Sunday, August 4, 2013

Overseas Markets

Many people want to know what they can do with their rejected stories and where else they can submit short fiction. I asked one of my regular visitors, Chris, to compile a list of markets. Chris sells a lot of fiction to these publications and I'm so grateful that she was willing to help us out.

compiled by Chris
Guidelines for Fast Fiction and That’s Life (Australia). Humorous, positive contemporary stories of 700 (That’s Life) and 900 - 2800 words (Fast Fiction) with a strong plot. If the story has a twist it should arise from the story, rather than from a detail kept from the reader. To check your twist, imagine your story were being made into a film - would the surprise still work? For Fast Fiction please write to the following lengths;
1 page - 900 words
1.5 pp - 1,200 words
2pp - 1,400 words
3pp - 2,100 words
4pp - 2,800 words

Subject Matter: Read several issues of the magazines to get the flavour of the type of fiction we publish. Many writers waste a lot of time and effort because they haven't done this. Please avoid straightforward romance ie. boy meets girl and they live happily ever after. Also avoid stories narrated by animals or babies. Please remember that that's life! is a family magazine so graphic murders, sex crimes and domestic violence are not acceptable.
We normally write in chronological order, so please keep events in sequence and avoid "jumping" around time slots, as this can be confusing. Also, please bear in mind that if your story is themed then it needs to be sent to us about 3 months in advance of the magazine in which it needs to appear. For example a Christmas story would need to reach us no later than September.
Common twists to avoid:
  • The heroine/narrator is revealed to be a cat, dog, car, possum, tree or ghost!
  • A partner's mysterious arrangements turn out to be for a surprise party
  • The perpetrator's murder plan backfires and s/he eats the poison
  • A woman meets up with a handsome "stranger" for a steamy rendezvous and it turns out to be her husband
  • Someone nervous about a first day at school turns out to be the teacher; or about a wedding, the vicar; or an interview, the interviewer.
  • A woman spots her boyfriend/man of her dreams with a beautiful blonde lady - who turns out to be his sister.
  • Anything involving twins
A murder/death actually turns out to be part of a play rehearsal Common plots to avoid:
  • Woman gets her revenge on bullying husband, mother-in-law or boss
  • Widowed woman finds new love in her autumn years
  • The heroine is a writer
  • Anything involving winning money/the lotto
  • Con artist tries to fleece little old lady - but the old lady ends up conning him.
It's not that we would never use a story with these plot lines, but bear in mind we do get a lot of them. So your story would need a fresh angle to stand out.
Characters: It can be confusing if you have too many characters. A maximum of four is usually best.
Originality: Stories must be your own idea and original work, previously unpublished, and not on offer to any other magazine or publisher at the time sent to us. Should your story be accepted we may have to edit it to conform to page length, style, and the photos available to illustrate it.
Presentation: Manuscripts should be presented in a typed Word document format. Please ensure your name, address and telephone number are included in the manuscript. An accompanying letter is not necessary. PLEASE ensure you send it with a word count and let us know if it is 1st or 2nd rights. Also, we prefer not to receive bulk submissions, so please don't send any more than 4 stories at a time.
Address: Manuscripts should be emailed to
Replies: If you've heard nothing after six months your story is unlikely to be used. However, you may resubmit it if you wish. A story that may not have been suitable, in length or subject, at one point could be just what we need months later. Please be aware that due to the large volume of stories we receive we cannot offer individual guidance or assessment.
Rejection: If your story is rejected it can be for any number of reasons. Sometimes we have already published, or have in stock a similar story, or we may feel it will not appeal to our readers. This does not mean we will not like another of your stories, so don't lose heart.
Best is a weekly British magazine that uses one story of around 900 words per issue in one of several different categories such as Three Minute Thriller, Three Minute Mystery and Passion on a Page. Submit by email at Bear in mind you'll only hear back if they want to buy, so if you haven't heard in three to four months it's probably a no.

UK mag My Weekly only considers submissions from writers who’ve had work published by them before, but you can submit for the Specials and Annuals. Fiction editor for these is Maggie Seed – email her on to check what she is looking for at the time.

From the same stable as My Weekly (DC Thomson) comes Weekly News. It looks more like a newspaper than a magazine but they still use fiction stories of 1,000 - 1,500 words. It's read by men as well as women, so male perspective is fine, but fiction ed Jill Finlay isn't keen on first person or present tense stories, so avoid those. Email her on

Ficta Fabula is a Canadian magazine, formerly called Pages of Stories. For their comprehensive guidelines contact editor Darlene Poier on
You may also like to consider what's called the 'grey market', an unflattering description for mags aimed at the older reader. In the UK we have People's Friend (also from DC Thomson). Guidelines on Unfortunately only postal submissions are considered.

Another mag aimed at older readers is Yours.
YOURS Short story (fiction) guidelines
YOURS is always looking for good short stories. Every submission is read but we receive more than a hundred manuscripts a month and are able to publish only one short story per issue.

Please allow up to six months for reply and enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like your manuscript to be returned. Submissions should be 1000-1,200 words long and not have been published elsewhere before. Manuscripts must be TYPED on one side of the paper and the title page must include the following:

  • 100 - 150 word synopsis.
  • An accurate word count.
  • Your full name (and real name if you write under a pen name), address and telephone number

If we can’t use your submission and you would like it returned to you please enclose a SAE with enough postage to cover the cost of the submission/s.

Know your audience

It is essential that you study three or four published stories in YOURS before writing anything for us. Many manuscripts are rejected because, although they may be well written, the stories are aimed at a completely different market, such as younger women or a largely middle-class readership. Read several issues of YOURS. This will give you a good idea of the type of reader you should be writing for and the general tone we use. Our readers range in age from fifties upwards, with most in their mid-sixties and seventies. They are mostly women, although YOURS is read by some men, so don’t ignore their interests! They are Catherine Cookson readers rather than Jilly Cooper fans

Good subjects

Some of the most popular themes with YOURS readers are romance, families, grandchildren, nostalgia and wartime comradeship. A lot of our readers did war work and/or had husbands or boyfriends serving in the Forces. Don’t be limited to these subjects though; the style and tone of what you write about must appeal to our readers as much as the content. The first line of your story should grab the attention; it is all too easy to start a story with a bang, which quickly turns into a damp squib by the end of the first page. Keep up the reader's interest until the end or they will not bother to get that far - and a brilliant surprise ending will not make them read it in the first place.
What to avoid

Avoid stereotypical images of older people as ill, frail and lonely. Make sure your story is plausible and realistic and do not rely on unlikely coincidences. Try and avoid the hero turning out to be a cat or dog.

Avoid downbeat subjects such as death, widowhood, illness and loneliness, or write about them in a positive way that does not dwell on negatives.

Try not to rely on obvious plot devices such as twists in the tale and memory flashbacks. These are very common and, unless superbly written, can be predictable. A good story does not always need a surprise.

Remember this

Always think of YOURS readers, not just as older people, but as ordinary human beings who have experienced everything in life - childhood, growing up, starting work, falling in love, friends and family, joy, sorrow, heartache, longing and laughter. YOURS readers have their own interests and needs which match their years of experiences but many of their hopes, fears and dreams are shared by all of us and they still enjoy a good story.

Send your manuscript to*:
Short Stories
Yours Magazine
Bauer Media
Media House
Peterborough Business Park

Or by email to: (Subject: Short Story Submission) – email submissions must include contact telephone number and address details. All successful submissions are accepted on an All Rights basis that gives Bauer Media exclusive copyright.
Another British magazine that uses fiction is Woman’s Weekly. Their guidelines state;
Fiction is a vital ingredient of Woman’s Weekly, the place where readers can escape and switch off. This doesn’t mean predictable plots. Escapism means getting involved in a really gripping tale with believable characters. Above all, we are looking for originality and a wide variety of themes and moods, such as mystery, humour, relationships and family issues, with warmth still an important factor. Try to be subtle in your writing and remember the maxim: “Show don’t tell”. We recommend you read several issues of Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special to get a feel for our audience. Unfortunately, we can’t offer criticism but if your writing shows promise we will contact you.
For the weekly magazine: Short stories of 1,000 and 2,000 words. Serials in 3, 4 or 5 parts of 3,300 words each.

For Fiction Special (At least 20 stories 12 times a year):
Stories of 1,000 to 8,000 words
We read only typescripts. Handwritten work can’t be considered. Double line spacing on one side of the paper only and wide margins. Number each page and make sure your name is at the top of each page. If sending stories from abroad, please enclose an international reply coupon (NB by Chris  - these are no longer available, so UK stamps would be required).
If you would like us to acknowledge receipt of your manuscript, enclose a stamped, addressed postcard. Please note that it can take up to sixteen weeks for manuscripts to be considered, and that we are unable to enter into any correspondence by e-mail.
Please send stories/serials to:
Fiction Department, Woman’s Weekly,
IPC Media,
Blue Fin Building,
110 Southwark Street,
London, SE1 0SU

Fiction Feast is another UK mag that uses fiction.
Stories of 750-3000 words. Postal submissions only Response time usually around 12 weeks. If you haven't heard back in that time, email fiction editor Norah McGrath stating the name of the story, the date it was submitted and a 2-line plot outline and she'll get back to you.
Pay is currently £200 for 1 page rising to £400 for 3,000 worders (NB from Chris - please bear in mind that pay rates for all mags are subject to change)
Send seasonal stories six months in advance
Submission address:
Norah McGrath,
Fiction Editor,
Fiction Feast,
24-28 Oval Road,

Lastly, in S. Africa there is You magazine ( Stories of 1,500 words may be emailed to Cecilia van Zyl:
As mentioned elsewhere, IRCs (International Reply Coupons) are no longer available, so for overseas submissions where return postage is required (SAEs) UK stamps would have to be obtained.

Addition 3/6/14 - Shades of Romance, an online magazine for readers and writers, pays $25 for romantic short stories, 500 to 1,500 words, in any romantic sub-genre. Shades of Romance also accepts articles on the craft and business of writing. The deadline for submissions for the next issue of the quarterly publication is June 1, 2014. For guidelines and a list of upcoming issue themes, go here. 


Mary Jo said...

Many thanks to Chris for contributing all this information, and to you Kate for publishing it in your Blog. It is a sad thing that the U.S. offers no market for all the writers here who would like to share their stories with readers. Let us hope that the UK will be more welcoming to us.

Jody E. Lebel said...

Great info. Thank you, ladies.

Chris said...

Tiny update. Days after sending this to Kate I had an acceptance from The Weekly News and the story lengths are now 1,000 - 1,500 (not 2,000 as stated above). Interestingly, it was a first person story, so that situation seems to have eased too. Good luck everyone.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for sharing these, Chris and Kate - although I'm in the UK and have been in My Weekly and The Weekly News, it's good to have update!

Chris said...

Hi Rosemary - I emailed you back in April after seeing your message on here but no response :-( Maybe I got filtered out with all the spam.

I noticed from your website that you're a Writing Mag comp winner too. And you list your top three books as Jane Eyre (my all time favourite), Pride and Prejudice - of course - and Rebecca. You obviously have exquisite taste!

Good to chat with a fellow Brit.

Kate Willoughby said...

Chris, thanks for the correction. I fixed the word count.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Many thanks, Chris - sorry I never saw that other message!

Mary Hicks said...

Chris and Rosemary, I love all the british movies! And I've watched 'As Time Goes By', "Rosemary And Thyme" and 'Miss Marple' over and over, and OVER! :-D

I was born in Oklahoma, moved to Texas when I married, but my heart is with you brits! :-)

Can't wait until Dan Steven's new movie comes across to us... Can't remember the title... something about February??? :-D

Chris said...

Hi Mary,

It's called Summer in February, and yes, I can see the appeal! He has that slightly diffident Colin Firth manner, very appealing. Did you watch the most recent episode of Downton yet? I still well up just thinking of it.

I've just finished a new romance which I'm heading out to post off to WW now. It's fingers crossed time again.

I hope you'll submit to some of the overseas markets, they are there to be tried.

T. R. said...


By any chance do you have an e-mail for Fiction Feast? I want to ask them if it is okay to submit without an SASE. I checked, and there is no way to get UK postage here, and the UK Post Office will not sell me any stamps because I'm in the USA.

Please post here if you have it, and thank you!

T. R.

Carolyn said...

FYI - Here is a copy of an email I just sent to the Yahoo WW site, in case anyone here is not also registered there:

"After some noodling on Google, I clicked on to the Royal Mail site and then followed a link to Once there I discovered stamp purchases were available for as little as £3.60 for 6 stamps to as much as £60.00 for a roll of 100 stamps.

Holy Amazon! I thought.

I signed in, complete with password, but stopped short of an actual order once I saw the USA was one of the possible destinations for a delivery. I assume they adjust the amount due by the postage required for them to mail your order to you, and surely they have a method for converting payment from pounds to dollars as well.

Perhaps some of you can give them a try. Good luck!"

Betsi said...

Carolyn, this has been discussed here previously. Royal Mail doesn't ship postage to the U.S.

Chris said...

Hi TR,

sorry but I don't know if Fiction Feast will respond by email, although I think I heard from someone recently that Woman's Weekly had done so, so that's an alternative market. I'm happy to swap UK stamps for American ones, though, you if want to email me your postal address on

Betsi said...

Chris, it was Fiction Feast that responded to me by e-mail. I'm still waiting for a response from Woman's Weekly.

Chris said...

Thanks, Betsi, trust me to get it the wrong way round. But at least TR has an answer now.