Here’s what you need to know if you want to write for our magazines.

One of the key foundations of the Film Stories project is to ensure, wherever we can, we lower the drawbridge of opportunity. That we want to provide a point of entry to the industry for those who are otherwise struggling to find one. That’s not to say we don’t welcome contributions from experienced writers: that’s where most of our material comes from. But then, we also figure that the only way writers become experienced is to get experience.

We publish two print magazines: Film Stories and Film Stories Junior. And whilst we’ve covered this in various forms before, we figured a single ‘how to pitch’ Q&A post would be useful.

Here, then, is what you need to know…

What are you looking for?

Good question, and in truth, if we fully always knew that, life would be easier. If you head to our online store and search out issue 7 of Film Stories, the digital version is available free of charge. Likewise Film Stories Junior issue 1. Take a look through. We’re pretty mainstream, we don’t tend to go big on comic book movies or superhero films, and likewise, there’s little point us doing huge Kubrick/Hitchcock etc lookbacks, as everyone’s done that at some point.

All we can tell you on this is come up with things that interest you, and pitch those. We’re UK-based, so tend to like pitches with a UK leaning. But far from exclusively so.

How far ahead do I need to pitch?

Print magazines tend to work at least two months ahead. As such, there’s little point pitching something reactive to something happening right now, as likely the moment will have passed by the time the next available issue is out. Likewise with film releases too. Thinkpieces around new releases rarely work in print for us either, sadly.

Do you take pitches from non-UK writers?

Yes, but it’s a lot trickier for us when it comes to payments. We have to bear that in mind when it comes to commissions sometimes.

Do you pay?

Yes. Not much, but we do. As we’ve said from day one, our rates are low, but we’re taking nothing ourselves. If we grow and succeed, the plan is to grow rates and be transparent about that. We currently work to £30 a page in the magazine, and £20 for website pieces. Again: we take no income, and haven’t in the 18 months Film Stories has been running.

With Film Stories Junior, each article writer gets a £20 book token, that we pay for ourselves.

One thing, though: everybody who works for Film Stories (apart from us) gets paid. Nobody works for exposure. Writing has value.

Furthermore, I do need to clarify: we do not send out a free copy if your work is published. That’d be very costly for us to do, and the only way for us to sustainably do that would be to reduce payment rates, that we don’t want to do. The half-way house is a PDF copy is available if you can’t afford/don’t want a copy. It is not expected, although obviously appreciated if you can, that you support the magazine should you get work published in either Film Stories of Film Stories Junior.

Do you take pitches from unpublished writers?

Yes. What’s more, at least two writers in every issue of Film Stories are getting their first paid writing work.

How do I pitch?

It’s actually very simple. Firstly, don’t write an article entire. We can’t read them, in case we’re working on something similar already. Instead, send us an email to pitches at filmstories dot co dot uk (please note this is a new email address for pitches). A pitch idea just needs to be a bullet point and 50 words or so. If we’re interested, we’ll come back to you and get you to flesh it out a bit. But keep the initial ideas to the point.

Then, once done with your pitches, tell us a little bit about yourself, and link to some of your other work, if appropriate. No worries if not.

Do I need to include a CV?

Lord no.

Will I get a reply?

Yes.

Will it be quick?

No.

We’re a small independent publisher, making, promoting, selling, posting and working on magazines. We tend to have a three to four week backlog of pitches to get through, and do try and get back to everybody, even if it’s to say no. If you’ve not heard anything after a month, don’t be shy about using the ‘forward’ button and sending your pitch to us again.

How long will it take to get paid if my pitch is accepted?

We generally pay two to three weeks after the publication of an issue, and do a payment run a month. You will need to send us an invoice, though.

How does Film Stories Junior work?

Similar drill. This is our magazine for under 15s, where the bulk of our writers are under 15 too.

The email address is different – junior at filmstories co uk – and pitches can be quicker and we don’t need background details on you, save for your age. Just send us some ideas and we’ll take it from there.

Feel free to add any further questions in the comments, and we’ll add them to this post. And do spread the word. We spend our budget on paying writers, and that leaves nothing for marketing. Without word of mouth, we can’t keep going! Thank you for all your help and support…

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