My 25 Favorite Short Story Publishers

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May is Short Story Month. To celebrate, here is a list of 25 of my favorite genre short fiction markets, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, Weird, crime, mystery, noir, pulp, children’s, and romance. Some accept nonfiction and poetry. Not all are open for submissions but most are, or will be soon. These pay writers – royalties, token, or pro rates, and are in no particular order below. Also see this list of contests for writers. — S. Kalekar
For those of you who are interested in publishing your writing in these publications, I highly recommend getting a copy of Submit, Publish, Repeat. It is a wonderful guide to publishing your creative writing in literary journals and magazines. It is available here. –– Jacob Jans
Selene Quarterly Magazine ­­­­­This is a magazine of romance, mystery, and alternate history. Their guidelines say that they publish “fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art that dwells in the shadows. SQM desires stories and poetry that are thrilling, reflective, and imaginative.” For serial stories, they prefer action-packed work with pulp elements. They also publish reviews of adult romance, mystery, or alternate history of novelette to novel length, or of other mediums like films. They accept translations, as well. Stories should be 100-7,500 words. Pay is $0.01-0.06/word for fiction. They are open for submissions until 31 May 2019. Details here.
Three-Lobed Burning Eye This speculative fiction magazine is published online twice annually, in spring and fall, and they have a print anthology once every two years. They want “Original speculative fiction: horror, fantasy, and science fiction. We’re looking for short stories from across the big classifications and those shadowy places between: magical realism, fantastique, slipstream, interstitial, Weird fiction. We will consider suspense or western, though we prefer it contain some speculative element. We like voices that are full of feeling, from literary to pulpy, with styles unique and flowing, but not too experimental.” They do not want extreme horror. They accept works of 500-7,000 words. Pay is $100 for short fiction, and $30 for flash fiction. They are open for submissions. Details here.
Factor Four Magazine ­­­­­This is a quarterly speculative flash fiction magazine that was launched in April 2018. They want stories that focus on four speculative fiction genres, or which are a combination of any of these: science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, and super hero. They accept fiction up to up to 1,500 words (under 1,000 words preferred), and pay $0.08/word. They are open for submissions. Details here.
Apparition Lit ­­­­­This is a speculative fiction and poetry magazine and they are usually open for brief, themed submission periods four times a year. They accept all kinds of speculative fiction – fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and literary. They accept 1,000-5,000 words for fiction, and up to five poems.  Pay is $0.03/word for fiction. They are scheduled to open for submissions on 15 May 2019. Details here.
Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy This is an annual publication and they accept reprints only, of science fiction and fantasy stories – they are currently accepting work that has been published in 2019, or is slated to be published in 2019. The original publication of the story must be in a nationally distributed American or Canadian publication (i.e., periodicals, collections, or anthologies, in print, online, or ebook form); and stories must be by a writer who is American or Canadian, or who has made the US or Canada their home. Pay is unspecified. This is published by an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Details here.
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly This magazine is unapologetic about publishing sword and sorcery, both in poetry and prose. They have a detailed list of tropes/topics that work for them, and those that do not. They accept stories up to 10,000 words and can serialise work up to 50,000 words. They also accept poetry. Pay is up to $100 for fiction, and $25 for poetry; Tolkinesque (really long) poetry will be paid like fiction, and fiction of less than 1,000 words will fetch $25. They are scheduled to open for submissions in June 2019. Details here.
Æther & Ichor They are open to a wide range of fantasy stories. Their guidelines say, “We are particularly interested in character-driven works with consistent, inventive worldbuilding. Æther & Ichor publishes a wide range of styles from urban fantasy to twisted fairy tales to swashbuckling adventures. We tend towards darker, slicker, more challenging works with a bit of grit”. Also, “We’re not so interested in fable, allegory and morality tales, but we love these when they challenge convention and subvert traditional narratives!” They are open during odd-numbered months (January, March, May, July, September, November). Stories should be 100-3,000 words. Pay is £5 (or equivalent currency) per 1,000 words, at a minimum of £5. Details here.
Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine This magazine publishes science fiction and fantasy stories of any theme. They tend not to publish horror. They also publish poetry, and their guidelines say, “The kind of poem that is more likely to be accepted … is the kind of poem that will appeal to a wide range of people.” They also accept artwork throughout the year. They accept up to 6,000 words for prose, and pay CAD2.5 cents/word for prose and poetry, up to CAD125. They are scheduled to open submissions on 15 May 2019. Details here.
Apex Magazine This is an award-winning speculative and imaginative fiction and poetry magazine. They consider dark speculative fiction, but no horror. Their guidelines say, “we like slipstream, YA, hypertext fiction, dark fantasy, science fiction puzzle stories, magical realism, hard science fiction, soft science fiction, science fantasy, urban fantasy, military science fiction, ghost stories, space opera, cyberpunk, steampunk . . . there is very little we will not look at, although we have a severe allergy to zombies, elves, retold fairy tales, sports, westerns, vampires, and gratuitous sex and violence.” All work must have a speculative element. They will be open for flash fiction submissions during the first week of August 2019, according to their website. Pay is $0.06/word for flash fiction (up to 1,250 words), and a flat rate of $75 for longer work. Details here.
Escape Artists: Escape Pod This is a text and an audio market for science fiction. While they’re quite flexible on what counts as science fiction (occasionally publishing steampunk and superheroes), they do not want fantasy, magic realism, or more than a tinge of horror. Their guidelines say, “If your story isn’t centered on science, technology, future projections, alternate history, and how any or all of these things intersect with people, we’re probably not the right market for it.” They accept stories of 1,500-6,000 words, and pay $0.06/word. They also accept reprints, and works from writers under 18. The deadline is 31 May 2019. Details here. Also see submission schedules of other Escape Artists’ venues: PodCastle (fantasy), PseudoPod (horror), and Cast of Wonders (young adult).
The Arcanist This Medium-based literary magazine focuses on fantasy and sci-fi flash fiction. They love humorous works, horrifying works and timely works. Meta fiction, stories with excessive gore, or those with passive characters are some of the hard sells. They publish weekly. They currently want micro fiction (up to 100 words), and pay $10. Details here.
Clarkesworld This award-winning science fiction and fantasy magazine publishes short stories, interviews, articles and audio fiction. They are currently open for fiction, non-fiction, and art submissions. “Science fiction need not be “hard” SF, but rigor is appreciated. Fantasy can be folkloric, contemporary, surreal, etc.”, according to their guidelines. See the long list of tropes that are hard sells. They welcome translations. They accept fiction of 1,000-22,000 words, and pay is $0.08-0.10/word. Details here.
The Dark ­­­­­This online magazine publishes horror and dark fantasy. Their guidelines say, “Don’t be afraid to experiment or to deviate from the ordinary; be different – try us with fiction that may fall out of “regular” categories.” This is, however, not a market for graphic, violent horror. They also accept reprints. They accept stories of 2,000-6,000 words, and pay $0.06/word. They are open for submissions now. Details here.
Cemetery Dance This is a World Fantasy Award-winning magazine of horror, dark mystery, and suspense. They publish short stories, articles, columns, interviews, news, and reviews. They welcome suspense/mystery/crime tales with an element of horror. Both supernatural and psychological stories are accepted. They are occasionally open for unsolicited submissions and they pay. They also publish comics and eBooks. They are currently open for artwork and agented submissions. Details here.
Cricket Media Cricket Media produces literary magazines for children of various ages – Babybug (for ages 6 months to 3 years), Ladybug (ages 3 to 6), Spider (ages 6 to 9), and Cricket (ages 9 to 14). They have posted themes for their upcoming issues, for which they are accepting short stories, non-fiction, poetry, craft, and puzzles until 1 July 2019. Pay is up to $0.25/word for prose, $3/line for poetry. Details here.
Alban Lake: FrostFire This magazine for publishes fantasy and SF stories, non-fiction and poems. This is intended to be available for younger readers, so while it can be spooky and creepy, there should be minimal blood and no swearing. They want stories that have things like heroes fighting villains in a world of magic, cyborgs saving humans from the vacuum of space, and alien creatures flying between the stars. Length guidelines are 4,000-6,000 words. Pay is $10 for stories, and $5 for reprints. They are currently open for submissions. Details here. Also check out Alban Lake’s other magazines — Outposts of Beyond (SF and fantasy), Digitally Disturbed, and Nightsong (horror), Illumen Poetry, and Scifaikufest.
Less Than Three Press This LGBTQ+ romance publisher often has special anthology or collection calls, apart from regular novel and novella submissions. They’re currently reading for their ‘Creature Feature’ collection call. Stories should be 20,000-60,000 words, and they pay royalties. The deadline for this call is 31 July 2019. Details here.
EconoClash Review Their tagline is ‘Quality Cheap Thrills.’ This biannual print journal publishes pulp, including crime, noir, horror, sci-fi, Weird, and humor. Work should be 1,500-4,500 words. Pay is $10/story. They are open for submissions during May 2019, according to their website. Details here.
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine This premier magazine is interested in every kind of mystery story: classic detection, police procedurals, private eye, suspense, courtroom drama, espionage, and even the occasional ghost story, if it involves a crime. They accept stories up to 12,000 words (most are considerably shorter), and pay $0.05-0.08/word. They are currently open for submissions. Details here.
Over My Dead Body! They publish a wide variety of mystery-related fiction manuscripts, from cozy to hardboiled and everything in between. They also publish nonfiction – mystery-related author interviews/ profiles and articles. Mystery-related travel pieces will also be considered. For fiction, the word count is 750-4,000 words. Pay is $0.01/word for fiction. They are open for submissions. Details here.
Tough This is a crime fiction journal publishing short stories and self-contained novel excerpts, and occasional book reviews. Their guidelines say, “We are particularly interested in stories with rural settings and stories that intersect with the weird or occult. To clarify: think H.P. Lovecraft for a modern audience, without the racist baggage. Think Fatale, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.” They do not want science fiction or fantasy, except for stories in which those elements accentuate or play a major role in a crime. They publish every Monday. Length is 1,500-7,500 words for fiction, and they pay $25. Details here.
Noir Nation This magazine publishes international crime fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Fiction should be realistic, set in the here and now or near past, and involve a crime or the promise of one or transgression in some form. Their guidelines also say, “If the work is comedic or farcical, it can be set anywhere, any time but must be more than parody: it must be funny.” Stories should be 50 to 3,000 words. Pay is unspecified, but they do pay. They are accepting submissions for issues 8 and 9 until 15 May, 2019. While they do have open calls, they sometimes open submissions only to their newsletter subscribers. They also have the Golden Fedora Prize for fiction, which has a submission fee. Details here and here.
The Literary Hatchet This magazine publishes provocative contemporary short fiction in various genres, poetry, illustrations, interviews, and reviews. All subjects except erotica are welcome. Stories are 500-6,000 words. They pay $10 for stories and they nominate work for prizes. They are open for submissions. Details here.
Zooscape This quarterly magazine wants stories prominently featuring an anthropomorphic animal figure – it could be anthropomorphic in body or only intelligence. “We’ll consider any type of furry fiction from secret life of animals to fox in Starbucks.  We love science-fiction with animal-like aliens and fantasy with talking dragons, unicorns, or witch familiars.” They accept stories up to 10,000 words, and they publish reprints. Pay is $0.06/word up to 1,000 words, and a flat rate of $60 for longer. They are open now for submissions. Details here.
Fireside Magazine The editors of this magazine want to publish great storytelling in any genre. One of their goals is to pay writers fairly; another is to resist the global rise of fascism and far-right populism. They accept stories up to 4,000 words. Pay is 12.5c/word. Their reading periods are usually brief. They also have poetry, flash fiction, non-fiction, novel, and novella submission calls. Details here.


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