The following is a list of short story publishers that pay $500 for short stories. Some of them pay more – all of them pay at least $500 for some of the stories they publish.
This list focuses on short story publishers. If you’re looking for publishers of novels, I recommend The 2015 Guide to Manuscript Publishers.
Most of these publishers are currently open to submissions – but not all of them. They’re listed in no particular order.
1. Heroes and Heartbreakers is an imprint of the major publishing house McMillan. They accept short stories 15k-30k words in length. While the upper limit of that length is veering into novel territory, they do pay a $1,000 to $2,000 advance, depending on length, against a 25% royalty offer. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
2. Fantasy and Science Fiction is one of the major magazines of the genre. They pay 7-12 cents a word, up to 25,000 words. That adds up to a possible $3,000 payment. They want stories that appeal to “all fantasy and science fiction readers.” They are particularly interested in receiving more submissions of humorous stories. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
3. Fireside is a short story magazine that has two goals in mind: Publish great stories, and pay writers well. They pay above normal rates for their category of magazine: 12.5 cents per word, up to 5,000 words. They aim to publish 10,000 new words of fiction each month – paying writers for every word published. To learn more about submitting, read their submission guidelines.
4. Cicada Magazine is a young adult magazine with a largely teen audience. Their editor says “There’s room in the world for your dark weird truths.” They pay $0.25 a word, up to 9,000 words, meaning a maximum pay of $2,250. Submission Guidelines.
5. Cricket Magazine is a young reader’s magazine, targeting ages 9-14. They pay $0.25 a word. Most of their are between 1,200 and 1,800 words. However, they occasionally serialize stories up to 6,000 words. Submission Guidelines.
7. The Sun is a beautiful, ad free, magazine that publishes writing with a literary bent. According to their website, “The Sun is an independent, ad-free monthly magazine that for forty years has used words and photographs to evoke the splendor and heartache of being human.” They pay up to $1,500 for fiction. Submission Guidelines.
8. Clarkesworld is a science fiction magazine that has won numerous awards, including 3 Hugo Awards. They pay $0.10 a word for the first 5,000 words, and $.08 cents each word after that. They have a maximum of 16,000 words. That means a maximum total payment of up to $1,380. Submission guidelines.
9. Harper’s Magazine is “the oldest general-interest monthly in America.” They typically publish though-provoking articles about contemporary issues. They also accept unsolicited fiction submissions. They’ve published many famous writers, including Jonathan Franzen, Annie Dillard, and David Foster Wallace. While they don’t publish their rates, expect them to be very good. Submission Guidelines.
10. The New Yorker is possibly the most profitable magazine in the world. They have a huge and loyal readership. Their fiction has been a staple of the American literary scene for many decades. They accept unsolicited submissions of short stories. Publication by them is nearly impossible – but it does happen, and it can launch your career. Submission Guidelines.
11. Asimov’s Science Fiction is a well established publisher of science fiction. They’ve won 58 Hugo awards and 28 Nebular awards. They pay 8-10 cents a word for stories up to 20,000 words. That works out to a maximum of $2,000 per story. Submission Guidelines.
12. Analog is a magazine of science fiction and fact. They pay 8-10 cents a word up to 7,500 words, and 8.5 cents a word for longer stories. 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.” To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
13. Strange Horizons publishes speculative fiction, “broadly defined.” They pay 8 cents a word, up to 10,000 words, though they prefer stories under 5,000 words. That means they pay up to $800. They have a thorough guidelines page, which goes into detail about what they want/don’t want to publish. Read their submission guidelines here.
14. 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.
15. 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, plus 1 cent a word if they turn it into a podcast. Submission guidelines.
16. Uncanny is an online magazine of scifi/fantasy. They publish fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. They have a “deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture.” They are seeking “intricate, experimental stories and poems with gorgeous prose, verve, and imagination that elicit strong emotions and challenge beliefs.”. They pay 8 cents per word. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
17. One Story is a magazine that publishes one story, in print, every three weeks. They pay $500 per story, plus 25 contributor copies. They accept stories of any style “as long as they are good.” To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
18. One Teen Story is the YA edition of One Story. They pay $500 per story, plus 25 contributor copies. Stories should be “geared toward an audience of teen readers.” To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
19. InterGalactic Medicine Show publishes sci-fi stories up to 17,500 words. 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.