Where Has All The Fiction Gone?


I contacted a “Friend” author recently, to let him know that some fiction he submitted wasn’t quite right for us.

I was sure it would soon find a home in another publication, I told him.

As he had only previously submitted to the “Friend”, he emailed back to ask which other publications now accept fiction submissions.

I directed him to Patsy Collins’ womagwriter blog, which suggests that only around half a dozen mainstream UK women’s magazines now accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Which got me thinking – where did all the fiction go?

There are fewer magazines around

When I began working in journalism in the 1980s, there were so many more women’s magazines around. Many of these carried fiction.

Teenage magazines did, too. One of my first magazine jobs was coordinating fiction on “Jackie” (alongside Tracey, with whom I now work on the “Friend” team).

So what happened?

There’s no doubt that many readers have changed the way they read, moving away from print. And cost may be a factor.

As Fiction Ed Shirley points out, it takes a dedicated team to read and illustrate the volume of stories we publish (over 600 a year).

We also give feedback and guidance to aspiring authors, including our Story Writing Workshops and Serial Writing Workshops.

Challenging times for authors

I met another long-time “Friend” author for a coffee and a catch-up recently. She discussed the changing nature of publishing contracts, and falling rates of pay.

So while it’s fair to say it’s a challenging time for short story authors, the “Friend” continues to champion fiction, with “a short story for every day of the week”.

As well as seven short stories in every issue, we carry at least 14 in every Special – plus our serials, series, and pocket novels.

We welcome submissions from everyone, published or unpublished, as we have done for 150 years.

Our beautiful 150th Fiction Special is a celebration of that. Click here to order your copy today!

We advise all aspiring authors to first look at our Submission Guidelines.

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!