Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sue Moorcroft with Tips for writing short stories for the weekly magazine market

 Today I'm introducing Sue Moorcroft, whose novel LOVE & FREEDOM won the Best Romantic Read Award at the Festival of Romance 2011. Sue is published by Choc Lit, but she has been multi-published in short stories and knows the market backwards. Welcome, Sue! Over to you:

Sue's Tips for getting your short stories published:

  • Read the magazine, several issues.
  • List the adverts and regular columns for a rapid picture of the reader.
  • Study the style, especially the fiction. Write to it. EXCEPTION: don’t study the ‘big names’ fiction because ‘big names’ are allowed to break the rules.
  • Don’t confuse Readers’ Own Stories with the fiction. Readers’ Own Stories tend to be horrid; fiction nice.
  • Think upbeat, not downbeat. Think exasperation, not anger. Think Planet Magazine Fiction – it’s a nicer place to live than Real Life on Earth.
  • Style tends to be light, chatty, accessible.
  • Even a mature readership doesn’t want to read about old ladies being shoved into homes by busy relatives. They really, really don’t.
  • Don’t write from the point of view of an animal or inanimate object.
  • Write to the magazine for their guidelines or download them from the Internet. Follow them.
  • Avoid violence/gore/sex.
  • When you send a story to a magazine, if you have been published send a brief, friendly, covering letter saying so.
  • You need the desire to write for mags! – the operative word is ‘for’. If you don’t want to be part of a brand then magazine fiction is probably not for you. EXCEPTION. If you’re a well-known novelist you’re in a good position.
  • Write to wordcount with a tolerance of +/- 3%. Yes, really.
  • If you get a letter asking for changes and you can possibly make them, make them and send the revision with a nice letter thanking the editor for the guidance. You’re a big step closer to selling the story.

Good luck!

Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. Her latest book, Love & Freedom, won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 at the Festival of Romance. 
Sue is the author of over 130 short stories and 4 serials for the weekly magazine market, a ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction, is the head judge for the Writers’ Forum fiction competition and a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


It is my pleasure to introduce guest blogger JANE LOVERING, who recently won the Romantic Novel of the Year 2012 with "Please Don't Stop the Music" which was also shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan Award. Here are Jane's 5 top tips for writers:


1.        Don’t be too hard on yourself.  All right, there are some writers who knock out 5,000 words a day – there are just as many who write 50 and then go and have an ice cream.  Setting yourself goals is good, but make sure they are achievable for you.

2.        Don’t tell everyone you are writing a novel.  Pretend you are shut up in that room learning Sanskrit or playing Scrabble (learning a few words of Sanskrit may be advisable, just in case they ask...).  Otherwise you will be subjected to cries of ‘haven’t you finished that book yet?’ when you’ve only been at it for three weeks.  And ‘no’ isn’t an acceptable answer...
3.       Do it.  Go on, just write.  Don’t spend all your time talking about writing, thinking about writing, going to writing classes and reading ‘how to’ books on writing (although these are fabulously good, obviously).  There is sometimes a tendency for writers who are just starting out on the writing journey to become so absorbed in trying to ‘learn’ writing, that they forget that the best way to learn any skill is simply to do it.

4.        Read, read, read.  Every spare moment you have (when you’re not writing, obviously), read.  You might think that you don’t have time, but it is possible to wash dishes and read and read whilst walking the dog.  I have the bruises to prove it.

5.        Enjoy it!  Life is full of miserable, horrible tasks – writing is not one of them.  Write with a smile on your face – you are actually doing what so many people dream of...WRITING!

How much can you hide?Jemima Hutton is determined to build a successful new life and keep her past a dark secret. Trouble is, her jewellery business looks set to fail - until enigmatic Ben Davies offers to stock her handmade belt buckles in his guitar shop and things start looking up, on all fronts. But Ben has secrets too. When Jemima finds out he used to be the front man of hugely successful Indie rock band Willow Down, she wants to know more. Why did he desert the band on their US tour? Why is he now a semi-recluse?And the curiosity is mutual - which means that her own secret is no longer safe ...

Link to Jane's website