Submitting Fiction: What You Should Know

submitting fiction

Short stories, serials, Pocket Novels . . . do you submit them in the same way or are there differences? Here’s a handy guide.

E-mail or postbox

The general rule is that if you’re outside the UK you can e-mail your manuscripts. If you’re in the UK, please post them.

The only exception to this rule? Pocket Novels, which should always be e-mailed.

General tips

  • Each page of your manuscript should be numbered.
  • Please put your name underneath the title of your story.
  • Include a covering letter with your name, address and e-mail address on it. We need to know how to get in touch with you if we’re going to buy your story!
  • Print on one side of A4 paper only , please.
  • We don’t publish stories of fewer than 1000 words. Be mindful of all our word counts.
  • We can’t accept typed or hand-written stories.
  • Please allow us time to read your stories. It can take up to 16 weeks and we often have to prioritise word length, genre and season.
  • Familiarise yourself with the “Friend” fiction. Read the magazine to get the best idea of what we look for in our stories and serials.
  • If we’ve already bought a story from you, the person who gets in touch with you first is the member of the team you should then send your stories to.
  • If it’s been over a year since we’ve bought one of your stories, we will revert back to contacting you via our “ret” system if you’re unsuccessful. This is a standard letter explaining why your story is being rejected.
  • If we’ve bought one of your stories, we’ll e-mail you a couple of weeks in advance of the publication date.


Each serial instalment is 5000 words.

Initially you should send us an outline detailing the full outcome of your serial and how many instalments you think it should be. We need to know exactly what will happen.

If we give you the go-ahead, you should then submit each instalment with a short synopsis of the next one. We have rather a lot of serials on the go and at different stages, so this keeps everything in hand.

For more details read Alan’s serial structure post here.

Pocket novels

Please send us a synopsis and the first three chapters. The tone and feel should mirror the weekly content, and mysteries and family sagas are popular.


You can send in more than one poem at a time, but please put them on separate sheets of paper and include your name under the title.

Mark you envelope “Poetry”, and this will ensure it goes to the right person.

Pop over to our Twitter page and join in our weekly #PFWritingHour every Tuesday at 11 a.m.

We regularly post what sort of stories and what word lengths we’re looking for there. You can also ask us anything!

There’s a wealth of information on here too!

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!