Not sure where to send those great short stories you’ve written?
As with writing contests and fellowships, sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin. To help you figure out where to submit short stories, we’ve put together this guide to 23 publications that publish short fiction. The list includes a mix of publications across various genres and styles, ranging from prestigious, highly competitive options to those specifically seeking new and emerging voices.
While we’ll give you a brief idea of the flavor of each magazine and site, you’ll definitely want to spend some time reading your target publications before submitting to become familiar with the sort of pieces they prefer. And before hitting “send,” make sure you’re not making any of these submission mistakes!
Ready to get started? Here are 23 outlets that publish short stories.
Might as well start with a bang, right? Adding publication in The New Yorker to your portfolio puts you in a whole new league, though it won’t be easy. Author David. B. Comfort calculated the odds of an acceptance at 0.0000416 percent!
It accepts both standard short fiction as well as humorous short fiction for the “Shouts & Murmurs” section. No word counts are mentioned, though a quick scan of the column shows most pieces are 600 to 1,000 words.
Payment: Huge bragging rights; pay for unsolicited submissions isn’t specified. As of this post’s publication, no rates specifically for short stories.
2. The Atlantic
Another highly respected magazine, The Atlantic publishes both big names and emerging writers in fiction and nonfiction. Submission guidelines advise, “A general familiarity with what we have published in the past is the best guide to what we’re looking for.”
Deadline: Open. Fiction stories are submitted to email@example.com.
Payment: Unsolicited submissions are generally unpaid.
This quarterly arts magazine focuses on literature, arts and society, memoir and essay. Short stories should be no more than 4,000 words, while submissions to the “Table Talk” section (pithy, irreverent and humorous musings on culture, art, politics and life) should be 1,000 words or less.
Deadline: January to June
Payment: $400 for short stories; $200 for Table Talk pieces
Founded by Francis Ford Coppola and Adrienne Brodeur in 1997, Zoetrope: All-Story’s mission is “to explore the intersection of story and art, fiction and film” and “form a bridge to storytellers at large, encouraging them to work in the natural format of a short story.” Submissions should be no more than 7,000 words.
Deadline: As of publication, closed to submissions. In the next few months, they will reopen submissions and announce new guidelines.
Payment: None, but this magazine has discovered many emerging writers and published big names like Salman Rushdie and Gabriel García Márquez, so publication here could win you some serious prestige points.
5. One Story
One Story is just what the name says: a literary magazine that publishes one great short story every three to four weeks, and nothing more.
Its main criteria for a great short story? One “that leaves readers feeling satisfied and [is] strong enough to stand alone.” Stories can be any style or subject but should be between 3,000 and 8,000 words.
Deadline: January 15 – May 31 | September 3 – November 14
Payment: $500 plus 25 contributor copies
The Antioch Review rarely publishes more than three short stories per issue, but its editors are open to new as well as established writers. Authors published here often wind up in Best American anthologies and as the recipients of Pushcart prizes.
To make the cut, editors say, “It is the story that counts, a story worthy of the serious attention of the intelligent reader, a story that is compelling, written with distinction.” Word count is flexible, but pieces tend to be under 5,000.
Deadline: Open except for the period of June 1 to August 31
Payment: $20 per printed page plus two contributor copies
Thought-provoking is the name of the game if you want to get published in AGNI. Its editors look for pieces that hold a mirror up to the world around us and engage in a larger, ongoing cultural conversation about nature, mankind, the society we live in and more.
There are no word limits, but shorter is generally better; “The longer a piece is, the better it needs to be to justify taking up so much space in the magazine,” note the submission guidelines.
Deadline: Open September 1 to May 31
Payment: $10 per printed page (up to a max of $150) plus a year’s subscription, two contributor’s copies and four gift copies
Published by an independent nonprofit literary organization, Barrelhouse’s biannual print journal and online issue seek to “bridge the gap between serious art and pop culture.” Its editors look for quality writing that’s also edgy and funny — as they say, they “want to be your weird Internet friend.”
There’s no hard word count, but try to keep your submission under 8,000 words.
Deadline: Currently open for book reviews only. Check the webpage to see all open categories and sign up for the email list to receive updates on submissions.
Payment: $50 plus two contributor copies (print journal); unpaid (online issue)
The Cincinnati Review publishes work by writers of all genres and at all points of their careers. Its editors want “work that has energy,” that is “rich in language and plot structure” and “that’s not just ecstatic, but that makes is reader feel ecstatic, too.”
Fiction and nonfiction submissions should be no more than 40 double-spaced pages.
Deadline: September 1 to March 1
Payment: $25 per prose in journal
10. The First Line
This cool quarterly is all about jumpstarting that pesky writer’s block. Each issue contains short fiction stories (300-5,000 words) that each begin with the same pre-assigned first line.
If you really want to get ambitious, you can also write a four-part story that uses each of that year’s first lines (which is due by the next year’s spring issue deadline). To find each issue’s assigned first line, check out the submission guidelines below.
Deadline: February 1 (spring); May 1 (summer); August 1 (fall); November 1 (winter)
Payment: $25 to $50 (fiction); $25 (nonfiction) plus a contributor’s copy
Another one high on the prestige list, The Georgia Review features a wide variety of essays, fiction, book reviews and more across a wide range of topics. You can read specific requirements for each in the submission guidelines below, but the common theme among them all is quality, quality, quality.
Bear in mind submitting requires a $3 processing fee if you’re not a subscriber.
Deadline: Opens on August 15
Payment: $50 per printed page
Boulevard Magazine is always on the lookout for “less experienced or unpublished writers with exceptional promise.” It accepts prose pieces (fiction and nonfiction) up to 8,000 words (note: no science fiction, erotica, westerns, horror, romance or children’s stories).
There is a submission fee of $3.
Deadline: Open October 1 to May 1
Payment: $100 to $300
13. Camera Obscura
Camera Obscura is a biannual independent literary journal that publishes contemporary literary fiction and photography. Fiction should be between 250 and 8,000 words, although its editors have made exceptions for the occasional “exceptional novella” between 12,000 and 30,000 words.
You can also try your hand at a “Bridge the Gap” piece, where you review the current photo gallery and construct a story that “Takes the reader on an unexpected journey from the first image to the next.”
Deadline: Stay tuned to the guidelines page to find out when the next deadline is announced.
Payment: $1,000 to one featured writer published in each issue, as determined by the editors; all other contributors receive two copies of the issue in which they are published. The best Bridge the Gap piece receives $50.
Open to a wide variety of fiction from mainstream to avant-garde, Crazyhorse puts no limitations on style or form. If you’ve got something people haven’t seen before and won’t be able to forget, its editors are looking for it.
Crazyhorse also accepts nonfiction of any sort, including memoirs, journal entries, obituaries, etc. — we told you it’s open to anything! Keep your word count between 2,500 and 8,500 words.
Deadline: Open for submissions from September 1 to May 31, except for the month of January (when it only accepts entries for the Crazyhorse Prizes)
Payment: $20 per printed page (up to a max of $200)
Story Magazine is, you guessed it, all about the story, whatever shape it takes. Each issue is based around a theme, but its editors encourage writers to think outside the box when it comes to how to address that theme — fiction, nonfiction, hybrid forms, “hermit-crab essays” and more are all up for consideration.
Payment: Not specified
16. Vestal Review
Prefer to keep your short stories extremely short? Vestal Review publishes flash fiction of no more than 500 words. Its editors are open to all genres except for syrupy romance, hard science fiction and children’s stories, and they have a special fondness for humor. R-rated content is OK, but stay away from anything too racy, gory or obscene.
There is a submission fee of $2 for each submission. Previous contributors may not be charged.
Deadline: Submission periods are February to May and August to November
Payment: Not specified
Flash Fiction Online allows for slightly longer flash stories — between 500 and 1,000 words. Its editors like sci-fi and fantasy but are open to all genres. As with Vestal, stay away from the heavier stuff like erotica and violence. FFO accepts previously published works in their reprint category.
Payment: $60 per story, two cents per word for reprints
Black Warrior Review publishes a mix of work by up-and-coming writers and nationally known names. Fiction pieces of up to 7,000 words should be innovative, challenging and unique; its editors value “absurdity, hybridity, the magical [and] the stark.”
BWR also accepts flash fiction under 1,000 words and nonfiction pieces (up to 7,000 words) that examine and challenge beliefs and boundaries. There is a $3 submission fee.
Deadline: Submission periods are December 1 to March 1 and June 1 to September 1
Payment: A one-year subscription to BWR and a nominal lump-sum fee (amount not disclosed in its guidelines)
19. The Sun Magazine
The Sun Magazine offers some of the biggest payments we’ve seen, and while its guidelines specifically mention personal writing and provocative political/cultural pieces, they also say editors are “open to just about anything.”
Works should run no more than 7,000 words. Submit something the editors love, and you could get a nice payday.
Payment: A one-year subscription, plus $300 to $2,000
A diverse publication that features both award-winning and emerging writers, VQR accepts short fiction (2,000 to 8,000 words) but is not a fan of genre work like romance, sci-fi, etc. It also takes nonfiction (3,500 to 9,000 words) like travel essays that examine the world around us.
Deadline: Submissions read July 1 to July 31
Payment: Generally $1,000 and above for short fiction and prose (approximately 25 cents per word) with higher rates for investigative reporting; $100 to $200 for content published online.
Ploughshares’ award-winning literary journal is published by Boston’s Emerson College. They accept fiction and nonfiction under 6,000 words and require a $3 service fee if you submit online (it’s free to submit by mail, though they prefer digital submissions).
Deadline: June 1, 2019 until January 15, 2020 at Noon EST
Payment: $45 per printed page (for a minimum of $90 per title and a maximum of $450 per author).
22. Carve Magazine
Writers are in for a treat! Carve Magazine accept poetry, short stories and nonfiction submissions, not exceeding 10,000 words. They accept literary fiction only and are not open to genre fiction (i.e. thriller, horror, romance, etc.). They also accept novel excerpts but only those that can stand alone in the story.
Deadline: Open all year-round from anywhere in the world.
Payment: Pays $100 and offers feedback on 5-10% of declined submissions.
Sci-fi and fantasy writers, this one’s for you. Daily Science Fiction is looking for character-driven fiction, and the shorter, the better. While their word count range is 100 to 1,500 words, they’re especially eager to get flash fiction series (several flash stories based around a central theme), science fiction, fantasy, and slipstream.
Deadline: Open except for the period between December 24 to January 2
Payment: Eight cents per word, with the possibility of additional pay for reprints in themed Daily Science Fiction anthologies
This post was updated in July 2019 so it’s more useful and relevant for our readers! It was originally written by Kelly Gurnett and updated by The Write Life team.
Photo via Nito/ Shutterstock