Writers should take note: Science Fiction publishers of short stories are some of the best paying markets. They consistently pay a minimum of 6 cents a word. And that is no accident. The SFWA, the trade organization for science fiction and fantasy writers, has enforced a 6 cent a word minimum for a market to be considered a “professional” market. And the publishers have taken note.
The following is a list of sci-fi publishers that pay a minimum of $200 per short story. Not all of them pay 6 cents a word, but all of them pay at least $200, sometimes less, and sometimes more.
- Fiction Vortex is accepts submissions of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc. They will pay $300 for one featured story, and $50 for ‘honorable mentions.’ They are periodically open for submissions. To learn more, and to submit, be sure to read their submission guidelines.
- Betwixt publishes all types of speculative fiction, especially stories that “smash genre boundaries.” They prefer to publish stories between 4,000 and 7,000 words. They pay $0.03 a word, up to $225. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
- Fantasy & Science Fiction is a print magazine published 6 times a year. They pay 7-12 cents a word, up to 25,000 words. They prefer “character driven” stories. To learn more, and to submit, read their submission guidelines.
- Crossed Genres is a small publisher of “progressive speculative fiction.” They publish a monthly magazine, novels, and anthologies. Their mission is “to give a voice to people often ignored or marginalized in SFF.” They pay 6 cents per word for their magazine, with a word count of 1,000 to 6,000 words. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
- Shattered Prism is a new Sci-Fi and fantasy publisher launching their first issue November, 2015. They pay $0.06 a word, up to 5,500 words. They “wish to celebrate diversity by publishing the best works from peoples of all nations, ethnic backgrounds and orientations.” They are currently closed to submissions, but may have re-opened. To learn more about Shattered Prism, and to submit, read their submission guidelines.
- InterGalactic Medicine Show publishes sci-fi stories of “any length.” They pay 6 cents a word. Writers who exemplify what they’re looking for include Asimov, Tolkien, Yolen, and Hobb. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
- Strange Horizons is a speculative fiction magazine that publishes fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, and interviews. They pay 8 cents a word. For their fiction department, they want “speculative fiction, broadly defined.” They accept stories up to 10,000 words. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
- Shimmer is a publisher of speculative fiction with an emphasis on representing diverse voices. They do not want hard SF, rather, they want “unusual and beautifully-written speculative fiction stories with full plots and strong characters.” They pay 5 cents a word, up to 7,500 words. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
- Terraform is an online publisher of science fiction that pays 20 cents a word, up to 2,000 words. They’re run by the major website Vice.com. They want a brief synopsis with each submission. They do not respond to every submission. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
- Lightspeed Magazine seeks to publish original science fiction and fantasy stories. According to their website “no subject should be considered off-limits.” They pay 8 cents a word, up to 10,000 words. They also accept reprints at a reduced rate. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
- Apex Magazine publishes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They publish stories directly on their website, so you can easily get a sense of what they publish. They pay 6 cents a word, up to 7,500 words. They re-open to submissions on September 1st. Submission guidelines.
- sub-Q is a publisher of interactive fiction. They publish fantasy, sci-fi, horror, mystery, and mash-up interactive fiction. They pay $0.06 a word for prose, and $0.03 a word for “interactivity.” They also accept reprints at $0.03 a word. They prefer to publish works under 3,500 words. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
- Tor is one of the best paying markets for science fiction. They pay $0.25 cents a word, with no more than 17,500 words. That means well over $2,000 as a maximum payment. At the time this article was published, they were closed for submissions. But, they are accepting submissions of non-fiction articles. To learn more, and to stay updated, read their submission guidelines.
- Asimov’s Science Fiction is a publisher with quite a lot of awards. Stories they’ve published have won 53 Hugos and 28 Nebula awards. They pay 8-10 cents a word for short stories up to 7,500 words, and 8-8.5 cents a word for longer material. To learn more, read their submission’s guidelines.
- ClarkesWorld is a monthly sci-fi and fantasy publication. They publish short stories, interviews, and fiction. They pay 10 cents a word for the first 5,000 words, and 8 cents a word after that, up to a maximum of 16,000 words. They also respond very quickly to submissions — usually 2 days. To learn more, be sure to read their full submission guidelines.
- Analog is the magazine of “science fiction and fact.” They publish stories in which some “aspect of future science or technology is so integral to the plot that, if that aspect were removed, the story would collapse. ” They pay 8-10 cents a word, up to 7,500 words. That means payment up to $750. They also publish serials and novellas, up to 80,000 words, at 6 cents per word. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
- Uncanny is a magazine of sci-fi and fantasy. They want “intricate, experimental stories and poems with gorgeous prose, verve, and imagination that elicit strong emotions and challenge beliefs.” They pay 8 cents a word, up to 6,000 words. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.