Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Yours Magazine and Competition Winners

If you're looking for the Top Ten TV Show Blogfest, please click here. If I haven't got around to commenting on your blog post yet, I will. It's taking me a lot longer than I thought to read them all!

My short story, Counting the Pennies, was published in issue 98 of Yours magazine today! The magazine will be on sale in the UK until Monday 4th October. Here it is:

The publication of Counting the Pennies has been a bittersweet moment for me. On the one hand I’ve sold a short story to a magazine that averages a fortnightly readership of 280,000 plus, and only accepts 26 stories a year. But the editor has made quite a few changes. The title went from Counting the Pennies to Money, money, money (though they did use counting the pennies immediately below the title), an additional paragraph was added to the end (which I have to admit does make the ending better), and some words have been changed and sentences re-arranged. Now I don’t want you to get the wrong idea – it is still the story I wrote – just that the editor has altered and added to it in places.

I’ve read that when you sell a short story to a magazine the editor can pretty much do anything they want with it, but it still came as a shock to see the changes; especially adding the cliché ‘beating around the bush’! Maybe I’ve been spoilt with my anthology publications, where other than a few grammatical changes, the story is exactly as I wrote it.

What do you think? Have you had any experience in the women’s fiction market? I’d love to know your thoughts or experiences.

But delay those thoughts for a moment because it's time to announce the results of the competition. After assigning all 36 entrants a number, I used Random.org's True Random Number Generator to draw the three winners. And here they are:

1st Place - Jen

2nd Place - Michael G-G

3rd Place - Summer Ross

Congratulations to all three winners and thank you to everyone who entered. I'll be contacting the winners shortly for addresses, anthology choices, and in Jen's case, a character name!


  1. OOOOH!!! I can't wait to get my Yours copy - 4th October!!!

    Yay for you!!! This is so exciting! Well I'm excited - I do like my mags and now I have a brilliant excuse to get Yours!! Yay!

    Gosh - thanks for the insider news of what happens in magazine publishing! It's quite enlightening!

    take care

  2. Congrats to the winners! I have to say my experience with big print magazines as opposed to small online publishers is about the same as yours. In my case I've had beading magazines make changes to a pattern after I edited the proof!

  3. Congrats on the publication. I had no idea they could make changes without consulting the author first! How odd!

  4. congrats on the publication and congrats to all the winners! My e-mail address is ladywriter1@yahoo.com

  5. Congratulations, Ellie! I've not sold to a national magazine ("...yet!" She added with a wistful sigh) so cannot speak to that. My work accepted for anthologies and online stuff has suffered little editing. I used to write occasional articles for the newspaper until the editor I knew moved to another department. The new editor changed my column so much it went from humorous to snarky, and she did it without letting me know. I haven't written for the paper since because I don't trust her!

  6. Congrats Ellie, I know excatly how you feel, though it is usual for magazines to change some aspects of your story often the title, which can be very galling. When I started writing for Doll magazine I had a wonderful editor who pretty much left my articles the way I'd written them. Then a new editor turned up and rearranged many of my articles so that the paragraphs ceased to make any sense and when I did one about doll faces she called it 'making dolls' which it wasn't! So I stopped writing for that magazine. :O) Congrats again Ellie.

  7. Congrats to the winners :)

  8. Old Kitty - Thank you! You are the best!

    Janel - I can't believe they changed a pattern. What's the point of you creating one if they are going to change it? Hello! A story I can understand but not that.

    Jessica - I think it has something to do with selling the story to them, whereas with a small press publisher you are granting them the right to publish it and nothing more. I'm still trying to understand it myself!

    Summer Ross - thank you!

    Lisa - until now, I'd had the same experiences with my short stories as you. I need to take a few days to digest how I really feel about it! It might sound stupid but I have a hatred of cliches and I am not happy the editor stuck one in my story. Aggh.

    It must have been horrible being put in the position where you felt you could no-longer write for a publication. I guess that sort of thing must happen a lot.

    Dave - thank you!

    Madeleine - that must have been so frustrating for you. Like I said to Lisa, I think this sort of thing must happen a lot.

  9. Congratulations, Ellie.

    Don't feel bad about the changes - although it can be a shock, I know! I've had stories changed to the point where I hardly recognised them, straplines and illustrations that gave the twist ending away, phrases added that I would never, ever use and the odd one published with barely a comma altered.
    It's the name of the game, I'm afraid, and all the mags do it to a lesser or greater degree. I'm pleased you didn't think they'd spoiled your story and well done again!

  10. I love the short story, reading and writing it. I have been tryiing to break into a certain magazine in the U.S. with no luck. I will not give up even if I end up with book of short stories. Congrats to you! And congrats to the winners.

  11. Congratulations, Ellie...I will get a copy of Yours! :)

  12. You must be so excited to see it in such a widely read magazine! It will be lovely when it reaches the shops too, and every time you spot it on the shelves you'll know you are in there.

    I quite often have story titles changed, and sometimes character names. Sometimes an odd line is taken out here and there. Mostly I don't mind that, as the story has always still felt like mine - just slightly better!

  13. Hi Ellie, I followed you here from the Top Ten TV Shows blogfest - thanks for the comment :)

    Congratulations on your publication! Also, it's interesting to hear what was changed. I don't know if we get Yours magazine in Ireland but I'll certainly keep an eye out, I'd be very curious to read the changed bits.

  14. I spent years writing women's magazine fiction, and used to be outraged at the changes that were made to my stories (especially when the grammar was dodgy, and the style definitely not my own).But I consoled myself with the fact that (a) they were selling and (b) I was getting paid!

  15. Thom - thank you!

    Sherri - thank you. It seems this is a common experience. But, as you said, they haven't spoiled it (well, apart from the cliche), so I can't be too upset. And they're paying me for it, so that helps!

    Journalling Women - thank you! If you had asked me two years ago what I wanted to write, I'd have said a novel. But since then I've fallen in love with the short story. Keep going with your writing - it will happen!

    Len - thank you!

    Lee - thank you!

    Joanne - I am thrilled to think I'm in that magazine. Its actually out now, if you happen to be passing a newsagent. It is my story still, so I can't be too upset about any changes!

    Ellen - thank you! I'm not sure if it's in Ireland either.

    Frances - I think you've hit on something when you say the style was not your own - it's still my story, but altered to make it more like what she or the readership would enjoy. Does that make sense? I was discussing it with my other half this morning and said the same as you about selling stories and being paid. How can I moan about that?

  16. I rushed out and bought my copy today and I really enjoyed reading it, Ellie. It was an added bonus to see your smiling picture at the bottom. I guess the editors use the cliches they know their readers will identify with perhaps? :O)

  17. Squee!!!! I'm feeling on top of the world right now!!! How cool that you got your piece published in a magazine!!! I'm in awe! Absolute awe!!! And super excited that I WON!!!

    That doesn't happen every day!!!!

    Yay for a character name and the anthologies as well!!!

  18. Madeleine - thank you!

    Jen - Yay! So pleased you are excited. I'll surprise you with the anthology.

  19. Wow, that's awesome! It's a huge publication. Sorry about the changes. I think some people don't realize that our writing is art, and if changes need to be made, it feels more natural to do it yourself than have them do it. No one would dream of adding a few dabs of paint to an artist's canvas.

    Congrats to the contest winners, too. Feels good to win once in a while!

    Check out my blog when you get a chance. I've got an award for you here.

  20. Angela M - thank you for your comments and my award!

  21. Hi Ellie,
    I thought I'd add the link to this post http://simonwhaleytutor.blogspot.com/2010/08/editor-has-changed-my-work.html for anyone else who wants to see it. Glad you found it useful. :O)


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