Fiction Response Times At “The People’s Friend”

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In the Fiction team, and everywhere on the “Friend”, we’re continuing to follow government guidance.

That means we’re all still working from home.

Here’s how that is affecting how quickly we can respond to your submission.

If you’re an unpublished author

Let’s look firstly at manuscripts from authors who have not yet been published in the “Friend”. We call these unsolicited manuscripts, or USMs.

Submissions from unpublished authors remain welcome – by post, please.

However, it’s clear that response times for now, and for the foreseeable future, are going to be very much longer than usual.

Prior to lockdown, submissions from unpublished authors were likely to receive a response within six months.

Because of lockdown, some USMs from April onwards are still in the Team’s reading queue.

That backlog means all USM responses will now take longer than usual.

Why is it taking so long?

Currently, we can’t access the office. Our Mail Team have been keeping all submitted manuscripts safe in our absence.

We can’t ask unpublished authors to email their submissions, because there would simply be too many for our in-boxes.

Where is my manuscript?

Manuscripts sent in prior to the lockdown in March have been read; in the unlikely event that you have yet to receive a response, we’ll get this to you once our Admin Team can access the office.

Most manuscripts sent in after lockdown remain in the office and will be a priority when normal working resumes.

Please enclose an SAE

To help speed things along, from now on we’d ask all USM contributors to please enclose an SAE with their manuscript.

In the meantime, we’re sorry about these frustrating delays. Please be assured that we will try to read and respond to every submission, fairly, and as promptly as possible, when it’s safe for us to do so.

Published authors

Published authors are emailing their submissions to their assigned editor.

Our response times may still be slightly longer than usual. We’re dealing with an increased volume of email correspondence, and reading on a priority basis – so stories and serial instalments which are needed most urgently will be read first.

Whether you’re a published or unpublished author, we’re always happy to answer queries by email.

A Merry Christmas to all!

Finally, at this time, the Fiction Team would usually be organising a Christmas photo.

As we can’t be together this year for even a socially distant photo, we’d like to wish everyone – readers, authors, poets and illustrators – a Merry Christmas, and a  happy and healthy New Year.

For more from Lucy, read her Fiction Ed’s blog here.


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 150 years of 'Friend' fiction!