Nowadays, there are plenty of ways you can get paid to write short stories. However, it wasn’t always like this.
Not that long ago, writing seemed an almost impossible path to go down. To get paid, you needed to get published. For that to happen, you would need to write a world-class story and have a dinosaur-sized pile of luck thrown your way. It wasn’t very plausible.
These days, a lot of places don’t require tonnes of connections or credibility. You need a good story and know where to send it.
Thankfully, it has never been easier to find the right publications for you. So, here are 25 places where you can get paid to write short stories.
A list of all of the competitions you could apply for is an article in itself, so I won’t go into too much detail here. The prizes can be lucrative, as the top prize at the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize is £2,000, for example.
You don’t always need to come first to win, either. In the above competition, you can earn $150 for just being shortlisted.
Medium is perhaps the most accessible publication on this list. You can start an account for free (although the number of stories you can write will be limited) and begin writing right away.
To get paid, you can sign up for the Partner Program. This notifies Medium that they can put your short story behind their paywall, making it eligible for further distribution.
It will likely take a lot of work before you make serious money, but the rewards will eventually come if you put the effort in.
Perhaps the best thing? You don’t need to submit your short story anywhere. You can publish it under your name and not have to wait weeks for a response. While this is accessible, it’s also unlikely you’ll make much money this way. To increase your chances, you should submit to publications, as I will now explain.
3. P.S I Love You
P.S I Love You is one of Medium’s most prominent publications. It has over 200,000 followers, all of which you can access by publishing with them. While their primary focus is on non-fiction relationship advice, they accept fiction stories on Fridays.
Medium audiences appear to enjoy non-fiction more. However, you cannot ignore an audience as big as P.S I Love You’s. Besides, the more people that see your work, the more money you will get paid.
4. The Creative Cafe
When I think of fiction on Medium, I think of The Creative Cafe. You can publish fiction of all length, and with 96,000 followers, you can be sure it meets the right audience.
While it’s a great place to host your short story, their wait times can be frustrating. But the ease at which you can submit is a welcome bonus.
5. The Arcanist
The Arcanist is a little-known Medium publication looking for your flash-fiction - 1000 words or less.
They want a clear beginning, middle, and end, only focus on science-fiction, fantasy, or horror.
The Arcanist allows you to submit a maximum of three stories at a time and will pay 10 cents a word. Stories are posted bi-weekly on Fridays.
6. Fiction Disk Magazine
Now on to the non-Medium section of this article.
Based in the UK but open to worldwide submissions, the Fiction Disk Magazine publishes established and novice authors. They have different submission calls throughout the year, with a general call for short story submissions open until 30th June.
They require stories between 1000 and 20,000 words, although most are between 2000 and 7000.
The Fiction Disk Magazine pays £20 per thousand words and sends each published author two paperback copies. They will also enter your published story into a competition, where it can earn £100 if victorious.
7. Black Warrior Magazine
As before, the Black Warrior Magazine publishes fresh and widely known authors alike.
It asks for fictional stories up to 7000 words, with the editors specifically valuing “absurdity, hybridity, the magical [and] the stark.” It also accepts flash-fiction of up to 1000 words.
If you write non-fiction, they would like a maximum of 7000 words that “foregrounds the history of emotions rather than the history of facts.”
While you pay a $3 submission fee, you can earn a one-year subscription and an undisclosed fee.
8. Fantasy and Science Fiction
Yep, you guessed it. This magazine specializes in fantasy and science-fiction, particularly on the humorous side.
They ask for a maximum of 25,000 words and pay 7-12 cents a word. That totals a possible $3000.
I doubt the world will ever run out of fantasy or science-fiction stories, and yours could be the next Game of Thrones (at least give it a good ending).
As a writer, you may be too familiar with low pay rates. Fireside is looking to change that for you.
They offer 12.5 cents a word, with a limit of 5000 words - considerably more than some on this list.
However, you must fit their deadlines, as the submission period is short.
10. The People’s Friend
The People’s Friend wants you to be a good fit for them. So to avoid rejection, they suggest reading their guidelines and follow their magazine for a few weeks. This way, you can get a feel for their style.
Once you feel comfortable submitting, they will take stories, poems, features, or even pocket novels.
As a new writer, you’ll earn £80 (as it’s UK-based), but you’ll make £110 after six successful submissions.
11. The Sun Magazine
The Sun is one of the most potentially lucrative options available to you. While they are strict with what they publish, you can earn up to $2000 for a non-fiction or fictional story.
They say that some of their stories have been selected as the Best American Short Stories on their website.
Zizzle is looking for fiction that appeals to kids from age 11 onwards. They pay a flat rate of $100 for a flash story (500-1200 words) and $250 for a short story (2000-45000 words.
As a bonus, some of the accepted work is illustrated.
13. The New Yorker
If you want notoriety, you want to be published in The New Yorker. With a vast and fiercely loyal readership, they have been around for decades. Moreover, they accept all submissions for short stories.
Despite this, it is next to impossible to get published in The New Yorker. However, if you do, your writing career will skyrocket. You won’t need to be looking at lists like this anymore.
14. Asimov’s Science Fiction
Notice a recurring theme here? If you’re a science-fiction writer, there are countless ways you can get paid to write short stories.
Asimov’s Science Fiction is one of the more established ones, having won numerous awards.
For a maximum of 20,000 words, they will pay 8-10 cents a word.
15. One Story
This magazine does what it says on the tin: one story, every three to four weeks. So if you get published, your story will be in the spotlight. That means you need a good one.
You can write about anything, as long as it’s between 3000 and 8000 words. For that, they pay $500 and 25 copies.
16. Pulp Literature
Have an engaging plot and some good character development? Then Pulp Literature is the place for you.
They publish fiction of all genres, with stories under 5000 words having the best chance of publication, with a maximum of 10,000 words.
For the first 7000 words of your story, they will pay 7 cents per word.
17. Vocal Media
Vocal Media is similar to Medium, just not as good.
Like Medium, the more you write, the more you earn. Plus, you can write about whatever you want - including short stories.
They will pay you $3.8 per 1000 views, but if you are a paid member, that jumps to $6 per 1000 views.
18. Blind Spot
Once again, a science-fiction and fantasy-based publication makes its way onto this list.
Unlike most on this list, however, Blind Spot accepts stories in both French and English.
They pay $0.08 per word for a maximum of 10,000 words.
19. Vestal Review
If your story is concise, then look no further than the Vestal Review. They want no more than 500 words and are open to all genres apart from cringe-worthy romance, science-fiction, and children’s stories.
Despite charging $2 per submission, they pay $25 for printed copies and $10 online submissions.
20. Strange Horizons
A tad different from the rest, Strange Horizons publishes speculative fiction.
While they accept 10,000 words, they prefer 5000.
They pay 8 cents per word.
21. Harper’s Magazine
Harper’s Magazine has been around for decades, claiming it is “the oldest general-interest monthly in America.”
They’re looking for thought-provoking pieces about contemporary issues, as well as fiction submissions.
As it’s older, it’s more traditional, so you’ll need to mail your submission in. Unfortunately, they don’t disclose their payments, but you can get paid to write short stories quite well here.
22. Cricket Magazine
A tad different from everything else on this list, the Cricket Magazine is targeted at ages 9-14.
While most of their pieces are between 1200-1800 words, they do sometimes serialize 6000-word stories.
They pay $0.25 a word.
23. The Threepenny Review
The Threepenny Review is a quarterly arts magazine that focuses on arts, society, and literature.
Short stories must be no more than 4000 words. They will pay a competitive $400.
To get paid to write short stories, you need to be as thought-provoking as possible, especially with AGNI. Your short story needs to be relevant to the ongoing cultural conversation and mirroring the world around us.
They pay $10 per printed page - going up to a maximum of $150.
If you want to get paid to write short stories, you need to have a good story. This publication is about the story (no surprise there).
You can flex your creative muscles here, as you don’t need to stick to formal guidelines.
For a $3 submission fee, they pay $10 per page.
You can get paid to write short stories today
There you have it. Short stories are fun to write. They challenge you to condense your story - fiction or non-fiction - into a specific word count.
Happily, you don’t need to be an established writer anymore. While credibility helps, it isn’t everything.
Use these publications and magazines to push your writing career further. Get paid to write short stories today.