Quick Guidelines for Sending in Short Stories

What The Friend Means

If you’re thinking about sending in a short story and you’re not quite sure where to start – look no further!

Here’s everything you need to know, in a handy ‘guidelines checklist’, so before you send it off, go over them to give it the best chance of success.

  1. READ THE MAGAZINE – this is the most important step of all! It’s the best way to gauge the sort of content that would interest our readers, what they feel comfortable with – and what they don’t.
  2. Be mindful of timescale. It’s a good idea to work around six months ahead. So if you’re sending in a story in April, aim to set it in autumn at the earliest.
  3. Once your story’s ready, type it on one side of white A4 paper – numbered pages and double line spacing please.
  4. Include a covering letter, with details of your name, address, phone and email details.
  5. Don’t forget to include wordage – how many words your story has. ‘Friend’ stories are generally 1200, 2000, 3000, or 4000 words in length, long reads are 9,500.
  6. If you’d like us to acknowledge receipt of your work, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard; on the reverse side, write ‘Confirming Receipt of (short story title) – The         People’s Friend’, and we’ll then return that to you to let you know it’s arrived safely.
  7. If you’d like your work returned, please enclose an SAE; it’s a good idea to keep a copy of the original.
  8. It’s helpful to write the Season your story takes place in on the corner of the envelope – Summer, Autumn, etc.
  9. If your story has a specific theme, eg Remembrance, Valentine’s Day, Christmas – please write this on the envelope too, and send it in in plenty of time.
  10. Please remember that we receive a huge volume of manuscripts. We endeavour to read through each one and give it a fair chance – this takes time, and it can take up to sixteen weeks (very occasionally longer) to receive a reply.


Good luck!


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Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!