Word Counts

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Here on ‘The People’s Friend’, our stories need to be a certain word count to fit set templates.

Let’s take a look at the word counts we accept.

Shorter Lengths

1000 words – This word count is equivalent to a page. Two stories of this length appear in each Special.

1200 words – Story Three in each weekly magazine sits at 1200 words.

1500 words – One story of this length appears in every Special.

We don’t accept stories of less than 1000 words.

Mid Lengths

2000 words – Along with 3000 words, this is our most-used word count. Stories two, four, and six in each weekly issue are around 2000 words. Eight 2000-word stories appear in each Special.

2500 words – Two stories of this length appear in each Special.

3000 words – Our opener in every weekly issue is 3000 words, as are stories five and seven.


3500 words – We feature one 3500-word story in each Special.

4000 words – Again, just one of these is needed for each Special.

8500 words – Please note, this is the new length required for our Long Reads, and is the maximum length accepted. One Long Read appears in every second Special.

Our Annual Publications

Stories in our well-loved little annual have their own template.

Find out more about our Annual word counts by clicking here.

Stories for our Magic Of Christmas Bookazine sit at 1000, 2000 and 3000 words.

About Word Count

For short stories, we allow 10% either way on word count.

So, if you have a story you think would sit well in the 2000-word slot, we can consider it if it’s between 1800 and 2200 words.

For serial instalments, we ask that you stick as closely to 5000 words per instalment as possible.

The word counts we buy most are the ones we use most frequently – 2000 and 3000.

Stories with less frequently-used word counts are welcome, but as we need fewer of these, you may wait longer for a response.


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!