Monday, 22 March 2010


Congratulations to Vic, whose filler has been accepted by Take a Break's Fate and Fortune magazine. In his email, Vic says of the editor, "She asked me if I have a photo of me as a scout (as you predicted) - unfortunately I haven't. Her second choice is a photo of me as a boy. I have one of those and have emailed it to her."

I am obviously overjoyed for two reasons. Firstly, that Vic has done as the editor asked and found a picture that meets the editor's requirements, even if it isn't her first choice. As a result he will be published. The second reason is that it's nice to know that I was right!

Pictures are so important these days and not just for articles. The letter and filler market needs pictures just as much, if not more. A friend of mine had a picture published in a magazine once. It was of a sign. "Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Fortune Teller could not be here today." The picture says it all! You don't need anything else!

Whatever you submit, always ask yourself, do I have a picture that I can send with this? Often, especially for the letter pages, the pictures are quite small when they are published, so you don't need to have the photographic equipment of David Bailey or Lord Lichfield. Sometimes, a mobile phone image is enough.

Look out for funny signs, amusing situations or people just being silly. The chances are, the image and a sentence or two will net you £25, £50 or even more if you send it to the right place.Take a Break, That's Life, Real People, Pick Me Up and many more need photos for their letters pages, and some of the specialist hobby magazines like to see pictures of readers with their own magazines in unusual places.

So, next time you're just about to send something off, just stop and ask yourself - can I illustrate this in any way? As Vic has found out, you may not have the perfect image, but sometimes any second choice image is better than none.

Good luck ... and don't forget to smile!


  1. Well done Vic! I'm writing fillers and letters for Assignment three at the moment and it's driving me insane! I'm getting into a muddle over what a filler actually is - even though I've read the course material I'm still not sure! I'll have to read it again until it sinks in through the thick mud that is my brain!


  2. I love those kinds of photos, and they work really well as Wordless Wednesday blog posts.

    I found your blog via the Writers Bureau website. I've just signed up as a WB student, and I'm devouring my initial course material and other resources.

    I look forward to learning from you...


  3. You are so right Simon and I learnt my lesson in a very pleasant way.
    Several years ago I sent a letter to BEST about my son and my brother's daughter being born within minutes of each other in the same hospital.
    The editor emailed me and said she wanted to print the letter but if I had a photo of the two cousins together it would go from being a regular letter £25 to being a photo-letter £50 and if they really liked the pic. it could be the Star letter £75 - which it was.
    Now I make sure to always have my camera around and have netted several more successful fillers with extra money for the photos.

  4. Thank you very much for the mention Simon - it's great to see my name in print ;0) And thanks also to Julie for a very welcome 'well done'

    I did struggle at first with fillers Julie, until I saw them as mini articles - almost like a brief abstract of a full length article.

    I've been laid up with a heavy cold the last few days but am now up and about again and researching assignment 5.

    Simon's blog has proven itself as an indispensable writers resource in its own right. Great humour too. Cheers Si!