Writing for The Friend

Last week I was lucky enough to listen to a talk – as well as have a chat with – Shirley Blair, Fiction ed of The People’s Friend.  Fascinating stuff.  Here are ten things you may or may not know about writing for The Friend.

  1. They buy 633 short stories a year – 641 if you count long reads. That’s 17 a week. Which makes them the biggest consumer of women’s short fiction and a very good market to try.
  2. They read everything they receive because they never know when they will find the next diamond.
  3. They are traditional and have a hardcore of readers who are easily offended – the ones who express dismay that consuming alcohol has become commonplace in fiction.
  4. Hence, they like to offer in their fiction, escapism, comfort, the feel good factor rather than the harsher edges of reality. Think reality in soft focus.
  5. This does not mean they want boring and same old.
  6. They like young romances.
  7. They like feel-good.
  8. They like to be entertained.
  9. They like a positive outcome.
  10.  Stories they see too much of are:
    1. Old lady who is scared of young people. Really???
    2. New widow thinking about sheltered housing, even though she is only 60.
    3. Empty nester seeing daughter off to university.

So, there you have it? Think you could write for The Friend. They have a website and a blog and are very active on Facebook and Twitter. Why not give them a go. And please give my love to Shirley.

And here’s a quick cheeky plug for my book about writing short stories. The Short Story Writer’s Toolshed. Click here to check it out. 🙂


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11 Responses to Writing for The Friend

  1. Marina Jacobs says:

    Many thanks for that great advice Della. I’ve not sent any stories to The People’s Friend as I read it was almost impossible to get in unless you have already had things published with them but having read your tips, I’ll give it a go!

  2. Shirley Blair says:

    Marina, we are the opposite of “hard to get in unless you’ve had something published”. Our door is wide open to all, and nothing gives us greater satisfaction than giving a new writer their first “yes!”. We’ll be happy to hear from you. – Shirley

  3. Patsy says:

    I new PF published a lot of fiction, but hadn’t realised it worked out to 17 stories a week! (I doubt even you couldn’t write that many, Della!)

    I’ve tried and failed (lots of times) to get a story in. I haven’t given up yet though – maybe the next one will be what they’re looking for?

  4. Della Galton says:

    Never give up Patsy, that’s what I say. Though I might draw the line at writing 17 stories a week tee hee 🙂

  5. Terry Tyler says:

    Most interesting, and also amusing! I doubt however many young romances TPF features, though, that it would shed its image of appealing to those who…. well, disapprove of fiction that mentions the consumption of alcohol! I love the honesty of this list of specifications; it’s kind of saying, “look, we know it’s not for everyone, but here it is”! But what a terrific opportunity for people who write to this sort of formula, and there are many, many of them; it’s the older version of chick lit, really, isn’t it. (No, I can’t write that, either!)

  6. Jan Baynham says:

    Thanks for the tips, Della. I have sent a couple of stories to PF but with no luck. I shall have another ‘go’, though. It was great to read Shirley’s comment re- a new writer’s first acceptance.

  7. Wendy Clarke says:

    It’s important to remember that even regular PF writers started from nothing. I’m sure you’d agree, Della – It’s not about who you are but about how you write and whether if fits what the magazine editors are looking for.

    • Della Galton says:

      Hi Wendy, yes absolutely. And while we’re on the subject of writing for the Friend, I just read your Written in the Stars story – that may not be the title but you know which one I mean. Absolutely loved it 🙂

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