Our Cupboard Runneth Over


I mentioned last week as a P.S. to my Writing Prompt Story Starter that I’d write about just how many submissions we’re receiving at the moment.

The pile of stories in the USM (unsolicited manuscript) cupboard has surged in depth over the last few months.

I asked Rachel in our Admin team to do me a quick tally from our submissions database, and the figures bear out my impression. We’re averaging 250 short story submissions per month now.

It may simply be that we’re seeing the results of a lot of New Year’s resolutions bearing fruit. However, my own instinct is that it’s more a sign of the changing times and other magazines’ submissions policies. We do sometimes feel like the last man standing by an open door . . .

Now, knowing that there are four of us here on the fiction team, you might think that’s only around 60 each – we can soon whistle through those in a month, surely?

The point is, though – well, actually there’s more than one point . . .


The first and very important point is that we don’t want to whistle through them.

We want to give every story the proper consideration that we always do. I’ve said it many times: every single one of our past and current writers came to us as a USM. So in those piles in the cupboard could be many star new writers. We’d hate them, and us, to miss out on that opportunity.

Another thing to take into account is that, as well as the USM cupboard, we each have our own assigned writers. And they’re all sending us more than ever before, too.

We also have serial outlines to work through, serial instalments to read, the pocket novels . . .

But we’re not complaining. It’s lovely to be so popular! And you can be assured that we are working as hard and as fast as we can to read every story, and give them the considered response they deserve.

Read our submission guidelines here.

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.