Fiction Ed’s Blog: Fifteen Tips For “Friend” Fiction Writers

Shutterstock / Aleksandr Simonov ©

Thinking of submitting fiction, poetry, or a pocket novel to the “Friend”? Lucy has put some tips together to help you succeed!

  1. Read the magazine regularly to get to know your audience, and stay up-to-date.
  2. Write for our readers.
  3. Published poets may submit poetry for consideration during the first week of each month. Contact Tracey at
  4. Pocket novels should be between 37, 000 and 39, 000 words. Email Tracey a brief synopsis plus first three chapters in the first instance.
  5. Fiction genres we accept are; general, young romance, mature romance, cosy crime, junior (from a young person’s viewpoint), and (occasionally) ghostly.
  6. Settings can be contemporary or historical, based in the UK or abroad.
  7. Stories should fall within 10% of the following word counts; 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, 2500, 3000, 3500, 4000.
  8. Our Long Reads of around 9,500 words appear as an eight-page pull-out in every second Special. It’s often a cosy crime, but can be any genre/setting.
  9. Don’t be disheartened if you’re not immediately (or always) successful. Even our most successful authors receive rejections.
  10. No formatting please. No paragraph indents are necessary, and info such as the title should appear only once.
  11. Before you send a story in, ask – whose story do I want to tell? Will Friend readers enjoy this storyline? Do we get to know the characters? Does the dialogue sound natural?
  12. Submit six months in advance of publication if your story is seasonal. Christmas stories are welcome from April onwards.
  13. We read what we need, first. The word counts we use most are 3000 and 2000 words.
  14. The “Friend” will be 155 years old in January. For readers past and present, it’s so much more than a magazine – it’s a trusted friend, and a link to loved ones.
  15. We endeavour to treat all our contributors with fairness and respect. Please extend us the same courtesy. Contact us directly if you have a query.

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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!