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 25 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 25 outlets that publish short stories.
1. The New Yorker
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 and 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.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.newyorker.com/about/contact
Payment: Huge bragging rights; pay for unsolicited submissions isn’t specified. Who Pays Writers lists several paid pieces, though as of this post’s publication, no information specifically for short stories.
2. The Atlantic
Another highly respected magazine, The Atlantic publishes both big names and emerging writers. Short fiction submissions should be 2,000-10,000 words and writers should stay away from genre fiction (sci fi, romance, etc.). Nonfiction can be 3,500-10,000 words and should deal with the world around you (i.e. literary, art or cultural criticism; reporting or historical/political analysis).
Submission Guidelines: http://www.theatlantic.com/faq/#Submissions
Payment: Unsolicited submissions are generally unpaid, although if the editors choose your piece for online content, you may receive $100-$200 depending on genre and length.
3. The Threepenny Review
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.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.threepennyreview.com/submissions.html
Deadline: January to June
Payment: $400 for short stories; $200 for Table Talk pieces
4. Zoetrope: All-Story
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.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.all-story.com/submissions.cgi
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.
Perhaps the best way to describe the kind of content published by Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and its online counterpart, Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, comes straight from their submissions page: “There are no rules.”
That said, we can tell you that McSweeney’s pieces tend to be snarky, offbeat, full of tongue-in-cheek humor and often tie in with current pop culture/societal trends.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/pages/guidelines-for-quarterly-submissions
Payment: In keeping with McSweeney’s “no rules” submissions, the only thing its editors disclose is that payment “Fluctuates somewhat. Contributors are paid at the time of publication.”
6. 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.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.one-story.com/index.php?page=submit
Deadline: September 1st to May 31st
Payment: $500 plus 25 contributor copies
7. The Antioch Review
The Antioch Review rarely publishes more than three short stories per issue, but its editors are open to new as well as established writers, and 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.
Submission Guidelines: http://review.antiochcollege.org/guidelines
Deadline: Fiction submissions are currently closed until September 2015 due to backlog. (They’re normally open except for the period of June 1st to September 1st.)
Payment: $20/printed page plus 2 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,” say the submission guidelines.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.bu.edu/agni/submit.html
Deadline: Open except for the period of June 1st to August 31st (unless you’re a subscriber, in which case you can submit year-round)
Payment: $20 per printed page (up to a max of $300) plus a year’s subscription, two contributor’s copies and four gift copies. (These rates are double AGNI’s standard ones through 2015, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Check back in 2016 to see if doubled rates still apply.)
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.”
The upcoming print issue will have a special “riot” theme for pieces that deal with everything from civil disobedience to rowdy sports fans; the rest of the issue will be un-themed. The upcoming online issue will focus on all things ‘90s. There’s no hard word count, but try to keep your submission under 8,000 words.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.barrelhousemag.com/#!submissions/cx9l
Deadline: The online issue’s deadline is unspecified. The print journal’s deadline just passed on May 1, so keep an eye out for the next issue’s theme and deadline.
Payment: $50 plus two contributor copies (print journal); unpaid (online issue)
10. Cincinnati Review
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.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.cincinnatireview.com/#/submissions/guidelines
Deadline: August 15 to March 15
Payment: $25 per double-spaced page
11. 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. You can also write a nonfiction critical essay (500-800 words) about your favorite first line from a piece of literary work.
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.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.thefirstline.com/submission.htm
Deadline: February 1 (Spring); May 1 (Summer); August 1 (Fall); November 1 (Winter)
Payment: $25 to $50 (fiction); $25 (nonfiction)
12. The Georgia Review
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.
Submission Guidelines: http://garev.uga.edu/submissions.html
Deadline: Open except for the period of May 15th to August 15th
Payment: $50 per printed page
13. Boulevard Magazine
Boulevard Magazine is always on the lookout for “less experienced or unpublished writers with exceptional promise.” It accepts fiction pieces up to 8,000 words (note: no science fiction, erotica, westerns, horror, romance or children’s stories) and nonfiction (essays, interviews, etc.) up to 8,000 words. There is a submission fee of $3.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.boulevardmagazine.org/projects.html
Deadline: Open except for the period of May 1st to October 1st
Payment: $100 to $300
14. 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.”
Submission Guidelines: http://www.obscurajournal.com/guidelines.php
Deadline: Submissions for the upcoming issue are closed. 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. $50 for best Bridge the Gap piece.
Open to a wide variety of fiction from mainstream to avant-garde, Crazyhorse has 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.
Submission Guidelines: http://crazyhorse.cofc.edu/submit/
Deadline: Open for submissions from September 1st to May 31st, except for the month of January (when they only accept entries for their 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. The upcoming print issue will deal with climate change, while the online theme is currently “monsters” ((with “migration” up next).
Submission Guidelines: http://www.storymagazine.org/submit/
Deadline: July 15th (print magazine); unspecified (online issue)
Payment: $20 per page (up to a max of $200)
17. 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 sappy 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.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.vestalreview.net/Guidelines41.html
Deadline: Submission periods are February to May and August to November
Payment: 10 cents per word (for stories up to 100 words); 5 cents per word (101-200 words); 3 cents per word (201-500 words). “Stories of great merit” in their estimation can receive up to a $25 flat fee.
18. Flash Fiction Online
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. As of March 1, 2015, FFO accepts previously published works.
Submission Guidelines: http://flashfictiononline.com/main/submission-guidelines/
Payment: $60 per story
19. Black Warrior Review
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.
Submission Guidelines: http://bwr.ua.edu/submit/guidelines/
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 on their guidelines)
20. 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.
Submission Guidelines: http://thesunmagazine.org/about/submission_guidelines/writing
Payment: A one-year subscription plus $300 to $2,500 (nonfiction) or $300 to $1,500 (fiction). The Sun also accepts previously published pieces, though you’ll only get half the standard fee.
21. Virginia Quarterly (VQR)
A diverse publication that features both award-winning and emerging writers, VQR accepts short fiction (2,000 to 10,000 words) but is not a fan of genre work like romance, sci-fi, etc. It also takes nonfiction (3,500 to 10,000 words) like travel essays that examine the world around us.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.vqronline.org/about-vqr/submissions
Deadline: Submission periods are June 15 to July 31 and October 1 to November 15. VQR also accepts nonfiction pitches from June 15 to December 1.
Payment: 25 cents a word for prose published in their journal; $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).
Submission Guidelines: https://www.pshares.org/submit/journal/guidelines
Deadline: Submission period is June 1 at noon EST to January 15 at noon EST
Payment: $25 per printed page (for a minimum of $50 per title and a maximum of $250 per author)
Shimmer “encourages authors of all backgrounds to write stories that include characters and settings as diverse and wondrous as the people and places of the world we live in.”
Traditional sci-fi and fantasy need not apply; Shimmer’s editors are after contemporary fantasy and “speculative fiction” with strong plots, characters and emotional core — the more unique the better. Keep your stories under 7,500 words (4,000 words is around the sweet spot).
Submission Guidelines: http://www.shimmerzine.com/guidelines/fiction-guidelines/
Payment: 5 cents a word (for a minimum of $50)
24. Daily Science Fiction
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).
Submission Guidelines: http://dailysciencefiction.com/submit
Deadline: Open except for the period between December 24 to January 2
Payment: 8 cents per word for initial publication on their site, plus an additional 5 cents per word if your work is selected for one of their themed anthologies
Ideomancer accepts speculative fiction that “explores the edges of ideas; stories that subvert, refute and push the limits.” This could mean experimenting with narrative, tone, structure, character, emotion, “ruthlessness” — you name it. Non-traditional formats like hyperfiction get bonus points. Keep your word count under 7,000.
Submission Guidelines: http://www.ideomancer.com/?page_id=20
Deadline: Submission periods are December to January, March to April, June to July and September to October
Payment: 3 cents per word (up to a maximum of $40)
Where to find more places to submit your short stories
These 25 magazines and online publications are just a small subset of what’s out there. For more potential places to share your short fiction, check out the following resources, several of which helped us compile this list:
- The Review Review’s Magazine Search
- Every Writer’s Resource’s Top 50 Literary Magazines
- Let’s Write a Short Story’s 44 Literary Magazines To Submit To
Do you write short stories? Where have you submitted them?
Photo by Alan Turkus under Creative Commons.