Fiction Ed’s Blog: Why Haven’t We Read Your Story Yet?

Shutterstock / Inara Prusakova © read your story

One of the most common email enquiries we receive is from authors wondering if their story has been read.

This week, I thought we’d look at some of the reasons why some stories wait longer than others for a response.

Your story is historical

In a typical weekly issue, we generally use just one historical short story, compared to six with a contemporary setting.

So it follows that if your story is set in the present day, it will usually be read more quickly.

The word count or genre is already well-stocked

We read what we need, first. So if, for example, we’re looking for 2000-word stories, these will be prioritised.

We ask contributors to include the word count and season in the file name to speed up our reading process.

Generally speaking, we always need 2000 and 3000 word stories, and stories which can be set any time.

1200 is the word count most often submitted, but we only need one of these per weekly issue.

Similarly, we only use one Long Read every second Special, so that’s around nine a year.

Your story is seasonal

With the exception of stories for the annual, seasonal stories aren’t read year-round.

So, for example, we won’t read Christmas stories now until late spring.

If your story is set seasonally, please include this information in the file name.


Serial instalments which are scheduled for publication take priority.

And serials with a first instalment approved take priority over new serials.

We try to balance new and established authors

Our focus is always the reader, so we try our best to include a mix of new and established authors.

We’re receiving more submissions than ever before

With many magazines reducing or closing their fiction content, we’re finding that we now receive many more submissions than we did pre-COVID.

If you have a query

If you have a query about a story you’ve submitted, please email your assigned editor. A nudge is always welcome!

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!