There are many ways to sell short stories for money, and a bigger market for them than you might think!
Short stories come in many different forms, from flash fiction to romance novels, and they can be sold in a range of different publications.
If writing short stories is your passion, then there are plenty of opportunities to make money selling them!
- What Are Short Stories?
- Who Is Buying Short Stories?
- Where To Sell Short Stories For Money
- How To Sell Short Stories On Amazon
- Short Story Publishers
What Are Short Stories?
A short story is one with a fully developed theme, but shorter (often significantly) and less elaborate than a novel. They generally range in length from 500 to 20,000 words.
Short stories are usually fiction, but there are outlets that also accept non-fiction stories. For the sake of those who write non-fiction, we’ll let you know where you can sell these pieces too!
Popular Short Story Genres
The most popular short fiction genre tends to be science fiction and fantasy.
There is a very large market for these types of writing, so there are many outlets looking to buy.
Other popular short story genres include:
- Romance and love
- Speculative fiction
- Horror and ghost
- Crime and mystery
That is not to say that ‘modern stories with a twist’ or ‘slice of life stories’ cannot be sold either.
If you are good at what you do there will be plenty of opportunities.
How Much Can You Make?
If you follow through with this career path, your earning potential is great.
If you are truly good and can build up a strong following then there’s no reason you can’t be earning multiple 6 figures per year.
Working as a freelance writer for blogs and magazines generally holds less earning potential, but that is not to say you won’t become in demand when your hard work pays off.
Who Is Buying Short Stories?
What types of publishers are buying short stories?
Magazines, blogs, and newspapers have to publish every day and are always on the lookout for skilled, talented writers.
Here are some of the different types of outlets where you can sell short stories.
Magazines And Blogs
The largest buyers of short stories are online magazines, news sites, and blogs. This is where most of the opportunities are found.
There are both small niche publishers and large publications accepting submissions year-round.
Kindle Books And eBooks
Kindle books, or short stories for Amazon, are growing in popularity as an avenue for selling short stories online. This way you can retain ownership of your work and have greater control over the publishing process.
When it comes to Amazon and Kindle, there are individual consumers that are ready and willing to pay for good short stories published under your name.
Podcasts and Radio Shows
There are podcasts dedicated to telling short stories. Your writing does not only need to be published as text!
For example, This American Life, one of the largest podcasts in the world, is essentially just telling short, non-fiction, stories. There are also many smaller podcasts dedicated to telling short stories on every topic imaginable.
Where To Sell Short Stories For Money
We’ve put together a huge list of sites to submit short stories for money.
Some of these outlets are large publications with major readership, while others are small niche sites that have a loyal following nonetheless.
It’s about discovering which would be more receptive to your style and genre or writing.
The first 3 sites we’re listing are actually platforms for finding opportunities to sell short stories. These are services that display requests from publishers looking for short story writers.
Duotrope is one of the best spots matching short story buyers with sellers.
It’s a paid tool, but at only $5 per month, it really pays for itself!
Not only does it help you find and apply for writing opportunities, but it is also a writing management platform. If you are intending to frequently make submissions, it’s recommended!VISIT DUOTROPE
Poets & Writers
Poets and Writers have a job board for writers looking for opportunities to publish their short stories.
Alongside one-off requests, there are longer-term assignments and even writing residencies. They also have a lot of information about short story contests.
Poets and Writers are a one-stop-shop for those who are serious about getting their short stories published.VISIT POETS AND WRITERS
Similar to the previous sites, The Grinder is a helpful site for short story writers.
The tools available will enable you to track submissions and find markets for your work.
Many of the results will include non-paying or very low-paying jobs, so make sure you know what you’re signing up for!VISIT THE GRINDER
Readers Digest needs no introduction, but did you know they are accepting short story submissions?
These aren’t any old short stories, they’re super short stories of 100 words or less!
Getting published in Reader’s Digest would be a good way to start selling your writing!
Content length: 100 words or fewer
Genre: Non-fictionVISIT READERS DIGEST
Fireside Fiction is a unique short story publisher in that it began life as a Kickstarter campaign.
This is both a print and digital magazine that is published monthly.
The site is funded by their subscribers. It costs $5 a month to receive a digital copy of each new issue.
Payment: 12.5 cents per word
Content length: Up to 3000 words
Genre: Fiction (in English or Spanish)VISIT FIRESIDE FICTION
Vestal Review is a well-established online magazine publishing flash fiction.
Many well-known short story authors have contributed to Vestal Review, and it boasts a large readership. Each issue is free for anyone to read and the site is supported by donations.
Writing flash fiction can be a good direction to go in as the earnings per word usually work out favorably.
Payment: $50 per publication (-$3 submission fee)
Content length: 500 words
Genre: All flash fictionVISIT VESTAL REVIEW
The BBC has a program called Short Story that is accepting submissions.
While this isn’t somewhere that will pay you for your submission, they are running a short story competition with a top prize of over $20,000.
Being featured on BBC radio and podcast would certainly be payment in itself!
Content length: Max. 8000 words
Genre: FictionVISIT THE BBC
Flash Fiction Online
Flash Fiction Online is another large online publisher of short stories.
A new issue of the magazine is published each month, for which they charge $4.
Popular genres on the platform include literary, fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, but they will take a look at all submissions.
Payment: $60 per accepted submission
Content length: 500 – 1000 words
Genre: FictionVISIT FLASH FICTION
East Of The Web
East of the Web has a huge audience, receiving over 500,000 visitors to the site per month.
They are seeking imaginative short stories with strong plots and compelling characters in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.
You can submit previously published stories here as well.
Payment: $0.05 per word
Content length: 7000 words+
Genre: Science fiction and fantasyVISIT EAST OF THE WEB
Strange Horizons is an online magazine of speculative fiction that is published weekly.
This non-profit corp run by volunteers believes in fairly compensating writers, hence the higher than average per word rate.
Strange Horizons publishes a range of genres and also offers other opportunities. For example, audition to be a short story podcast reader!
Payment: $0.10 per word
Length: Up to 10,000 words
Genre: Science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, fantastikaVISIT STRANGE HORIZONS
While the earnings aren’t fantastic on Giganotosaurus, telling your friends the name of the site you’ve been published on will be!
This site only published one short story per month. It’s a longer than usual short story with a minimum 5000 words, but still a lot shorter than a novel.
Being the sole featured author for the month would be a huge privilege!
Payment: $100 per story
Content length: 5000 – 25,000 words
Genre: Science fiction and fantasyVISIT GIGANOTOSAURUS
Clarkesworld is another monthly online magazine publishing sci-fi and fantasy short stories.
They have a dedicated readership and solid subscriber base. The magazine can be read on the Clarkesworld iPhone or Android app, Kindle, or a range of other devices.
You can be sure your work is going to get in front of the right people!
Payment: 10 cents per word
Content length: 1000 – 22000 words
Genre: Science fiction and fantasyVISIT CLARKESWORLD
Science fiction writers have plenty of options to sell their short stories online.
Asimov is another online magazine dedicated to the genre and looking for submissions.
Payment: 8 – 10 cents per word
Content length: 1000 – 20,000 words
Genre: Science fictionVISIT ASIMOV
Analog is a smaller site where you can sell short stories for money, but they pay reasonably well.
The exciting thing about Analog is that they also do a print copy of the magazine. Most of the magazines featured here are digital only, but it can be really rewarding to see your work in a printed magazine.
While submissions can be on the longer side, around 20,000 words, they also accept fast fiction. These are stories around 4000 words
Payment: 8 – 10 cents per word
Content length: Up to 20,000 words
Genre: Science fictionVISIT ANALOG
Ploughshares is both a literary journal that is published 4 times a year, and an active blog.
Publication in the journal is a great honor and the payout isn’t bad either!
They publish short stories, essays, and other writing on the blog daily, though payment for this is not guaranteed.
Payment: $450 per accepted piece
Content length: 7500 – 20000 words
Genre: Non-fiction or fiction proseVISIT PLOUGHSHARES
The Southern Review
The Southern Review is another literary journal that is published quarterly.
It’s a prestigious magazine that features quality works of fiction and non-fiction.
You may also submit translations of short stories originally written in other languages.
Payment: Maximum $200
Content length: Up to 8000 words
Genre: Fiction and non-fictionVISIT THE SOUTHERN REVIEW
The Iowa Review
Our final site on which to sell short stories for money is The Iowa Review.
The lead-time for publications like this tends to be quite long, especially when they are only releasing content 4 times a year.
However, it can be worth it for the connections and wide-readership.
Payment: $0.08 per word
Content length: Max 25 pages
Genre: Fiction and non-fictionVISIT THE IOWA REVIEW
How To Sell Short Stories On Amazon
Selling short stories for money on Amazon is a very good alternative to being published in magazines and blogs.
Amazon has the whole process set up to make self-publishing a lot easier than it used to be!
With Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing you are able to publish books for free. They are then available to tens of millions of users around the world through the Kindle Store and on Amazon.
You have much greater control over all the aspects of your book, including:
- story length
- sales and discounts
Pros Of Selling Short Stories On Amazon
Amazon will take their cut of the sale, of course, but you will get a 70% royalty.
Over the long run, you can earn a lot more than a measly $50 magazine publishing fee! That is, providing your story is good and you’re successful at marketing it.
Other benefits to selling short stories online with Amazon:
- You keep control of your rights – you still own your stories
- Very fast to market – no waiting for magazine issues to be published
- Make changes – you are able to edit the book after publication
- Online resources – many helpful guides that can help each step of the way
- Easy payout options – Amazon can work with most people in most places around the world
There are many supporting resources from Amazon and other online creators that will teach you how to publish Kindle books. There are even tools like Publisher Rocket that will help you determine the best things to write about in order to get sales!
While there might be greater prestige in being published in a college journal or major online magazine, self-publishing on Amazon is definitely attractive. You must admit!
Dave Chesson published 9 books on Amazon that now generate up to $9K per month!
In our podcast interview with Dave, he shares how he did it.HOW TO MAKE MONEY ON KINDLE!
Short Story Publishers
Whether you decide to make submissions to short story publishers or to self-publish on Amazon will depend on your situation.
There are so many options for where to sell short stories, especially when you consider those first three platforms. Duotrope, Poets and Writers, and The Grinder have many more examples of websites, magazines, and podcasts that are accepting submissions.
Many sites allow you to submit stories that have been submitted elsewhere as well, giving you greater opportunity to be published.
If you need to make money from writing fast, have you considered freelance writing for blogs?
Sites like Textbroker are also paying writers to create blog and other online content.
While you’re working to sell your short stories for money, why not start earning on the side!
Getting paid for writing short stories might not come quickly, but work hard, persevere, and it will pay off!