Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazines that Pay for Short Stories
I’m not terribly good at writing short stories. I struggled with it in college and I almost never write a short story for fun on my own time. However, I’m realizing more and more that submitting my novel to agents ‘cold turkey’ is a huge gamble. Agents and publishing companies want to see evidence that you are worthy of publication. This means that if you’ve had a short story in a magazine, you’re going to be a better sell than if you’ve never been published anywhere. Getting my book published is my life goal, but it isn’t going to be easy, therefore anything I can do to help that process is a good idea. At the same time, however, I need money right now, so I also want to get paid for any short stories that might be accepted. For this reason I’ve begun researching magazines where I might be able to submit. What I have found, I will share with you below, just in case you are also thinking of submitting short stories. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to write fantasy or science fiction novels as it is a way to bridge the gap between nerdy writer and published author.
Of the magazines listed here, I required three things to apply:
1. Accepted stories must be paid.
(I’m a poor writer and I need cash.)
2. Stories must be submitted electronically.
(Snail mail submissions are notoriously slow. I can cover more ground and save money on postage with e-submissions.)
3. Must be in the Fantasy or Science Fiction genre.
(That’s what I write, it’s what I want to get into, so it only makes sense that I should shoot for that market. It is because of this that I will probably not post links to magazines that publish any other genre.)
Also, before you get started you should know a few basic things:
- Almost all, if not all, of these magazines require that your story be in manuscript format. Here is a link to what that looks like.
- None of these magazines accept simultaneous submissions, so don’t submit your story to all of them at the same time. Wait until that story gets a rejection before shopping it around elsewhere.
- Some magazines use a form for submitting your story, others use email. Make sure you have a working email account and you know how to save your manuscript in a .doc or .rtf format.
- Most magazines say they are looking for character oriented stories. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t submit your plot driven story, but it’s something to consider when writing new stories you are thinking of submitting.
Having said all that, here are the magazines I’ve discovered so far (I will try to keep this list up to date as much as possible):
Title: Clarkesworld Magazine
Notes: 1,000-8,000 words long with 10c per word (up to 4,000 words) then 5c after. This magazine also has wait periods. After a rejection, an author must wait at least seven days before submitting anything else and after an acceptance; the author must wait at least six months before submitting anything else to the same magazine. Of all the magazines I’ve searched, this is one of the highest paying, though it isn’t easy to get into.
Title: Shimmer Magazine
Notes: Anything under 5,000 words and pays 1c per word with a minimum of $10. There is a good variety of subgenres accepted here and it is the only magazine I’ve ever submitted to that gave me a personalized response. I can’t guarantee everyone will get that, but it was nice to see for a change.
Title: Fantasy Magazine
Notes: 1,500-7,500 words and pays 5c per word. This magazine is strictly rooted in the fantasy genre, so if you’re shopping around a science fiction story, you might want to look elsewhere.
Title: Daily Science Fiction
Notes: 100-10,000 words and pays 8c per word. This magazine seems most interested in flash fiction pieces (less than 1,000 words) so if you have a short science fiction story lying around, this might be the right one for you.
Title: Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine
Notes: Anything under 20,000 words with 6c per word up to 7,500 words and 5c per word for stories longer than 12,500 words. Looking primarily for science fiction but some fantasy is okay. Interested in character oriented fiction.
Title: Albedo One Magazine
Notes: 3 euros per 1,000 words. As this is an Irish Magazine, it may be difficult with money conversion if you live in the states, but they say they sometimes publish international fiction. The email submission is listed below the snail mail submission address.
Title: Apex Magazine
Notes: No more than 7,500 words at 5c per word. This website requires a registration with HeyPublisher, an external writing website. Upon researching HeyPublisher, it seemed like a legitimate site where one could register for free, but I cannot vouch for it as I do not have an account.
Title: Flagship Magazine
Notes: 2,000 to 7,000 words at $25 per story (not word). This magazine seems to be looking for more of the old school/classic science fiction. If you’re into some of the greats of the genre, and you write like them, this might be the magazine to check out.
Title: Grace & Victory Publications
Notes: 1,500 to 6,000 words and pays $5 per story. They're a Canadian company but are accepting Science Fiction and Fantasy submissions from all over the world. They're also the youngest magazine on this list, which can be helpful to new authors trying to get in on the ground floor.
Other Websites that list Short Story Markets:
Further Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Resources:
I found most of the above magazines by typing in “submission guidelines fantasy science fiction” into a search engine, so if you find this article unhelpful, that is a good place to start. As I said before, I’ll try to keep this list up to date and add any new magazines I find along the way.