Writers’ Questions, Answered


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Fiction Ed, Lucy answers some recent writers’ queries.

My story doesn’t appear in the Summer Bookazine. Does this mean it’s been unsuccessful?

Stories are still being bought and scheduled for late summer issues.

I’m also now planning ahead for our Annual 2027, which I’ll need summer stories for, too.

If in doubt, please check with your assigned editor.

Is it too late to submit Christmas stories?

No – and I’ll be reading for our Christmas Special and December Bumper issues soon.

The stories for our ‘Magic Of Christmas’ bookazine have been selected and are currently being illustrated.

We need a good mix of themes and eras for our Christmas stories – contemporary and historical settings; very traditional themes; stories with a religious aspect; fun and light festive cheer.

Just wondering, will there be a Fireside Book for 2025? All the other DC Thomson annuals for 2025 are advertised on Amazon except this one.

There won’t be a Fireside Book this year, but our popular little Annual and Friendship Book will be available in August.

How long should I wait for a story response?

We aim to respond to story submissions in good time, bearing in mind that stories are read in order of what we need in terms of word count, season and genre.

As we naturally receive an increased volume of submissions now that so many other fiction avenues have closed, we’re introducing a cut-off point of twelve months.

So as of today, if you haven’t had an acceptance within a year of submission and you know your story was safely received, your story has been unsuccessful.

A friend in my writing group mentioned changes to ‘Friend’ word counts – can you clarify, please?

We can accept Long Reads with a word count of between 7500 and 8500 words. 8500 is the absolute maximum number of words – no 10% leeway here.

For serial instalments, our upper word count limit (no leeway) is now 5000 words for a first instalment, and 4500 for subsequent instalments.

Don’t worry about serial instalments which have already been submitted.

What should I put on my cover sheet?

Please include your story’s title; the name (and pen name, if applicable) of the author; the story’s word count; the era or date when set, if historical; and the season or event, if applicable.

A logline is helpful but not necessary.

Info to include on your Word Doc file name, in this order; word count, title, season/event.

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!