Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sell Yourself Short. Option #6

Magazine name:  Fast Fiction/That’s Life!

Website: www.thatslife.com.au

Country:  Australia

       Frequency: Weekly
       Australian Circulation: 185,049 (Dec 2014)
       Readership: 1,016,000 (Dec 2014)
Types of stories wanted:  Humorous, positive, contemporary stories with strong plot.  Avoid boy meets girl and HEA.  No stories narrated by animals or babies.  This is a family magazine, no graphic crimes, sex or domestic violence.  For Themes see below or go to www.thatslife.com.au/fastfictionguidelines

Setting should usually be in Australia unless there's a real need for the setting to be elsewhere eg a Scottish castle.  Set spell check for English Australia. Male viewpoint stories are welcome.  Core Target: Women 25+. Content: Real Life.

There are two ways they publish fiction:
     1) A one-page story in the weekly edition of that's life! Magazine o
     2) A range of one, two, three and four page stories in their quarterly Fast Fiction magazine, released seasonally (Summer/Spring/Autumn/Winter)

Page length and payment (if known):

1 page = 600-900 words

2 pages = 1200-1500 words

3 pages = 1600-2000 words

4 pages = 2200-2600 words

These are approximate and the final word count printed will depend on the design of the page/s. You don't need to overly cut or edit your story to fit the word counts.    

All invoices will be submitted to the finance department when the issue is sent to print. Please note the payment is for how many pages are published, not the pages/word count of your unedited original submission.

The payment rates are as follows: (In Australian dollars)

that's life! weekly magazine

(one-page story) = $300

Fast Fiction quarterly

1 page = $200

2 pages = $300

3 pages = $400

4 pages = $500

What I like: 

“If you don't hear from us...

If your story isn't accepted it can be for any number of reasons. Sometimes we have already published, or have in stock, a similar story. Or we may feel it will not appeal to our readers. But this does not mean we will not like another of your stories, so don't lose heart. Keep writing and sending them in!”

Exclusivity term: 90 days after the date of first publication. 

What I don’t like:  

  Couldn’t find anything to gripe about.

How to submit:   They accept only emaile submissions. Email your story, for both the weekly magazine and quarterly magazine, to fastfiction@pacificmags.com.au and you should receive an auto-response acknowledging your submission.

Send your stories in Microsoft Word format, as an attachment to the email. Please do not paste/write your story into the body of the email.
Send one attachment per email. Do not attach multiple stories.

Please do not heavily format the story with tabs or headings, and use single spacing between sentences. Include your name and contact details. Include the following in the subject and body of the email:
- Story Name

- Theme (* See below for themes)

- Word Count

For example: The Magician, Spooky, 1200 words

Response time: If you have not heard anything from them in 90 days, it is unlikely your story will be used. You are welcome to resubmit stories six months after your first submission.

More info:  They accept stories that have either never been published anywhere previously worldwide and/or have not been published in an English speaking publication. If it's been published in English, in the UK or USA for example, unfortunately they can no longer consider your story, so please do not submit.

Please understand that due to the bulk of emails they receive, they are unable to reply individually to submissions, nor can they reply to follow up correspondence asking if stories have been received, read or accepted.

Editor: Linda Smith. Katherine Davidson, newest editor 2015.

They have a new Writer's Agreement in place and you MUST complete it for your story to be published with them. If we don't have an agreement from you and they want to use one of your stories you can find the agreement in their website.

Send seasonal stories six months in advance (and remember Aussie seasons are opposite to those in the UK and USA.)

In the weekly magazine, they run a wide range of stories and do not publish them with strict themes, except for the annual events below. Please note for themes they will need to receive submissions at least two months before the event.

- Australia Day (Jan)
- Back to School (Jan/Feb)
- Valentine's Day (Feb)
- Easter (April)
- Anzac Day (April)
- Christmas In July (July)
- Mother's/Father's Day (May/Sept)
- Halloween (Oct)
- Melbourne Cup Day (Nov)
- Christmas (Dec)
- New Year's Eve (Dec/Jan)

For the quarterly Fast Fiction, they have SIX themes, so your story should fall into one of the following categories:

- Romance (All things love)
- Heart warmer (Sweet stories/happy endings)
- Thriller (Keeps you guessing until the end)
- Revenge (Someone gets their just desserts)
- Sixth Sense (Spooky/Scary/Spiritual/Mystic/Fate and Fortune)
- Light Bite (Everything else! A fun, easy read)


Mary Jo said...

So has anyone sold anything to this market? I have sent them maybe half a dozen stories, but no luck so far. Is American writing so different it is not acceptable to foreign readers? At least, they make it very easy to submit to Fast Fiction.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Mary Jo. I have submitted to them twice but they didn't bite. I do recall using the Australian/English spell checker, but I don't recall being clear in my stories that they were set Down Under.

Chris: Is that a legit requirement?

PS I believe Chris has sold to them.

Chris said...

Yes, Jody, I've sold loads to FF and TL. They are two of my favourite markets. They've had quite a turnover in fiction eds this past year, though, and I think it can take a while for a new one to settle in. Earlier this year I sold three stories to the last ed, two of them shorties that Woman's World hadn't liked. I did a tiny bit of tweaking, putting in a bit more back story, and they were accepted within a couple of weeks. But with the new ed I've had no success - so far. They are definitely worth persisting with tho' and I sent another just last week.

Mary Jo, you mention this 'American voice' of yours quite a lot as a reason for foreign markets not biting, yet I fail to see a great deal of difference between your work and those in FF and TL. I've sent you several samples of what they use and I think the style is quite similar - upbeat, friendly, touch of humour here and there. Actually, I think foreign markets are much more tolerant of 'different voices' than WW is - you know the struggle I've had with my too-English style at WW, yet I've sold to several other American mags and dozens more around the world. Generally, if an overseas editor likes a story enough they will tweak any obvious differences out, or ask you to make the changes. Keep trying, that's all I can say (and have done a dozen times!)

Thanks for doing this, Jody. The FF/TL guidelines are very clear and helpful and I can't understand why more WW writers don't try this easy to submit to market.

Jody E. Lebel said...


Thanks for posting. I love to hear success stories. I've made it a personal goal of mine to submit to every magazine that I include in my Sell Yourself Short collection. After reading your comments, I think I'll send FF/TL my ghost story. WW has had it for 8 months and I keep hoping...but I think it's lost.

Mary Ann said...

I also sold a story to Fast Fiction, although it was when there was a male editor, Anthony, about 2 years ago. They bought it for one of their quarterlys, and there was a beautiful 2 page spread with wonderful illustrated pictures. It was a WW story that I revamped and made longer, when they used to take already published stories. This is funny: in my story,the horseback riders come across a fawn crossing the trail. Fast Fiction changed it to a Joey (baby kangaroo)! Really, there weren't many language changes otherwise. And many thanks to Chris for suggesting it to me.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Mary Ann. This sounds like a viable market for us. :)

Mary Jo said...

Chris, I was only wondering what experience other American writers have had in the foreign market. And I am still wondering.

Susie said...

Quick question. If they say to avoid boy meets girl and HEA, why are so many WW type stories selling? Yay that they are, but it seems inconsistent with the guidelines. Unless it's only during the romance theme. Any thoughts? I'd like to consider subbing a WW reject story from a year or more ago., Thanks!

Bettye Griffin said...

I was thinking the same question Susie asked. Anybody care to answer?

Chris said...

Yes, it seems conflicting, doesn't it, but I think it's the tone of the stories they are referring to, rather than not wanting there to be any love interest at all.

Generally, Woman's World romances are focussed entirely on the meet, which can make them quite light on plot. There are exceptions, of course, but basically it's all about that initial spark between the two--always pretty or handsome--leads and the short journey they take from there to first date. There's rarely anything negative on show and if the back story's too complicated, it's unlikely to make the cut. A common complaint about WWs mysteries is that they are of the 'cosy' variety, not gritty or realistic. The same could be said of the romances. Pink, pretty, and a pleasant way to spend five minutes. I'm not being derogatory about them, it's just the way WW likes it, and you'd be daft to rock the boat.

I've said before on Jody's and Kate's blogs that the typical WW story ends where most women's magazine ones begin. Boy meets girl and they arrange to go out, full stop. But it's what else happens, the difficulties the pair have to overcome to make a go of things, that provide the interest for most other womags' romances.

The story Mary Ann had accepted by FFTL was a lovely, descriptive piece which stood out for me because of its great outdoors setting. I could see it working as well in Australia as in America, and it did. My two WW rejections had to be reworked a bit to inject a bit of friction before I submitted them to FFTL.

As an example, in a typical WW romance, the lead character might be a woman, Jenny, with a young daughter, Megan, who has just moved into a new neighbourhood after an amicable divorce. Jenny's feeling a little anxious about how young Megan is going to settle in. Next door lives a handsome man with two daughters of around Megan's age. He calls over the fence, welcoming them to the street, and the three girls strike up an immediate friendship. Later that evening the five of them enjoy a barbecue in the back yard. HEA. Now, for that to be taken by another mag there would have to be greater tension. The divorce might not have been amicable, leaving Jenny mistrustful of men. Or one of the neighbour's daughters might be initially unkind to Megan, causing the couple's first meeting to be strained. That little bit of friction will have to be resolved before the HEA ending. That's basically the difference.

So don't be put of by the 'no HEA' comment you see in the guidelines. If your story has enough warmth, depth and content, even if it is a romance, it will stand a chance.

Susie and Bettye, if either of you have anything in mind to send there and want some feedback first, I'd be happy to read it. Email me on csutton45athotmaildotcom (swap out the @ and .)

Susan Sundwall said...

Thanks, Jody. I just sent them a story and suggested it for Halloween. I have a few others I'll try, too.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@Chris Thanks for taking the time to explain and give examples for FF/TL. I have to say you're a valuable asset to this blog and an excellent overseas resource for us here across the pond. :)

Chris said...

Aw, shucks, Jody, ta muchly.