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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

WORKSHOP: Confession Writing

Confession Writing - Pat Byrdsong

Read the article in the comments section.


rootwomin said...


i am fascinated by the growth in this market right now.

can you speak to how you got started in it and any trends you see happening in it?

also do you think that there is a market for alternative lifestyle ( interracial, interreligious, and gay/lesbian/bi) confession writing? if so, what magazines have you noticed these type of stories in?

thank you,

meri #129

Leah Mullen said...

Hi Pat,

Hope all is well.

I have several questions. As you know I've sold two confessions. I've written more that I've submitted and have more on the way.

I'm wondering what's the best approach an author can use to get steady work as a confession writer? Should he/she always write the confession first or is it possible to sell an idea? Can we submit say 5 stories at once or just one at a time? And if we don't hear back for say 8 months does that mean the story has been rejected?

take care,

Leah Mullen (badge 25)

SORMAG said...

Writing for the Confessions Market

It can be frustrating to work on a novel. For days, weeks, months, even
years, you are working on perfecting your manuscript. You want to make
the best that it can be so that you can realize your dreams and become
published author. Or you’re a published author and you’re in between
You want to continue writing, but you’re not ready to tackle a novel
Or, you’re a slightly intimidated to start a novel. You want to build
your confidence before you start to write that novel that will get you
noticed by an editor.

Well, confession writing is the perfect alternative. Confession writing
allow you to develop your craft and get paid in the interim. This short
story format helps writers to develop their skills to assist in their
writing. And confessions can be considered the earlier cousins of
because the stories are written in the first person.

As the former editor of True Confessions, I was always on the look out
terrific stories and new writers—and all confessions editors do! The
confessions market is an excellent market for writers who are starting
And confession editors are eager to work with and buy from writers.

This workshop will give you the secrets to help you get published in
lucrative market. And will offer practical solution and tips to
into the confessions market.

Pat Byrdsong

Anonymous said...

The best way to get into the confessions market is to write a compelling story with a tantalyzing title that will encourage the editor or associate editor to pick it up and read. It also helps to read the magazine you want to submit to help determine the type of stories that the editor is interested in purchasing.

For example:
True Confessions likes stories that are less than 18 pages; 14 pages would probably be the ideal and average.
True Love will buy longer stories. They have bought stories as long as 10,000 words. But that doesn't mean you should pad the story. Write the tightest story that you can. Then reread again a few days after you've written it and edit it some more.
Black Confessions and Jive's editor likes stories with villanous women, adventure, and love triangles.

But as a writer, you should put your own distinctive spin on it that makes the story fresh and readable. As for the True's, i.e., True Confessions, True Love, True Romance, True Story, and True Experience, the stories should be true-to-life and conversational.

Pat Byrdsong

Pat Byrdsong said...

There is no limit to the number of stories you can submit at one time. However, it may take more time for the editor to read them all. I would suggest never submitting more than two or three together unless the editor specifically requests more or asks for all you have.

Pat Byrdsong

Pat Byrdsong said...

Each editorial team has a different standard for reading stories. When I was at True Confessions, I allowed writers to submit via email. However, that is not the norm. Most editors prefer to get their stories via snail mail with a disk accompanies the story. The story on the disk should be saved as a MS Word document and a Rich Text Format document. Some editors prefer MS Word while others prefer Rich Text Format. So if you send it both ways, you'll be able to meet each editor's requirements.

Writers may wait more than one year before hearing back from an editor. In addition to reading stories, the editor must also edit, proofread, work with Art Director and plan the entire issues includes departmentals/features. So, each editor has an enormous amount of work.

I always told writers that they should feel comfortable to withdraw stories from TC if they felt they had waited too long for a response. That is not necessarily the way all editors think. You can try to ask each editor or associate editor what is the normal time length before a decision is made. Then wait for that time before sending a letter or email. However, you may hear as quickly as a few short weeks. Be patient, your story will be read.

Pat Byrdsong

Pat Byrdsong said...

I got into the confessions market by a flux. I went to an interview as practice and got the job. I was fortunate enough to work and learn from a terrific editor who eventually became the Editorial Director. Now, she's an Editor at a major celebrity magazine. I loved working in the confessions marekt. It is rewarding to have stories presented to readers that are both entertaining and helpful to readers. At True Confessions, I started a Help Page, which provided readers with information to help them with life's challanges, such as Breast Cancer, Diabetes, etc.

Pat Byrdsong

Pat Byrdsong said...

There is no taboo with the confessions, but they probably accept less stories about gay/lesbian life. The magazines do publish stories about interracial and interreligious relationships. True Confessions would probably publish stories about interracial relationships and True Romance probably would also. But the focus of True Romance is romance.

The best way to find out what each editor wants is to request guidelines. You should probably send a self-addressed stamped envelope and request guidelines. True Romance may provide them via email, but I don't think most of the editors will.

True Love tends to buy more single women stories, more in the line with chick-lit. They would also buy more wacky ways lovers meet and more adventurous stories.

True Story tends to buy more traditional households stories. They also will probably publish more stories about military families.

True Romance focuses more on relationship and romance stories.

I'm not certain about True Experience but you should contact that edtior directly.

True Confessions has a new editor so the new editor is probably changing the focus of the magazine. I would suggest you contact that editor directly to find out the new focus. Traditionally, the magazines published family relationships and grittier stories than the other "True's."

The following is a list of editors and email addresses:

True Story, True Love,
Alison Way

True Experience
Jennifer Callahan

True Romance
Nell Miller

True Confessions
Nathasha Brooks-Harris

Black Romance/Bronze Thrills
Nathasha Broks-Harris

Black Confessions/Jive
Marcia Mahan
(I'm not certain about her email address, so you can email me and I'll get it for you. Just write that we talked at Shades of Romance online conference.

I haven't talked much about the black confessions magazine. Those magazines feature female narrator-only stories (the True's do have male-told stories sometimes) and their stories tend to be racier and sexier than the "True's." In the past, some of the magazine required sex scenes. That is no longer true for all of them, but the stories are dedicated to romance and the relationships.

Please feel free to ask any additional questions. I'll try to help as much as I can to steer you in the right direction to be successful selling confessions.

Pat Byrdsong

Pat Byrdsong said...

If you're sending a story snail mail, which is preferred by most editors. Send the story with a disk and story saved as MS Word and Rich Text Format with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the specific editor and magazine name to:

Name of Magazine
Dorchester Media
333 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001

Leah Mullen said...

Hi Pat,

Thanks for your comments. I've been asking other panelists about careers in publishing. If a confession writer wanted to transition into editing a confession magazine. How can she/he get started?



Shelia said...

Thanks for this information.

Shelia (Badge#16)

Pat Byrdsong said...

Editing for a confessions magazine largely depends on the openings at the company. Editors have often been promoted from Associate Editors, but that hasn't always been the case.
The best way to find out what's gong on is to maintain a good relationship with the editor. Let the editor know that you're interested in editing opportunities at the company. Then sharpen your editing skills.

Pat Byrdsong said...

I would encourage writers to write for this market. You are paid for work and it's an excellent place to start and develop as a writer. And if you establish a relationship with an editor, she may contact you with an occasional assignment. Or, you may be able to pitch ideas directly to the editor instead of waiting to hear from an editor regarding a story.

Remember that confessions editors have to fill a magazine each month with at least nine or ten stories, so they are always looking.

Leah Mullen said...

Thanks Pat.

Leah (#25)

Dyanne said...

Pat, if you're still hanging out, I just wanted to say hi.


Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Hi Pat,
You've provided some very valuable information for a writing looking to break into confession writing for various magazines. I've already started querying the internet for further information/guidelines for the magazines you listed. Thanks

Love & Peace,
VeeJay, Badge 121 www.vanessaajohnson.com

Pat Byrdsong said...

If you want more information after the conference or if I can assist in anyway, please feel free to email me at patbyrdsong@hotmail.com. Write now! Get published soon. Keep up the good work and continue writing--especially for the confessions market!

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