1.Waitrose Kitchen – £1 in-store, monthly
The main focus of this magazine is food/cooking and all the letters in the August issue were about recipes or articles from previous issues.
The writer of the ‘Letter of the Month’ receives a prize (a hamper filled with food goodies in the issue I read) but other letters don’t receive a prize.
I wrote in response to an article entitled ‘Should You Go On Holiday On Your Own?’ in which two writers described their respective experiences of holiday-ing alone (with the emphasis on the food they’d eaten – or in the case of the man, who’d gone on holiday without his family, ostensibly to write, but who was soon bored, lonely and guilt-stricken – the food they didn’t eat!)
Write to: WK, John Brown, 136-142 Bramley Road, London W10 6SR or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. TV Choice – 42p, weekly
TV Choice is, of course, a TV listings magazine, with lots of adverts and articles about – you’ve guessed it – TV stars and TV programmes.
They print about 5 readers’ letters a week, (‘Have you got views on telly things?’ is the call to action!) and pay £10 for the best letter and £5 for all the others.
It’s simple really – just drop them a line about a TV programme you’re enjoying or not enjoying. You don’t even need to read the magazine for this one, although I’d recommend a quick ‘flick through’ in the newsagents so you can see the style of the letters they print (the Letters page is at the back).
I wrote about the new programme on Channel 5, ‘The Batchelor’ , which, sad person that I am, I have to admit I’m rather looking forward to (I’ve seen the American version). In a nutshell, it’s a reality show, where one man (‘the Batchelor’) gets to choose a girlfriend from 25 women, via various ‘dates’ and activities (not those sort of activities! At least, I don’t think so….). Anyway, my complaint was, that the Batchelor they’ve chosen is the very undesirable (in my humble opinion!) Gavin Henson! Why?! It could have been sooo much better! (Bradley Cooper, for example! Or Jim Sturgess!) And basically, that’s my letter.
Write to: Choice Letters, TVChoice, Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London NW1 7DT. Or email: email@example.com
3. Full House! – 50p weekly
Who could resist the headlines on the front cover of this magazine? From the bizarre to the downright hilarious: “I married my DEAD boyfriend” , “I was TOO TUBBY to ride a HORSE!” and, my favourite, “Eeek! My knickers are HAUNTED!!” (complete with photo of a pair of pants with a ‘Wooooo’ speech bubble).
Full House! Pays £50 for letters with a photo or £25 for letters without a snap. Send them to FREEPOST FULL HOUSE! or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of ‘tragic’, ‘triumphant’ and ‘spooky’ real-life stories, very much a tabloid format. ‘Just Kidding’ is a page of kids’ photos. They pay £25 for every one and they just seem to be a picture of a cute child and a line or two about who they are (need to be a relative, I guess – not just some random child in the street!). Email: email@example.com
Then there’s ‘Potty Pets’ page. A bit like the kiddies one, they pay £25 for a photo of your pet and a few lines about them. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
They also pay £25 for every tip with a photo. Email: email@example.com
And this magazine pays £100 for your holiday story, with photos. They ask you to drop them a line at Travel, FREEPOST FULLHOUSE! (yes, that’s the full address!)
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org . The issue I looked at had a holiday in Bornea – so probably the more unusual the better – and included some ‘facts’ about how much the holiday cost and the best time of year to go, plus some ‘insider tips’. But it’s probably worth sending them your photos and a few lines about the holiday to see if they’re interested (and how many words, etc they want), before you go ahead and write the whole article.
I sent them a cute picture of my god-daughter in her Burns Night Tam O’Shanter. Maybe they’ll hold onto it until January and put it in then?
4. Mature Times – free, monthly (pick it up in your local library)
Mature Times is a slim newspaper-format magazine, definitely aimed at senior citizens. Its strapline is, ‘The voice of our generation’ and August’s issue included articles on a 91-year old ‘wing walker’ and, intriguingly, the news that the National Trust has ‘opened its doors to a comic strip’ and allowed the characters from The Beano loose on some of their historic properties.
I wrote in response to a front-cover article about libraries (author Philip Pullman, who is one of many campaigning to stop the closure of so many of our libraries, has said, “Libraries are not just a source of books. Many of us feel that they symbolise something more, that Britain is a civilised place.”)
They have a healthy-looking letters page, with about 12 letters published but there is only a prize for the Star Letter (which, in August, was 2 audiobooks). So, you’re not going to get rich by writing to Mature Times, but if you want to send them a comment, email: email@example.com
Or write to: Mature Times, Highwood House Publishing Limited, Highwood House, Winters Lane, Redhill, Bristol BS40 5SH.
Update: a couple of days after I emailed them my letter, I got a message to say they’d put my letter on their website. Here it is! Hmm… I suppose that means it’s not going in the magazine and I’m not going to be in with a chance of a prize! Ah well, I probably got my timing wrong. I will try again another time!