Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Two Hits - one of them a breakthrough!

Apologies for my recent silence. I went away for Easter and was too busy doing Easter stuff (enjoying the sunshine and eating chocolate mostly) to blog. I did write, however and I'll post a Novel Update post after this one.

First, the good news...

The competition result that I mentioned last week? It was the Cotswold Writing Circle short story competition and one of my subbed stories got me a runner up prize of £25 and future publication in their anthology. Unfortunately they got my surname wrong (on the website and, unfortunately, the cheque) so I'm desperately trying to contact them (it would be awful if they published my story under the wrong name too). The email address on their website didn't work (bounced back) so I've tried their contact form AND left a message on their messageboard. I'll probably pop a letter in the post tomorrow as well. Better safe than sorry (and it would be nice to cash that cheque!).

The other bit of good news is that I've finally broken the women's magazine market after subbing for a couple of years on and off (yes, I know I was published in Woman's Own last year but that was as a result of a competition rather than a sub so it's a little bit different, in my book anyway).

Anyway, this morning I received a letter from My Weekly telling me that they'd love to publish the story I sent them in August last year (it was shortlisted in a WriteLink weekender competition but wasn't published). I'd assumed, because so much time had passed between subbing the story and now, that My Weekly had long since forgotten all about the story. Apparently not! That'll be my first paying publication of the year. Wah hoo! They sent the story back to me, along with a rights form I have to sign and I'm a bit confused. Do I send the story back with the form or can I assume they've already photocopied it/typed it up? Anyone know? Sally? to do a novel update post.


Quillers said...

First of all, well done, Cally! That's brilliant on both counts. My Weekly are very picky about what they take you know, so give yourself a pat on the back.

Re the returned MS, I have absolutely no idea. I've never heard of anything like that happening before. Is there a phone number on the letter? If so it might be worth giving them a ring to check. They might not realise they've returned it. I've never had one accepted then returned to me.

Cally said...

Thanks Sally. I really am very chuffed - particularly as I know how many writers are subbing stories and how hard it is to get into any of the women's magazines.

Glad it wasn't just me who thought it was odd that they send the MS back. I think I'll just send it back to them with the signed permissions letter and a note. If they have already copied it (though there are no creases round the staple to suggest they have) they can just chuck my copy in the bin and write me off as an over anxious new writer (which I am really, in this market at least).

Quillers said...

Good idea.

Yes, the womens mag market is a lot harder to crack than people think. Getting the stories pitched just right for the readership (and to please the editor) does take some skill. There are still some mags I just can't crack, but I keep trying.

I know a very successful writer of womens mags who told me that a few years ago she could send out five stories and get them all accepted (by the same editor on the same mag). Now, she's lucky if she gets one accepted. And she is a very good writer. I think it's because there are so many of us trying to crack the market now.

A. Writer said...

Well done! You must be so chuffed! I've often thought about short story writing but I'm not sure if I could do it.

Kathmcg said...

Well done Cally! I had an acceptance by My Weekly recently too (my first hit with them). They sent me the form to sign but not the MS - does seem odd. Yes I'd sign the form and return the MS with it, perhaps with a little covering note.

By the way, my writing tutor (a very successful women's mag writer) said to take note of the name on your acceptance letter. That person will handle all your subs from now on, now that you've been 'discovered' (that's their word, not mine!). So address all future subs to My Weekly direct to the name on your acceptance letter.

I believe MW pay on acceptance but having said that, I haven't had my cheque yet and my story was accepted a few weeks ago now.

Cally said...

Thanks for the advice, Kath. I've filed away the letter of acceptance so I won't lose the name of my contact. Thanks also for warning me that I might not get my cheque straight away. I'm prone to worrying about that kind of thing so it's good to be forewarned that I won't receive it immediately! Were you given a publication date for your story or is it a case of buying the magazine every week to check? (which I had to do with my Woman's Own story).

Kathmcg said...

My Weekly will send you a contributor's copy, so no, you don't have to check every week! But they might hang on to it for months before they publish it.

The other DC Thomson publications work in the same way; so does Woman's Weekly.

Take A Break/Fiction Feast is different though - they pay on pubication but tend to use a story pretty soon after accepting it. And no contributor's copy from then - receipt of cheque is the trigger for you to start scouring the newsagents.

It's a great feeling though, isn't it? Knowing someone wants to use part of their budget to pay you for your story (better than a comp win where the entry fees provide the prize money); and knowing your story will be read by potentially hundreds of thousands of people.

What a high!

Cally said...

Thanks for the congrats A.

Kath - thanks for the info. So if I receive my contributor's copy that means it's in the shops and I can send my parents out to get a copy? (They're always keen to read what I've got published. Well, the less depressing stuff anyway!)

I've got two stories with Woman's Weekly and one at Take a Break at the moment and I'm crossing my fingers that one of them will hit. It would be wonderful to get published in all of the women's magazines (that's one of my short story aims - the other is to get stories into Mslexia and QWF for which I have to put on a different short story hat).

And yes, it's a fantastic feeling to get a story published. I'd read my Mum's copies of Woman's Own for years and years so to see my story and photo in there was just surreal. Wonderful but surreal!