Saturday, 24 October 2015
My People's Friend Journey to 100 Stories
This week was a bit of a milestone as I sold my hundredth story to the lovely magazine The People's Friend (bringing my magazine sales to nearly 150). If someone had told me this would happen when I sent off my first story to them in 2012, I would never have believed it.
My People's Friend journey started like this. I sent a few stories at the beginning of the year and received the standard rejection letter - very quickly as it happens. I wasn't downheartened though as I had sent them off without expectation. Looking back at those first stories I realise that they really weren't that good (although I've since used the basic ideas and themes to write other stories that have found a home) and am not surprised they were rejected.
Then I received a letter from a real live editor... oh yes indeed! In fact it was from my lovely editor of three years, Alan. Okay, so it wasn't an acceptance but it gave me hope. I'll let you read the blog post I wrote about this. It's short and sweet and had no comments as I was new to blogging then. In fact I doubt anyone ever read it. It's called Resubmissions, Resubmissions
I must say I chuckled to myself when I read the sentence, 'I think I have become very stubborn about this magazine - I have made it my mission to have a story accepted.'
Thank goodness I did!
It was then that I decided to try writing about something close to my heart - dancing - which has been a hobby of mine for over twenty years. At the time, I was doing Zumba classes and had also started ballroom lessons so decided to merge both of these into a story.
My passion for the subject must have showed because the next letter I received wasn't a general rejection but one full of suggestions as to how to make my story better. Here's a little clip of it. As you can imagine, I was over the moon and sat down and made all the changes there and then, sending it out before the next post. A couple of months later, I went on holiday and came back to an email telling me that my dance story had been sold. Dancing Queen was published in The People's Friend Special the following February.
The post I wrote next is still as relevant today as it was then. It's called The People's Friend - A Friend Indeed.
The rest is history really. Having got a feel for The Friend readership, I continued to write and found more and more of my stories accepted. All this time I worked closely with my editor and I know that his invaluable advice has made me a better writer. When magazine editor Angela Gilchrist said in Writing Magazine 'if we see potential in a writer, the fiction team will work very hard with that person to get them their first acceptance' I can do nothing but agree with her.
I went on to write serials for the magazine and even wrote an article for fiction Editor, Shirley Blair, on the subject for Writing Magazine
Writing for the magazine has also gained me a new friend - fellow People's Friend writer and workshop leader, Alison Carter. We share the same editor and when he spotted we lived near to each other, I got in touch. We now meet regularly to eat cake and chat about the writing world and Alan likes to call himself a matchmaker!
In fact I feel very honoured to have had my name alongside Alison's in a People's Friend tweet, advertising their guidelines as Alison is a great writer whose sales far exceed mine. You can read their guidelines here.
I hope that reading this post on my journey to my hundredth sale to the magazine will give other writers encouragement to persevere. The magazine might be called The People's Friend, but the editorial staff soon become the writers' friends.
You might like to get an idea of the sort of stories I've written for the magazine. The ones in my romantic story collection, Room in Your Heart, have all previously been published in The People's Friend as have many of the ones in The Last Rose.
They are available in both ebook and paperback and can be bought here from Amazon.