“The People’s Friend” publishes hundreds of short stories every year.
Not every story submitted to us is successful, and time constraints mean we no longer send individual rejection responses to authors as yet unpublished in the magazine.
If you’re unsure why your stories are unsuccessful, here are five common reasons we might reject a submission.
We work to set templates, and stories need to fit our word counts.
These are: 1000, 1200, 1500, 1800, 2000, 2500, 3000, 3500, and 4000 words, with Long Reads coming in at around 9,500 words.
We allow 10% either way on all word counts.
Whatever publication you’re writing for, write for your reader.
The best way to get to know our reader, and the type of fiction we publish, is to read the magazine regularly.
Look at not just the type of stories we use, but the letters page, the ads, the features. The language, and the tone.
Fiction should be feel-good – readers should feel better for having read the story.
“Friend” readers don’t want to feel depressed, saddened, or frightened.
Stories which reflect modern life are welcome, but no swearing, violence, or unpleasantness.
‘Cosy crime’ is popular – think ‘Poirot’, ‘Miss Marple’, ‘Inspector Morse’.
A story about a topic such as the environment is fine, but nothing contentious please – the focus should be on the characters, not the issue.
“Friend” characters should be credible, relatable and engaging.
Strong female characters with traditional values appeal.
Characters should have depth; we need to get to know them.
Perhaps the plotline wasn’t believable, felt too familiar, or had a downbeat conclusion.
Stories can also be rejected because they’ve already been published, weren’t typed, or were posted in – submissions should be emailed to your assigned editor.
For unpublished authors, it’s email@example.com.