mss typed accurately and intelligently, obvious slips being eliminated

Ah, those were the days. When ads had private addresses and manuscripts were typed intelligently by people like Miss W.L. Pope of Handsworth who could spot an obvious slip when they met one.

I found this delightfulness in the sepia tinged pages of The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book 1935, a hard cover, novel-sized book published by A&C Black Limited, Soho Square London, which also includes ads for writing schools, journalism programs, private tuition “ENGLISH FOR AUTHORS AND JOURNALISTS” by Mr. Hubert Wolff, a request for British songs and lyrics (please send to the British Song Society; “write now for a free prospectus”), ads for Literary Agents anxious to read, among other things, the highly sought after “travel and adventure stories from authors who live abroad”.

The actual point of the book is writing markets. And to that end there exists an A-Z listing between the thick block of front and back page advertisements.

And wherein you will find magazines looking for submissions… magazines such as The Aryan Path, founded 1930, India, (“mysticism, philosophy, comparative religions and brotherhood”),

Boys’ Friend Library, founded in 1895 and requesting 64,000 word ‘short’ stories (adventure and mystery),

and The Boys’ Magazine, founded 1887, “stories suitable for boys of better class”, hobbies, handicrafts, stamps, engineering, etc., no fiction and nothing exceeding 600 words” [are we meant to understand that boys of better class have a limited power of attention?],

The Boys’ Own Paper, founded 1879, (“fiction, articles on games, travel, adventure, and construction and other subjects of interest to boys about 12-16 years old. Both stories and articles are acceptable but must be bright and full of incident.”),

Cement and Cement Manufacture, founded 1928, (“articles in any language on the manufacture and testing of Portland cement”),

Dairymaid, The Midland Counties, founded 1928, (“brightly written, informative articles of 1,000 to 1,500 words of interest to homes in large towns in the Midlands, also articles interesting to housewives, including plain needlework, art needlework, knitting and cookery”),

Draper and Drapery Times, (“constructive articles describing better ways and oncoming productions immediately helpful to either the textile manufacturer, wholesale or retail trader”),

Home Companion, founded 1897, (“strong, dramatic serial stories appealing to artisan working girls and women, a love element, quick movement and exciting, homely people, original but human in plot and simply told, 4,000 words”),

Mabs Fashions, (“articles of interest to women”),

Mabs Weekly, (“sister magazine to Mabs Fashions, containing serial stories, dress ideas and renovations, fancy work for the home, beauty and cookery”),

Nuneaton Chronicle, (“uses short informative articles on out of the way Warwickshire archaeology. Payment is not high; the Editor is very courteous to contributors”),

Peg’s Paper, founded 1919, (“weekly fiction paper for girls, short stories 2,000 to 3,500 words, or long stories to 10,000 words, serial stories, a strong love and dramatic interest necessary”),

Post Annual, founded 1921, (“annual popular illustrated magazine dealing with Post Office questions, designed to extend public understanding of postal service, lightly written articles 2,500 to 3,000 words on Post Office matters, stories having a Post Office flavour, humorous drawings dealing with different aspects of the Post Office”),

~

The edition contains markets in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, New Zealand, the U.S., as well as notices of literary contests, advice and warnings to composers, info on copyright, libel, agents, pen names, pseudonyms, submission of photographs, censorship, literary prizes, markets for writer/illustrators, for writers of greeting cards, various schools of film and playwriting, and numerous ads similar to the above for intelligent typing and ‘duplicating’ services (“ten pence per thousand words”) by Dorothy Allen, Miss Stuart, Nancy McFarlane, Miss E.M. Shaw, Mrs. Haggard, et al.

Interesting to see what’s changed and what hasn’t, much. Sport, engineering and adventure being encouraged for boys and domestic arts and romance being doled out for girls. Some progress in that area but maybe not enough since 1935.

I’m also sad that stories in many magazines and papers have long gone out of fashion, and that there seem to be fewer (paying) markets for writers (of cement and drapery especially) and saddest of all… the loss of post office intrigue and humour. Surely that is one rich vein waiting to be tapped.

 

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