Literary Journals That Pay for Poetry & Fiction

Terena Bell
6 min readMay 10, 2021

In the 1940’s, Ray Bradbury was able to financially support himself and his family by writing one short story a week, selling them to magazines that paid cash for first publication rights. While the science fiction community today generally pays $.08 a word or higher, most non-genre writers are used to giving their work away for free. Literary journals are often underfunded, the editors themselves volunteers.

As online publications have grown in popularity, though, literary journals that do pay are making a comeback. Below, please find a personal list I’ve compiled of lit mags that do pay short story writers and poets for their work. This is a list I personally use when making submissions and it’s my hopes that it’ll be of help to you.

A few caveats:

— Information is current at the time of publication, but rates may change between now and when you read this.

— I have not included journals that only publish writers of a certain gender, race, national origin, etc. I’m sharing this list to help the larger short fiction and poetry communities. If the outlets listed don’t work with that full community, then the list won’t help as many people.

— I also haven’t included outlets like The Sun, The New Yorker, Saturday Evening Post, etc. (Not only are they pretty much on every other list already, they aren’t literary journals. They’re magazines.)

— Journals that charge writers to submit are NOT listed. It does no one any good to say “these outlets pay” if you have to pay them to read your stuff.

— With love to the genre community — which I’m a proud member of, I also didn’t include science fiction or fantasy outlets. (As with The New Yorker, etc, these are also readily found on multiple existing lists. Writers are best served by just checking SFWA’s qualifying market updates.)

— You also won’t find places like McSweeney’s Quarterly or The Baffler, which do pay, because they don’t provide submitters with any hard financial range.

— Payment at non-US markets has been converted to USD, using exchange rates at time of publication.

And now, THE LIST. I’ve ordered journals from lowest to highest paying. If a publication pays different amounts for fiction vs poetry (or for micro vs flash, etc), each rate has its own listing. If no genre’s listed, then the pay rate is “per piece.”

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Terena Bell

Reporter & fiction writer; series editor, Writing Through the Classics; short story editor for hire; sponsor more writing here: buymeacoffee.com/terenabell