfiction ideas and have been unable to get my foot in the door (hard to even get a response from them). I've had articles in a few chicago newspapers, though, and a couple of them paid me well for my work.

Chris said...

Hi Tamara,

I enjoy doing the odd non-fiction piece too, but you're right, even pitches don't always get a response. I suppose they just see so many they don't have time to reply to them all. Still, it's frustrating not knowing if a query is under consideration or sitting in the deleted box.

To strengthen the 'hook', have you considered doing articles related to the anniversaries of major events? I've got a little book by Collins, What Happened When, and according to that 1st Feb next year marks 120 years since the opening of the first film studio. It was called The Black Maria, and was set up by Thomas Edison in the grounds of his laboratories in West Orange, New Jersey. Given the importance of the American film industry worldwide, that's got to be worth covering, hasn't it? You might even get a fiction story out of that subject!

For something a bit more recent, how about a piece marking the closure of Alcatraz, which ceased being a prison on 21st March 1963. Fifty years on, an article on that would make interesting reading.

While looking through this book I've stumbled across another entry that's given me an idea for a story - never know where the next one will come from, do you?!

Kate Willoughby said...

Wow, Chris, thanks for all that great information!!

gina said...

Wondering if WW allows multiple submissions?

Gina

Anonymous said...

This is both glorious news and distressing, I’ve finally been able to track down the address to send my romantic fiction stories but Australia, for some unknown reason to me, have disbanded SASE how can I send in my stories if I cannot send them with a SASE, and the magazine will not take it if I don’t? Dase this mean I cannot write for the magazine at all? - Eliana Robinson

Kate Willoughby said...

Gina, WW accepts multiple stories at a time from the same author. I think that's what you were asking. :)

Eliana, I don't know what to tell you about that. Sorry! :(

Anonymous said...

Thank you for letting me know anyway. I'll let you know if I ever find out the answer. - Eliana Robinson

Lacey said...

Hi Kate, I'm a Canadian writer and I cannot include a SASE because I would have to mail my submissions from the US. I e-mailed WW and they said that this was fine and I didn't have to include one, just wondering if I will hear back from them or not because of that...?
Thanks.

Kate Willoughby said...

Hi, Lacey, I'm sure if they like your story they will send you a contract and acceptance letter. The question remains, what if they don't like your story? I really don't know if they'll spring for the postage on a rejection or not. Sorry! :( Kate

Kate Willoughby said...

Hi, Lacey, I'm sure if they like your story they will send you a contract and acceptance letter. The question remains, what if they don't like your story? I really don't know if they'll spring for the postage on a rejection or not. Sorry! :( Kate

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kate! I think I will just keep writing and see what happens, I will definitely let you know if they do spring for the postage LOL!

Lacey
PS-your blog is fabulous and very helpful!

Mishael Witty said...

One quick question:

Can you send more than one story to them at a time? I mean, I'm assuming that each would have to have its own SASE, so you wouldn't necessarily send two in the same envelope, but could you send two (or more) at a time separately, or is it better to space the submissions out?

Thanks!

Kate Willoughby said...

Mishael, yes, you can send more than one story at a time with separate SASEs. Whether or not to space them out, that's up to you. Keep in mind whether or not your stories are time sensitive because of the seasons or holidays, and submit accordingly. I usually send my stories as soon as I've gotten them polished.

Cindy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
parlance said...

Not sure if I'm a bit late with this comment, but I've noticed that's life Fast Fiction site now says to email the manuscript to them.

Lee Shin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carole Bellacera said...

In my career, I've had four romances published by WW, and I still think it's a crapshoot every time I submit a story to them. Doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to how they choose what they buy. It can be frustrating.

Kate Willoughby said...

If it's any comfort, Carole, we're all in the same boat. :)

Chris said...

I haven't checked into this part of Kate's blog in a while, so missed the queries about submitting to Fast Fiction/That's Life in Oz. Sorry! To anyone still wanting to know, submit by email on Fastfiction@pacificmags.com.au. No SASEs or IRCs needed. You'll get an automated response to your submission, but then will only hear back if they want to buy. Check the word-count categories in the guidelines first, though, so you're sure your story fits.

gina said...

Hi Kate, just wondering if the submission guidelines are still the same from when you posted in 2012? Curious why it doesn't seem to be readily available at WW website. Thank you,

Gina

Anonymous said...

I'm a local writer and also familiar with Woman's World stories. I always find them lacking something. It always seems to be a fluffy girl meets prince charming type of thing. Little to no interesting plot. Just something to read in the waiting room at the doctor's office. I decided to write a story using the guidelines. I had to delete many good lines to get it to fit the 800 word count limit. But my friends and local editors I work with loved it! It was funny, and had a romantic plot. They were sure it would be published. But WW said it wasn't their style. Yes, they're right. Because it actually had an intriguing romantic plot. Our local magazine published it and has asked me to write another short story because it was so well received. More women might buy WW if they knew there were actually worthy stories instead of the usual stuff. I know I won't be buy WW anymore.

Kate Willoughby said...

Congrats on your publication. I'm sorry WW rejected your story. They've also rejected many of mine which I thought were worthy. It's difficult to construct much of a plot in 800 words. I long for the days when the word count was 1200. I'm just glad they publish romantic fiction AT ALL. While I know I can (and do) write better stories, stories with more plot, more three dimensional characters, etc, if I want to make $800 from 800 words, I have to write what they want. That's the bottom line. :)

Chris said...

Anonymous... try your stories overseas. There are plenty of markets around the world and while Kate's right about WW being the best payer for short romances, there are still opportunities if you're prepared to lower you sights a bit financially.

Meghan said...

Wow, I'm glad I found this blog. Its been a wealth of information! Now I'm a little confused, though. haha. This is my first time submitting a fiction piece to this magazine. Do I actually address it to Johnene Granger with the Englewood Cliffs address?

Kate Willoughby said...

That's what I do, Meghan. :) I also include her title Fiction Editor.

Aissa said...

Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very informative! So happy to be given a privilege to post a comment here.

aissa
www.joeydavila.net

David Zink said...

I'm David, believe it or not at 59 I wrote several romances on he wish of women. Most ended up having several xxx factors. Must be a guy thing. I learned a lot from your blog and am willing to ell my true story. However 800 words is a very low maximum. Still I can no for the like of me understand, why elecronic submissions are out of the question. Timberforest14@aol.com
www.davezink.com

Kate Willoughby said...

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure why they don't accept electronic submissions either, but there's not much we can do about it.

Chris said...

David, press the 't' harder on your keyboard!

The electronic submission grumble rears its head regularly - we all wish every mag would opt for it, but WW don't, so as Kate says there's not a lot we can do about it. They pay so well, it's worth the bit of extra effort to use snail mail. Meanwhile, check out the overseas markets list and you could find a home for your triple xxx-factored stories there.

Laura Strickland said...

Hi, Is the 800 word count exact, or just a general guideline? If it's exact, does it include the title? Does the author write her own tag line, and if so, is that also included in the 800 words? Thanks!

Kate Willoughby said...

Hi, Laura, I try to stay within 5-10 words of the word count. I count the title, but I don't know if they do. No, you don't have to write your tagline. :)

Meghan said...

Hi Kate - I'm assuming you send in a query letter along with your stories? If so, I just have a quick question that I've been curious about. My non-fiction professor stressed hooking them in the beginning, but did say he was a little lost on submitting fiction.

When you start a query letter for a fiction story, do you include a one-liner from the story as a hook or just note the obvious (what it's about, the word count, etc)? You're so helpful with your comments and I appreciate your previous answer to another question, so I thought I'd check on this. :) Thanks!

Kate Willoughby said...

Hi, Meghan, I do include a cover letter. I think with non-fiction, you are really submitting a query in that you're asking them if they're interested. With Woman's World, you enclose the story with the letter, which is a little different. They will read the story (assuming it's not so bad that they quit before they get to the end.)

I state the obvious and usually try to include a hooky type description as well. :) However, some writers who have been published by WW don't include a cover letter at all.

Misty said...

Hi Kate

Could you please tell me where you originally found this information? And, does the Woman's World magazine have their own website.

Thanks for the great advice, I'm now your newest follower

Kate Willoughby said...

There is information about Woman's World Magazine online, but it's more for advertisers. I got the guidelines originally from them by requesting them by mail. :)

Sharon said...

Kate:
This is my first time submitting anything anywhere. I am curious about the cover letter for submitting a short romance to WW. What exactly do you put in your cover letter? Since I've never had anything published, I'm not sure how to sell myself.

Kate Willoughby said...

Sharon, the great thing about WW is that you don't have to worry that you're unpublished. In the cover letter, I usually write a sentence describing the story enclosed and a sentence about how I hope they like it. Because I've had stories published by them, I allude to that in my cover letter, but it's not a deal breaker by any means.

Susan D. said...

Kate,
Thank you for all the great info. I do have a question... What is the general turn around time for a response to a submission? I submitted a story late Jan '14, but have not received a response. I did include a SASE that the post office clerk weighed for proper postage plus a little more in case they included more paper in the response. :) Also, I have another story to submit, but am not sure if I should wait for the first to be returned. Any thoughts?
Thanks!

Kate Willoughby said...

If you haven't heard back from them in six months, you can, as per their guidelines, resubmit. Include a cover letter that explains that you're resubmitting.

I wouldn't wait until you hear a response on the first story before sending another. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate. I have a weird question. I found an old story that I submitted to Woman's World in 2010. It was rejected from Seattle. I think that it was a pretty good story and I wonder what the etiquette is for tweaking it a bit and resubmitting it since it's been four years. Is this bad form?

Thanks,
Lily

Kate Willoughby said...

Lily, what I would do is tweak it then submit it with a cover letter explaining what you've done. That way, you can't be accused of trying to pull one over on them. :)

Anonymous said...

Good thinking. Thanks, Kate.
Lily

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Jim
www.imarksweb.org