Writing Tip Number Seven

Here is my Writing Tip Number Seven for when you’re ready to submit work. And also my writing news and competition ideas.

Writing Tip Number Seven is:


After you’ve edited your work as much as you can and followed advice from trusted critics, it’s time to submit for publication.

Short Stories

To place a short story, always read magazine guidelines carefully. If you’ve written a dark horror story, don’t send it to a popular women’s magazine. If you’ve created a coffee break romance, don’t waste time emailing a literary magazine. Also check that the publication is currently open for submissions and that you match the requested word count, line spacing and font etc.  Competition for publication is stiff and standards are high so attention to detail is vital. Busy editors will dismiss submissions out of hand if the basics are wrong.

Writing Magazine

Writing Magazine advertises current opportunities – both in the UK and overseas – for stories, poems, plays and novels. I’ve been a subscriber for many years and have often achieved publication as a direct result of articles and adverts in Writing Magazine.

Finding an Agent

If you are seeking an agent for your novel and want to know how to write a submission letter, I refer you to an excellent blog post by Phoebe Morgan.

Phoebe is Editorial Director at Trapeze Books and the author of two bestselling psychological thrillers. (See my reviews here and here.)

Check out Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook to identify suitable agencies and double-check each website to find named agents within the agency who are accepting submissions.


Creative Writing Competitions are well worth entering. If you are placed in the top three, there’s usually a cash prize and the opportunity to be published in print or online. If you’re short or long listed, there’s a sense of achievement that can spur you on to keep writing.

For an additional fee, some competitions offer a critique service so, even if you don’t progress beyond the first round of judging, you can gain valuable feedback on your story. For example, check out the critique service offered by Henshaw Press in their regular short story competitions.

The following competitions are currently running. Check the websites for closing dates, eligibility, entry fees and rules.

Val Wood Prize for Creative Writing

Exeter Flash Competition

Green Stories Full Length Novel featuring Sustainable Societies

Good luck with Writing Tip Number Seven!

My Writing News

This month The Perfect Neighbours has been published in Italian. As well as thanking the Italian publisher Newton Compton Editori and my agents Peters Fraser and Dunlop, I’d like to acknowledge the support I’ve had from readers, bloggers and authors. The buzz created around the English language version made the translation a realistic prospect. Grazie!

I love these translated review quotes that go with the Italian edition.

“Un costante senso di inquietudine. Questa autrice rende quasi impossibile indovinare i colpi di scena e tiene il lettore incollato alle pagine.” – Lincolnshire Life

“Una storia avvincente piena di segreti oscuri e intrighi familiari.» – Sam Hepburn

“Claustrofobico. Dark. Inquietante.” – Alex Lake

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is the crime fiction author of The Roommates, The Good Teacher, The Perfect Neighbours and Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty. The Perfect Neighbours is a Kindle Top Ten bestseller and has sold over 100,000 copies. Rachel won Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been shortlisted in various competitions including the Bristol Short Story Prize. She was born in Lincolnshire and is a graduate of Aberystwyth University. She now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children.

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