How Do We Put The “Friend” Together? Planning!


During our recent 150th Birthday Bash at Warner Leisure Hotels Alvaston Hall Hotel, Editor Angela held a Q&A session with readers. One of the most frequently asked questions was a simple one:

“How on earth do you manage to get a magazine together every single week? There’s so much in it!”

Preparation and planning

The answer is: with lots of preparation and planning! We’re always planning ahead.

Features Ed Alex and his team can be planning pieces months in advance. Some start life as proposals sent out to freelance writers, so we need to be sure to give them enough time to work on their piece and get it back to us.

The team are also responsible for organising our popular cover features. Once the piece has been commissioned, our Illustrations Editor, Sarah, then commissions one of our group of freelance “J. Campbell Kerr” artists to start working on the painted image that will appear on the cover.

It’s all team work

The Fiction team read, buy and illustrate stories all year round. This is to make sure we have enough stories in stock, of different lengths and genres. We also need to make sure we have enough stories to suit specific times, seasons, and events throughout the year.

Every weekly issue of the “Friend” needs two serial instalments, a series instalment, and an episode of our soap, “Riverside”. These are all planned well in advance, too.

Buying enough stories

We also need to keep stories in stock for our Specials, and for our Annual. It’s important that the right number of stories are bought and illustrated, so that when Fiction Ed Shirley can find whatever she needs when she goes to the stock drawer.

Always thinking ahead . . . and planning

Believe it or not, we’re already starting to plan our stories and poems for our Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes Night, Advent and Christmas issues. This is to make sure we have enough time to read, buy and illustrate them before we publish!

It’s all go here at the “Friend”, but we really do love it!

For more glimpses behind the scenes at “The People’s Friend”, read our Team Blog.

Fancy reading the fruits of all our efforts? Click here to take out a “Friend” subscription now. As part of our Summer Sale, you’ll pay only £4 for your first 13 issues!

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!