Submissions Advice For Everyone

Shutterstock / Vadym Pastukh ©

Just to remind you where we’re at with Fiction manuscripts, here’s some submissions advice for everyone.

It’s been a few months now since we moved to accepting solely email submissions from our known authors and unpublished “Friend” authors.

We’ve been thrilled by the high standard of USMs and we have signed quite a number of new authors.

We appreciate that some of you are still trying to hit that perfect story mark, so here is a handy guide about all things PF fiction.


This means unsolicited manuscripts, that’s stories submitted by authors who haven’t been published in the “Friend” before. From Monday to Friday a member of the Fiction Team will go into the Friend Fiction folder to read the USMs.

Short Stories

Please be mindful of our story lengths. You can find out what they are here. Please read the magazine to get an idea of our content and tone. Have a look at our guidelines to know exactly what we don’t want. We don’t publish children’s stories or fantasy/sci-fi stories. The main stumbling blocks that lead to rejection tends to be stories that feature well worn themes, for example, people over the age of 60 being rubbish with technology. We all know that’s not true!

Another reason for rejection is stories being too downbeat. You can have a gripping and serious story, but there should be moments of depth and hope. Please remember to have your characters talking. We receive a large amount of stories where no-one actually speaks. The characters simply don’t come to life.


Our serials are written by our known authors as they can be quite a tricky thing to master and it’s best to have some short story success under your belt first. If you’re an unpublished “Friend” author please don’t email a serial idea.


When you’re emailing a story, whether you’re a published “Friend” author or not, please put the title of your story, the word count, your full address and your email address. This will save a lot of time if we need to get in touch about buying your story.

Please send your story in as a Word document and don’t send multiple submissions at once.

Pocket Novels

The tone and genres of our pocket novels follow the same criteria as the weekly and Specials. Our word count is between 37,000 and 39,000 words. We don’t want anything too gritty or dark, just like the other “Friend” titles.

Our website is full of great writing tips and advice that will help you with your stories. Good luck!

Find more advice and our website serials over on the Fiction page.

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!