Fiction Ed’s Blog: Writing Fiction For The Annual


“The People’s Friend” Annual is one of our popular range of “little books” which go on sale around August/September every year. The others being the much-loved “The Friendship Book” and “The Fireside Book”.

You may have read Abbie’s recent piece on writing poetry for the Annual — here’s some additional information on submitting fiction.

Every Annual has 25 brand-new stories, and like our weekly and Special, only includes fiction which has not been previously published.

We look for — and buy — fiction for the annual all year round. If a story feels like it would be a good fit, it’s bought and illustrated as usual, then set aside for the Annual, which has its own space at the back of the story card box (if you click on the link, you can just see it keeking out at the back of the image!).

Stories in our Annual tend to be the most traditional of all our stories, with uplifting, charming, funny or hopeful “Friend” themes and nothing contentious, or upsetting.

All our publications have their own ‘tone’. The weekly, like the Annual, has a very traditional feel to it. Stories in our Specials can be slightly less so, as they tends to have a wider age range of readers. And, as long as they’re handled in a Friend-appropriate way, strong stories are welcome.

Gauge the tone and content

Like all our publications, and all publications in general, the best way to gauge the tone and content is to read recent copies.

We keep to the rhythm of the year, in the Annual, so Story 1 begins at New Year/January, moving throughout the year and ending with a Christmas story as Story 25.

We work well in advance when it comes to the Annual; stories for PFA 2023 are now being considered.

We work to a set template (below) for the Annual; as with all our publications, we allow 10% either way.

The trickiest slots to fill are often the 1600 word stories.


Story 1 2200 Story 11 4000 Story 21 3300
Story 2 3000 Story 12 3500 Story 22 2000
Story 3 1000 Story 13 2000 Story 23 2200
Story 4 1200 Story 14 2000 Story 24 2000
Story 5 4200 Story 15 1700 Story 25 2800
Story 6 1500 Story 16 1900
Story 7 1900 Story 17 1600
Story 8 1600 Story 18 2000
Story 9 2000 Story 19 3000
Story 10 2400 Story 20 1500


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

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!