Fiction Ed’s Blog: Staying In Touch

Shutterstock © staying in touch

Staying in touch with our readers and writers has always been important for us here at the “Friend”.

And we have lots of ways to do it, including our website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.

Like all our publications, each has an identity of its own. The website has advice for would-be and established “Friend” authors, little blog posts of interest such as “Willie’s View”, and previews of what will be in the magazine.

Our Facebook page is very interactive, with lots of reader engagement, and Facebook Live most Fridays at 11 a.m.

Twitter is geared towards both readers and writers, with The Writing Hour on a Tuesday giving existing and aspiring authors an opportunity to put any questions to us.

The Ethos of the “Friend”

The whole ethos of the “Friend” is in the name. It’s a “friend”-ly publication, with a family feel.

When we meet readers, they often tell us we’re like part of the family; a link to family members, past and present.

Readers sometimes say the “Friend” is like their own wee “bubble” — escapism, some time to yourself in a busy day, or an hour of stress-free reading before bed.  A feel-good, calm vibe.

And that extends to our social media.

If You Need To Contact Us

We’ve now been working from home for seventeen months, and haven’t been contactable by phone or post, so Twitter in particular has given us the opportunity for staying in touch.

If you have something specific you’d like to ask your editor, please email them directly.

If you’re an unpublished author, you can contact us via the Writing Hour on Tuesdays at 11am, or via our general enquiry email —

Negative Feedback

It’s not realistic to expect that all feedback is always going to be positive, and constructive criticism is welcomed. But please bear in mind that you’re posting on a public forum.

A negative or aggressive tone is not in keeping with the tone of the magazine. It makes other people feel uncomfortable, turning them away from the site.

Negative posting shows a lack of understanding of what we’re about, and takes our time away from reading, buying and illustrating stories and serials for publication in the magazine.

Difficult Times For Writers

There’s no doubt that the past year and a half have been difficult times for writers.

Even before the pandemic, many magazines were reducing their fiction content or closing altogether. This means there are now substantially fewer avenues available for short story submissions.

Figures suggest that since the first lockdown, as many as one in four women’s magazine purchases are no longer being made. It’s important that we work together to ensure existing publications remain viable.

A Supportive Space

Authors use our Twitter to comment on stories or poems they enjoyed in the magazine, to make friends with other contributors, and tell each other about what everyone’s reading and writing.

There’s the opportunity to like and share posts, or retweet. It’s a supportive space, and there’s loads of positivity.

Let’s celebrate that, as we navigate these tricky times.

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!