Fiction Ed’s Blog: Had A Story Rejected?

Shutterstock / fizkes © story rejected

Did you know “The People’s Friend” is the biggest publisher of magazine fiction in the UK? We publish over 600 brand-new short stories every year.

We receive hundreds of short story submissions every year. But not every one can be successful.

If you’ve has a story rejected, here’s our advice.

Don’t be disheartened

Even well-established “Friend” authors receive rejections occasionally.

Our Writers Of The Week often say that the best way to deal with a rejection is not to dwell on it, but to keep writing, and keep up to date with what the magazine is looking for.

You can do that by checking our website regularly, perhaps looking at our Writing Hour on Twitter, and by reading the magazine.

Read the magazine regularly

Although the basic tone and ethos of the magazine has remained the same for over 150 years, the types of stories and the illustrations we feature do move with the times.

Look at the stories we do publish, the themes, genres, and types of characters they include.

Have a look at the words we use to describe our stories, both on the cover and inside the magazine – uplifting; thrilling; sparkling. Touching; poignant; lighthearted. Perceptive; amusing; entertaining; delightful; atmospheric.

Whichever magazine you’re submitting to, it’s a good idea to stay up to date with what’s inside.

Check the word count

Our publications work to a template and we feature stories of set story lengths, which don’t change.

We don’t publish stories of under 1000 words, or over 10, 000.

Focus on characters and plot

Characters in “Friend” fiction should be people our readers can relate to – people they can feel a connection with.

Likewise, the storyline needs to be believable.

And the story itself should be a good read.

Keep it family-friendly

“The People’s Friend” has never shied away from dealing with challenging topics – it’s how they’re handled, that’s the thing.

An upbeat, positive resolution is desirable, with no violence, bad language, or unpleasant goings-on, please.

Don’t submit work that’s already been published

We only publish brand-new fiction.

Write for the reader

Keep your reader in mind when you’re writing.

And one final tip. All of our successful writers have told us this one helps: read more, and write more.

Oh, and if you’ve had a story rejected, do keep trying!

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

Subscribe to “The People’s Friend” today, and you’ll get a free Seasons Greetings tea tin!


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!