Which journals are accepting short story submissions right now? There are tons of fiction journals out there looking for stories like yours, and finding where to submit short stories can leave you with too many options.
We recently covered the best journals to submit poetry to, so let’s do the same for fiction. These are the 24 best journals for short story submissions, followed by a brief discussion on how to get a short story published.
Where to Submit Short Stories: 24 Journals
Fiction journals are competitive, so you will want a publication history and portfolio before attempting highly reputable publications.
Fiction journals are competitive, so you will want a publication history and portfolio before attempting highly reputable publications. We’ve divided our list of online fiction journals into three categories, based on your own level of experience, publication history, and goals as a short story writer. In order, they are:
- Great first-publication journals: places to submit when you don’t have previous publications.
- Reputable online fiction journals: competitive journals to submit to when you have a prior publications list.
- High-level fiction journals to aspire for: journals at the summit of fiction that can create new opportunities for your writing career.
Now, let’s explore some fiction journals!
Where to Publish Short Stories: Legitimate First Publications
The following 8 short story publishers publish works from both new and established authors, giving you an opportunity to jumpstart your fiction writing career.
1. Apparition Lit
Apparition Lit is a themed quarterly journal. They put out speculative fiction, sci-fi, and horror with a literary bent. All submissions must correspond with the quarterly prompt, so use this as an ekphrastic challenge for a great first publication!
2. LampLight Magazine
LampLight Magazine is a quarterly journal of dark fiction and horror. This short story magazine regularly seeks literary fiction with a bizarre, The Twilight Zone-style twist. Lamplight pays 3¢ per word for all fiction it publishes.
3. SmokeLong Quarterly
SmokeLong Quarterly publishes flash fiction (<1000 words). They like stories with surprising language and have emotionally resonant narratives, and are perennially open for submissions. This is a great first publication for flash fiction journals!
4. Write City Magazine
Write City Magazine, a publication out of the Chicago Writer’s Association, seeks poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for their upcoming issues. All accepted works receive a small stipend, on top of publication. Be sure to follow their submissions guidelines, which details their preferred styles of fiction.
5. Genuine Gold
Genuine Gold seeks to publish emerging writers and established writers side-by-side. They seek fresh, innovative voices, and stories that are high-quality but not pretentious. Genuine Gold is produced with the help of the Indiana Pizza Club, but is open to submissions from around the world.
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6. Dark Magazine
Dark Magazine pays 6¢ a word for horror and dark fantasy fiction. This journal much prefers stories that deviate from an expected ending and play with new styles and ideas. This is a great place for horror short story submissions!
Typishly accepts short fiction and tries to publish both new and emerging voices. Best of all, they aim to respond to all submitted works in under 24 hours! This is a great journal for both expanding your readership and trying your look at a fast-paced publication.
8. SAND Journal
SAND Journal publishes eclectic and subversive fiction. They love stories that refuse to be predictable and stories that inspire change. Short story submissions are open until September 1st.
Where to Publish Short Stories: Reputable Journals
Want to know where to submit short stories for money? Many of the following journals pay for work from previously published writers. A publication in any of these online fiction journals could catapult your writing toward a larger, more reputable audience!
A publication in any of these online fiction journals could catapult your writing toward a larger, more reputable audience.
9. Virginia Quarterly
Virginia Quarterly Review, commonly stylized as VQR, publishes fiction and nonfiction from a diverse array of authors. VQR seeks highly literary works, and if you’re lucky, they pay at least $1,000 for accepted fiction! Just know that their submissions window is relatively small; for the Summer, submissions ran 7/1–7/31.
10. The Threepenny Review
The Threepenny Review publishes literary and inventive works of fiction. They are open for submissions from January through June, and they pay $400 per accepted story. Among the best journals for short story submissions, Threepenny Review is reliably expedient.
11. Strange Horizons
Strange Horizons is a pioneer in speculative fiction and sci-fi. They are open for submissions on Mondays and Tuesday of each week (except in December), and they pay at a rate of 10¢ per accepted word. For many sci-fi writers, publication in Strange Horizons is a laudable achievement!
12. The Sun Magazine
The Sun Magazine loves fiction that is literary, unflinching, thoughtful, and darkly funny. This competitive journal pays anywhere from $300 to $2,000 for their stories, and a publication in The Sun will be sent out to over 70,000 readers of the journal!
13. Raleigh Review
The Raleigh Review is a literary and visual arts journal with several annual contents. Their Flash Fiction Contest runs through October 31st, and the winner will be awarded $300. Among flash fiction journals that pay, the Raleigh Review stands out for its exciting contests.
14. Fantasy & Science Fiction
Fantasy & Science Fiction, commonly referred to as F&SF, is one of the oldest science fiction print journals in the world. This publication has a large archive of famous genre writers, including Stephen King and Walter Miller. F&SF pays 8-12¢ per word and has a large monthly circulation.
15. Longleaf Review
Longleaf Review publishes quarterly themed journals of prose and poetry. The theme for their Fall 2020 publication is “harvest,” and all accepted works will receive $20. Longleaf review loves fiction that is weird and surprising, yet still literary and honest.
16. Beloit Fiction Journal
Produced out of Beloit College, the Beloit Fiction Journal publishes contemporary short fiction. Short story submissions open between August 1st to November 16th, and submissions are free if you send your submission by mail.
Where to Publish Short Stories: The Summit of Fiction
The following 8 journals are notoriously difficult to publish in, but with a few publication credits under your belt and a well-polished work of fiction, you might find some luck with these literary fiction journals.
With a few publication credits under your belt and a well-polished work of fiction, you might find some luck with these literary fiction journals.
Run out of Emerson College, Ploughshares is a highly literary publication which seeks innovative fiction. All published stories receive $45 per page, with a minimum guarantee of $90.
18. The New Yorker
Who hasn’t heard of The New Yorker? This journal often spearheads the literary conversation, publishing bold, daring, and eccentric works of fiction. This journal is extremely difficult to get published in, but a publication here will transform your literary career.
19. The Atlantic
Though The Atlantic is primarily known for its journalism and reviews on pop culture, it also boasts a reputable fiction section. To improve your chances of publication, familiarize yourself with past works put out by the Atlantic, as the journal often sponsors a provocative, daring style of fiction.
20. Granta Magazine
Granta Magazine is one of the oldest longstanding literary journals. Their reading period opens twice a year, and the journal accepts evocative and translucent prose from new and exciting voices.
21. American Short Fiction
It’s all in the name for American Short Fiction! This competitive journal seeks short fiction from the finest voices in contemporary literature, and it often features the works of rising stars in the fiction world. Unsolicited submissions are open from August through December.
22. Fireside Magazine
Short story submissions to Fireside Magazine open once a week each quarter. The journal, also known as Fireside Quarterly, seeks highly creative fiction from diverse voices. Payments range for fiction submissions, though the journal prefers fiction that doesn’t surpass 3,000 words.
Named after a famous Picasso painting, Guernica features writing, artwork, literary criticism, and essays in all genres. This diverse and comprehensive publication prefers fiction that fits into the journal’s overall focus on global art and politics.
24. Antioch Review
The Antioch Review is a competitive publication out of Antioch College in Ohio. This journal has high literary standards and expects highly polished, ready-for-print works. Each publication of the journal only includes 3 short stories, and all submissions must be sent via mail.
Tips for Navigating the World of Short Story Submissions
With thousands of fiction journals to choose from—each with their own submissions guidelines and preferences—finding the right journal can take ages.
What’s more, many fiction journals don’t allow simultaneous submissions or take months to review your short story submissions.
It’s important to understand a few things about fiction submissions before you send your stories out for publication. For starters, no story is guaranteed publication. Fiction reviewers look over hundreds of submissions for each publication, including reviewers at flash fiction journals. These editors often make tough decisions about great stories, and great fiction pieces are rejected all the time because of the finite amount of space in each publication.
Great fiction pieces are rejected all the time because of the finite amount of space in each publication.
Also, while we think these 24 fiction journals are the best on the net, there are thousands more. You can find a full directory of fiction journals at the literary magazines page on Poets & Writers!
Despite the competitive nature of online fiction journals, you can improve the chances of publishing your short story submissions. Make sure you note the following guidelines!
Review the Journal’s Past Publications
It’s good practice to read what the journal has published in the past. Though many short story publishers accept a wide range of styles and forms, fiction editors still have preferences for what stories they like to read and publish. Examine the journal’s past publications with a critical eye, and consider whether or not your story fits among the journal’s archives.
Follow Formatting Guidelines
Fiction journals usually open for submissions with a set of formatting guidelines. It’s best to follow these guidelines and general MLA formatting rules. Use 1-inch margins and a 12-point serif font. Taking the time to properly format demonstrates a seriousness about your fiction, whereas unformatted short stories may not receive proper attention.
Perfect the Title of Your Short Story
The journal’s reader is looking for something that grabs their attention right away. A well-titled story will be far more eye-catching than a generically titled story with a slow start. Remember, the reader goes through hundreds of submissions every month, so your short story submissions should stand out from the beginning!
Shoot for the Moon, Not the Stars
Lastly, it’s important to note that not all fiction journals are made equal. The world of literary publications is competitive, and writers must often secure publications from lesser-known journals before they attempt publication through reputable short story magazines.
Where to Submit Short Stories: Closing Thoughts
The publishing world is tough, fast, and competitive. With so many voices and publications in the literary world, writers have a tough time finding the right journal. You may encounter one rejection, five rejections, or fifty rejections before you find a home for your short story or flash fiction.
Don’t let this deter you. A rejection can simply mean your fiction didn’t work for that month’s issue, for reasons completely out of your control.
Whatever your level of experience and goals for your short stories, the instructors at Writers.com can help you perfect your fiction and find new homes for them. Take a look at our upcoming online fiction writing courses and one-to-one coaching options, and take the next step in your fiction writing journey.