Have you been good this year? Were you on ‘the list’? No, I’m not talking about Santa’s list of good little children, but of Take A Break’s list of preferred good fiction writers?

Last Thursday some of us received an email advising us of changes being made at TAB Towers, where Fiction Feast is put together. There were two different emails issued, depending upon which list you were on: one to those who were lucky enough to be on TAB’s list of preferred fiction writers, and those, like me, who were not.

In the future, only those who are on that preferred list can submit short stories for consideration. The rest of us can go elsewhere.

Unsurprisingly, social media and facebook groups erupted with dismay. It wasn’t great news for those of us who are not preferred. Especially coming three days before Christmas.

I’ve also seen the email that the ‘preferred’ writers got, and it’s clear from that that there are staff changes at TAB Towers too, with the existing staff being ‘wished well’ for the future. Make what you will of that euphemism.

But this is the business of writing. Publishing fiction in magazines is expensive. Due to the volume of submissions received it is a labour intensive process. Magazine circulations are falling, advertising revenue is falling, magazines need to cut costs.

It’s clear that the preferred writers are those who’ve had numerous stories published in Fiction Feast in 2015 and 2016. I’ve had a few, but clearly not enough. Perhaps that was my fault for not targeting (or even writing more stories for) this publication.

It’s frustrating that I’ve had a market taken away from me. But the future depends upon the actions I take in the future.

So there are two choices here: moan about how unfair the world is, or do something about it. Find a new market. Explore a new genre. (Who knows, you might find you enjoy writing non-fiction.) I know what I’m going to do.

Every so often in the publishing world there are reverberations from the slamming shut of the doors of opportunity (many of the women’s magazine’s have dropped their fiction slots, and My Weekly only uses previously published writers). These are all things we have no control over. So rather than waste energy trying to fight such decisions it is much better to channel that energy into things that you can change. (Perhaps now is the time to self-publish your short story anthology on Amazon?)

Congratulations to those on the preferred list. ( And they have worked hard to get there through regular submissions – and only by doing that were they able to achieve regular acceptances – something they did without the knowledge of what was going to pass.)

Next week is a new year. For those of you disappointed by this decision – put it behind you. Enter more short story competitions instead. Start writing longer fiction. Take a moment to consider the opportunities.

Make 2017 a great creative year.

Good luck.