Most freelance writing gigs are of a nonfiction nature, but if you're looking to flex your creative muscles, freelance writers' markets also exist for short fiction.
It's important to note that fiction often pays less, and sometimes much less, than more traditional freelance writing jobs. But if you want to try your hand at it, below you'll find some markets to consider submitting your work to.
What Kinds of Publications Pay for Short Fiction?
If you're wondering what kinds of markets you can pitch, there are plenty of options to consider. For example:
- Literary magazines
- Children's magazines
- Literary websites
- Women's magazines
- General interest magazines
- Genre-specific magazines
- Podcasts / "audio magazines"
While there are currently no examples in this market list, you'll also find clients these days seeking freelance writers to help with scripts for online videos.
Paying Writers' Markets for Short Fiction
Remember, these market list posts at All Freelance Writing are automatically updated when market listings change or new markets are added to the broader writers' market database. So bookmark this page and check it periodically for new places to pitch.
If you come across a market with a dead link or changed information in the published writers' guidelines, you can click "report link" below that market to create a pre-populated email to report it for review.
Also note that I do not pull markets just because their reading periods are temporarily closed. Many publications only accept submissions seasonally, so if a publication you want to pitch below is not currently accepting submissions, check their planned re-opening schedule and add those pitches to your marketing calendar.
Here are 30 markets to consider pitching.
Abyss & Apex is a magazine specializing in speculative fiction. They accept submissions quarterly -- normal reading periods are in February, May, August, and November. They accept flash fiction (up to 1250 words) and short stories (up to 10,000 words). The publication pays $.08 per word for up to 1000 words and an $80 flat payment for longer works. Payment is 60 days after publication. The magazine also accepts poetry.
AGNI accepts stories, essays, and poems that are previously-unpublished. There are no word limits "though space is at a premium and length sometimes affects decisions." They do not publish romance, horror, mystery, or science fiction but are open to fiction borrowing elements of them. They don't publish academic essays or purely journalistic pieces, and they pay $10 per printed page for accepted prose and $20 per page for accepted poetry, up to a maximum of $150.
Albedo is an Irish magazine that covers horror, fantasy, and science fiction stories. They are looking for fiction between 2,500 and 8,000 words and they pay 6 euro per 1000 words.
This magazine features science fiction stories, art and poetry as well as some fact based articles. Pay is 8-10 cents per word for short stories up to 20,000 words, 6 cents per word for serials of 40,000-80,000 words, and 9 cents per word for "fact articles" of around 4000 words. Payment is $1 per line for poetry.
Asimov's is a magazine for science fiction writers. They pay 8-10 cents per word for stories up to 7500 words and 8 cents per word for stories over 7500 words (though they rarely buy stories over 20,000 words or shorter than 1000 words). Poems under 40 lines are also accepted and pay is $1 per line.
Aurealis is an Australian science fiction, horror and fantasy magazine. They look for short stories between 2000 and 8000 words that are preferably tied to Australia in some way. They pay between AUD $20-60 per 1000 words.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies seeks short stories under 15,000 words. They publish "literary adventure fantasy" with secondary-world settings. They pay 8 cents per word.
Cadet Quest is a "Christian-oriented magazine for boys ages 9 - 14." They accept fiction of 1000-1300 words and nonfiction features up to 1500 words. Pay starts at $.05 per word.
This magazine is devoted to science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They purchase both fiction and nonfiction writing. Payment for nonfiction is 10 cents per word up to their 2500 word limit. Payment for fiction (1000-22,000 words) is also 10 cents per word.
Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores is an online publication of science fiction, fantasy, myths, legends, fairy tales, eldritch stories and art, as well as interviews, articles, and podcasts.
We pay 6¢/word for new stories, 2¢/word for reprints and articles. Stories should be 1000 words minimum. We have no upper limit, but all else being equal, we prefer shorter works.
Submissions are open four times a year: March 21 - 28, June 21 - 28, Sept. 21 - 28, and Dec. 21 - 28. Hard Sells: Vampires, werewolves, zombies, monsters in general, super-heroes, Lovecraftian stories, anthro, robots with feelings, gritty and despairing post-apocalyptic worlds. Horror, hate, blood & guts, explicit language, excessive violence, angst-ridden romance, fan fiction, sex, axe-grinding, or stories that leave readers feeling they've had the energy and joy sucked out of them are not accepted. Also, seems we have to say it, we don't take work that makes fun of grief, suffering, and death, whether of real, imaginary, or religious characters.
Cricket magazine is target towards children from ages 9 to 14. It features fiction,poetry and nonfiction. Types of fiction they look for include folk tales, sci-fi, historical fiction, and contemporary fiction. Nonfiction pieces and poetry can be on a variety of topics. The rate is up to $0.25/word for stories and articles and up to $3.00 per line (minimum of $25) for poetry. The majority of stories and articles are 1,200 to 1,800 words though they also need 600-900 word shorter stories, and most poems are 8-15 lines but can range from 3 to 35 lines. Activities and recipes pay a flat rate of $75.
Daily Science Fiction publishes original short works of speculative fiction. They pay 8 cents per word for first worldwide rights and nonexclusive reprint rights. They accept stories, including flash fiction, from 100-1500 words.
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine publishes all types of mystery short stories. They prefer stories in the 2500-8000 word range but sometimes publish longer works. Flash fiction "minute mysteries" of around 250 words are also considered. They pay $.05 - $.08 per word for original stories. They don't accept reprints.
Flash Fiction Online publishes both literary and genre flash fiction of 500 to 1000 words. They accept multiple submissions, but not simultaneous submissions.
Hexagon Speculative Fiction Magazine is an online publication that accepts submissions of prose (up to 7500 words), poetry, graphic stories, and visual art. We accept original unpublished works in both English and French. For previously unpublished works, we pay a flat fee of $5 for accepted poetry, $10 for accepted written works (Prose & Graphic Stories), and $100 for cover art pieces. Must be Speculative fiction, which includes; science fiction, fantasy, cyberpunk, sword and sorcery, magical realism, paranormal horror, etc.
Highlights is a magazine for children up to the age of 12. Payment varies based on the type of submission as follows: fiction ($175+), rebus stories ($100+), verse ($175+), nonfiction ($175+), and crafts ($40+).
Ladybug is a magazine for ages 3 to 6. They look for short works of fiction (maximum 800 words), rebus stories (up to 200 words), and nonfiction (maximum 400 words) that pay up to $0.25/word. They also accept poetry (up to 20 lines) that pays up to $3.00/line with a $25 minimum payment.
This monthly magazine features science fiction and fantasy stories. They pay $0.08/word for original fiction (it should be between 1,500 and 10,000 words; stories under 5000 words are preferred) and they pay $0.02 for reprints.
One Story publishes literary fiction. They pay $500 and 25 contributor copies for stories between 3000 and 8000 words.
Our Times is a Canadian magazine covering independent labour. They accept features of 1500-3000 words, commentaries of 850 words, reviews of 600-1000 words, poetry, and submissions to its "Working for a Living" short story series (2000 words or less). Published poems pay $50, short stories pay $100, and for nonfiction small items pay $25, reviews pay $50, and features pay $200-300.
Pseudopod is an "audio magazine" in the horror genre. Writers can submit their stories to have them read and recorded by voice actors. They pay $20 for flash fiction reprints and $100 for short story reprints, or $.08 per word for original fiction.
Redd Tales accepts year-long submissions. Written submissions should be FICTIONAL, original, and previously unpublished works. Remember, Redd Tales encompasses a wide range of genre and will consider most facets of creative fiction. Artwork should be original, or pertain to Redd Tales characters and tales. Creators whose work is selected for publication will receive $30 USD, a listing under Redd Tales Contributors page, and a free copy of the issue in which their work is published.
Strange Horizons is a magazine that publishes speculative fiction as well as poetry, interviews and reviews. The pay is $0.10/word for fiction and stories must be less than 10,000 words, though below 5,000 is preferred.
The Fiddlehead accepts unsolicited works of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry (including translations into English). They also publish reviews and some other creative works such as excerpts of plays. Submissions are accepted at any time via mail or during two Submittable reading periods, with an acceptance rate of around 1-2%. Short fiction and creative nonfiction should be a maximum of 6000 words. Up to 6 poems may be submitted at one time. Pay is $60CAD per page, with reviews paid at $40 per page.
This magazine is published six times a year and feature fiction that appeals to fans of fantasy and science fiction. The pay is $0.08-0.12/word and the length can be up to 25,000 words.
The Malahat Review accepts poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions from writers at all levels of their careers. Poets should submit 3-5 poems up to 6 pages maximum. They accept flash fiction up to 750 words as well as other short fiction up to 8000 words. Creative nonfiction can run up to 4500 words and cover any subject matter including personal essays, memoirs, narrative nonfiction, social commentary, travel writing, historical accounts, and biographies. Payment is $65CAD per published page. Their Publishing Tips column pays a $50 honorarium for submissions up to 750 words.
The Sun publishes essays, fiction, and poetry on political and cultural issues. Payment for personal essays is $300-2000. Payment for fiction is $300-2000. Payment for poetry is $100-250. They purchase one-time rights.
Online quarterly magazine for new writers. Previously unpublished writers preferred, though each issue includes at least one featured writer who is already published and agrees to allow their contact information to be shared for new writers to connect with for advice. Fiction and poetry accepted though strong preference for creative nonfiction. Average word count 500-1500. Pay rate varies based on length and quality of piece between $15-$80.
This online magazine focusing on horror and dark fantasy is published twice a year. Every other year they also release a print anthology. They accept short stories of 1000-7000 words and flash fiction of 500-1000 words. Stories of 2000-5000 words are preferred. They pay $100 for short stories or $30 for flash fiction, plus one print annual.
U.S. Kids runs several magazines for children including Humpty Dumpty and Jack and Jill. The magazines accept poetry at Humpty Dumpty (starting at $25), fictional short stories (starting at $30 for Humpty Dumpty and $25 for Jack and Jill), short nonfiction articles at Jack and Jill (starting at $25), and crafts for Humpty Dumpty at $40 and up.
Submit Your Short Fiction Writers' Market
Do you run a writers' market that accepts, and pays for, short fiction? If so, and if you'd like to see your market included here and in All Freelance Writing's larger writers' market directory, you can submit your market for consideration.