best journals for short story submissions

24 of the Best Journals Accepting Short Story Submissions

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:

  1. Great first-publication journals: places to submit when you don’t have previous publications.
  2. Reputable online fiction journals: competitive journals to submit to when you have a prior publications list.
  3. 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.

Check Out Our Short Fiction Writing Courses:

how to write a children's picture book

Writing for Children: Create A Picture Book!

with Kelly Bingham

September 28th, 2022

Picture books have changed greatly over the last few decades, and the market is wide open for fresh ideas. Join us in this six-week intensive where we’ll take that idea of yours and turn it into a manuscript!

Discover Your Writing Niche

with Gloria Kempton

September 28th, 2022

Fiction or nonfiction? Article, short story, or how-to book? Do you want to write for children, teens, adults? There is a type of writing that is best suited for you, and the discovery process can be an adventure.

writing science fiction and fantasy

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

with Elisa Bonnin

September 28th, 2022

Create fantastical worlds with mythical beings in this comprehensive introduction to fantasy and science fiction.

goddess writing course

I’ve Drunk Your Poisoned Nectar: Writing with the Goddess

with Shankar Narayan

September 28th, 2022

Dig deep into the rich mythology of South Asian goddesses to find new inspiration for your work in this generative, open-genre writing class.

character writing workshop

Liars, Lovers, Criminals: Story as Character, Character as Story

with Lisa Taylor

October 5th, 2022

Characters don't just drive the story, they are the story. Learn how to craft character-centered fiction and give life to the people on your page.

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!

7. Typishly

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.

17. Ploughshares

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.

23. Guernica

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.

11 Comments

  1. Wilson Wyatt on August 11, 2020 at 8:29 am

    As a past fiction and novel student of writers.com, I still follow you by email, and I have a suggestion regarding literary journals. The Delmarva Review would be a good literary magazine for a student’s very best work. I am the editor of the Review, now in its 13th year of publication. We welcome submissions worldwide (in English) from new and established writers. The review is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a purpose to encourage writers to go the extra mile to write new literary prose and poetry. We receive 4,000 to 6,000 submissions of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction for an annual edition. At least two experienced editors read every submission. There are no reading fees. We do not pay for pieces. We are competitive and now publish 45 to 60 authors per issue. The review is for sale at Amazon and most major online booksellers worldwide in both print and electronic editions. Given my past experience in workshops, I thought the Delmarva Review might be of interest to your most serious writers, either teachers or students. The website is: http://www.DelmarvaReview.org. We’re also active on Facebook. Thank you, Wilson Wyatt

  2. home safe on November 3, 2020 at 11:30 am

    I was honored to obtain a call from a friend when he uncovered the
    important points shared on the site. Going through your
    blog publication is a real brilliant experience. Many
    thanks for thinking about readers just like me,
    and I wish you the best of success for a professional in this field.

    • Sean Glatch on November 4, 2020 at 8:27 am

      Thank you for writing! A joy and an honor to read–we’re happy to help you on your writing journey. Best of luck!

  3. B.K. Miller on January 10, 2021 at 11:45 am

    What does “face-paced” mean in the description above of number 7 “Typishly”? I cannot tell from the context.

    • Fred Meyer on January 13, 2021 at 9:19 am

      Whoops, typo for “fast-paced,” thanks for alerting us! Hopefully none of these journals are face-paced, which is almost certainly too slow or too fast.

  4. Panagiota Xenitidou on June 28, 2021 at 2:30 am

    Do you love writing? Do you like challenges? Are you into letter writing?

    If you answered yes to the questions above, then you should consider submitting your work to The Letters Page. The Letters Page is an online literary journal published by the University of Nottingham’s School of English. Its editor, the published author and professor Jon McGregor, selects, edits, publishes and promotes the best pieces of creative writing with the assistance of English students, like myself.

    We publish essays, stories, poetry, memoir, travelogue, criticism, and any hybrid forms; but all in the form of letters. We accept submissions on a rolling basis. We are looking for writers of all nationalities and ages, both established and emerging.

    If your letter is selected, we will publish it to our monthly newsletter, and you will receive a gift subscription to one of our favourite small presses or literary journals.

    For more details, visit our website, https://theletters.page/submit/

  5. Lillian Wyse on January 5, 2022 at 2:25 am

    Hey there! We’re Lint Magazine and we currently have a call for artists open. Lint Magazine is an assemblage of visual and written work and this edition is on the topic of Transit. Sound like something for you? Submit your work at lintartcollective@gmail.com

  6. JOHN NKHATA on January 24, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    THANK YOU FOR THIS EYE OPENING WRITING INFORMATION.I WAS MILES AWAY TO SUCH NEWS.

    • Kuteesa Frank on August 2, 2022 at 9:00 pm

      Same here…

      I am working on a short story titled Children of the mother pot, half of which I have published on wattpad and hope to start sending it out.

  7. Ramon on June 11, 2022 at 6:53 am

    Existing for over 2 years and born in Solitaire, Quarantine of 2020, The Quiet Reader just came out with its 6th edition of great new short story literature. Submissions are open for the next edition!

    http://www.thequietreader.com

  8. A Thousand Lives Lived on August 18, 2022 at 1:10 am

    Hello,

    We would like to be included in this list. http://www.athousandliveslived.com/magazine

    We are starting to compile entries for our October Issue. We’d like to see short stories, essays, poems and illustrations.

    send entries to athousandliveslivedpublishers@gmail.com

Leave a Comment