Monday, February 22, 2010

A Lesson For Us All ... and ... No More Crap?

If any of you follow the Womag Writer blog (for those interested in writing short stories for the women's magazines - which is an excellent blog - you'll have read about the amazing story concerning Brenda and her My Weekly short story submission.

For those of you who haven't seen it, last week, the editor of My Weekly put a call out to her regular writers saying that if anyone knew Brenda could they ask her to get in touch with the editor at My Weekly. They'd read a short story she'd written, but the cover sheet containing all of Brenda's contact details had come off and been lost in the office, so they had no means of giving her the good news!

Well, the power of the Internet meant that this news was posted on the Womag Writer blog, and a reader of this knew Brenda and so contacted her to give her the good news.

Brenda goes to the same writers' group that I go to and we had our usual meeting on Saturday, so not only did we congratulate Brenda on her success - not only is she having a story published in My Weekly, but it is also her FIRST short story to be published - but Brenda also explained what had happened in more detail.

Brenda's story was originally submitted a couple of years ago. My Weekly had rejected it saying that they didn't like the ending ... if she rewrote the ending, they would be happy to look at it again.

Now, editors don't have to give this advice - it's not in their job description - but they will try to help anyone who shows promise. And Brenda did exactly the right thing. She rewrote her story with a different ending and sent it back in. This, she did over a year ago.

It isn't Brenda's fault that her front cover sheet became detached in the My Weekly office (heavens knows what antics it got up to in the My Weekly offices for 12 months) but in most magazine offices there is a lot of paper flying around so it can happen. It is quite unusual for an editor to go to as much trouble as My Weekly's editor did, in their attempt to track Brenda down. However, perhaps because they realised that this was a story they'd seen before, and the writer had taken the editor's advice on board and done what had been suggested, that they went to all this effort.

There are two morals to this tale - if an editor gives you advice - then act upon it - it could pay dividends. And also, in addition to putting your name in the header of every page (along with the manuscript title and page number) it is worth putting an email address or contact telephone number in the footer of every page of your manuscript, in case the front sheet gets lost in the office!

Finally, regular readers of this blog will know that the Observer newspaper had a regular column in their travel section called "My Crap Holiday" and several followers have had success with this column. Well, the Observer has undergone a revamp and now sports a new look with fewer 'sections'. The travel section now forms part of the magazine and there was no sign of the 'My Crap Holiday' slot. This may be the time to advise you to stop have 'crap' holidays and start having decent ones!

Good luck!