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.




42 comments:

  1. I must have sold my first story to PF about the same time as you, Wendy. Alan is also my editor. Not nearly so many acceptances but working on it. Congratulations on your century.
    Alyson

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    1. Thank you, Alyson. I didn't know Alan was your editor too.

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  2. What an amazing milestone that is! Well done Wendy, and thanks for sharing your journey,

    Samantha x

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  3. I am keeping trying to write stories for them. Getting the idea of what type of stories they want for their readers. Have lots of ideas for them. I just want that elusive one acceptance to get me on the road.

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    1. It's great you have lots of ideas for your stories, Julie. Keep going with them - perseverance is half the battle (believe me, I know!)

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  4. Congratulations, Wendy! That's an impressive milestone.

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  5. Congratulations Wendy. A fabulous milestone. Wishing you every continued success. I made it a mission too to get accepted by TPF. I had numerous rejections over a lot of years. But I never gave up which is great advice for anyone. Never, ever give up. Dreams DO come true. I've a long, long way to go to match your number Wendy but I'll keep on keeping on :-) xx

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    1. Like you, Sue, I've never regretted keeping going. Working with Alan is like working with a friend.

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  6. Funnily enough my target magazine is People's Friend, Wendy as that's the magazine I buy and enjoy the most. Even though I buy and enjoy all of them. I'll never give up, but I've slowed down a bit as the rejections are painful.

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    1. I know, Susan. I felt that in the beginning - I just learnt to grow a thick skin. It's good practice for me now I'm sending my novel into the big wide world.

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  7. Excellent post, Wendy, and it shows the power of hard work and perseverance! I hadn't realised you'd had that great chance to work with one of their editors too - and hasn't that determination well rewarded you now!

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    1. Yes, everyone is assigned an editor once they've had a few stories accepted, Rosemary.

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  8. That's a wonderful achievement, Wendy x

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    1. Thanks, Leonora. A glass of wine to celebrate, I feel.

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  9. Well done, Wendy. Quite a milestone!

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    1. Now just got to think up another hundred ideas for the magazine!

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  10. Excellent post! You have come such a long way in just 3 years. I remember when you started commenting on womagwriter blog and I came here to find out more about this new, just starting out writer.
    Well done and long may it continue (though when you get a 3-novel deal you may find it hard to write as many shorts. And I am confident you WILL get a book deal!)

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    1. I remember being interviewed on Womagwriter's blog too - when I'd just sold a handful of stories. It seems so long ago now, Kath. Oh, and thanks for the vote of confidence!

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  11. Again many congratulations Wendy. It's a unique achievement.

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. We can celebrate with a coffee when I see you in a couple of weeks!

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  12. Congratulations on a great milestone, Wendy.

    Here's to the next pile of successes. :-)

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  13. Congratulations! Short stories aren't easy and you've obviously mastered them - knowing your audience is crucial.

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    1. Yes I think that's a key factor Angela.

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  14. Congratulations, Wendy, on this wonderful and well-deserved milestone. xxx

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  15. This is an incredible achievement, Wendy. So since you must be quite flushed with success I think the next teacakes are your round!

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    1. Oh all right - if you insist (although it was probably my turn anyway!)

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  16. Congratulations, Wendy. It is a fantastic number of sales in so short a time. You're so right about perseverance being important.

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    1. As you know, Keith, no one ever succeeded by giving up at the first hurdle. Nice that we often share the pages of this lovely mag.

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  17. Congratulations, Wendy. What an amazing achievement!

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  18. Congratulations, Wendy! A wonderful achievement. :-)

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  19. Well done, Wendy, a great achievement in such a short space of time, too! Amazing. Thanks in part to your inspiration, I actually managed to get my entry off for the People's Friend Serial competition in time! The most I've ever written, too, as you had to submit the 6000 word first installment and then a 1500 word synopsis. Phew!

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    1. Wishing you masses of luck with your entry, Helen. I'm sure you'll have a very good chance as you've had lots of short story success.

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  20. Congratulations, Wendy! Such an achievement, best of luck with your novel too :-)x

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  21. Well done! I received my first rejection today. My only problem is knowing what is wrong. Is it the story? format? me. But your story is most encouraging. Thank you.

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