Advice & Tips,  Writing

Writing for Women’s Magazines

I’m fairly new to the womag market, but sold my first one within four months of submitting stories, so if I can do it, you can too. Here are my top tips to help you start writing for women’s magazines.

Ignore your Demons and Doubts
Yes, you will be competing with regular womag writers and well known authors, but it doesn’t mean you cannot get a foot in the door. It’s a bit about luck, as well as good writing and marketing to the right magazine. Many people think Take a Break is hard to get into, but they bought the first story I ever sent them and yet nothing I send to People’s Friend is right for them, but there are many who are regularly published there. It can depend on who reads your story and what they’ve already received. It doesn’t necessarily mean your story isn’t good enough. So get writing and give it a go.

Choose your Market
Editors receive 100s of stories a week and only publish one or two in their weekly magazine, so this makes competition very hard. People’s Friend tend to publish more than most. Choose one that also offers a monthly Fiction magazine with 20 short stories or more and you have a better chance, then buy a few copies to get an idea of what they like. Sometimes the Fiction magazines are hard to find in your local retailer and are more likely to be in WH Smith or you can buy online with companies such as

Get the Guidelines
Once you have decided which magazines you want to target, go online and download their guidelines. Read them carefully. There is no point in spending time perfecting a story to find it’s not in the format they require or a subject they do not accept and it goes straight in the ‘no’ pile.

Write Something Unique
Editors are very good at telling you what they don’t want, but can’t really tell you what they do want. Even after reading a few of their magazines, you may get a rough idea of how much dialogue they seem to like or whether they prefer first or third person stories, but it’s very hard to put a name to the type of stories they print. You can’t say one prints romance stories or one prints thrillers. The subject matter is weird and wonderful at times. So try to be different and you stand a better chance.

Be Patient & Plan Ahead
Most magazines take 3 months to turn your story around and you must wait until you’ve heard, before you can submit elsewhere. Never chase up a story until after this amount of time, or it could end up in the rejection pile pretty quickly. I learnt this early on and I’ve heard of others who have had the same experience. Sometimes when a story is taking longer, it can mean it’s gone for a second read, so patience is the name of the game. Also bear in mind the 3 month turnaround when writing seasonal stories and also the fact magazines tend to work 3 months ahead, so send in plenty of time. I would send six months before the season you’re aiming at, such as Christmas stories.

Turn Rejection into Another Opportunity
Keep a record of where you’ve sent your stories and if it is returned as not suitable, don’t take the rejection to heart, but look at it as a new marketing opportunity and review it, maybe amend it in places and submit elsewhere.

You can find details about submission guidelines and other handy information at Womagwriter, but it’s always wise to check for more recent guidelines direct from the magazines.

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