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14 Places To Sell Short Stories For Money

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Want to learn how to sell short stories for money? Yes, you may be able to earn money from home doing this. Short stories tell a quick and interesting story. They’re not very long, usually just a few hundred to a few thousand words. Even though they’re short, they still have a complete story with…

Want to learn how to sell short stories for money?

Yes, you may be able to earn money from home doing this.

Short stories tell a quick and interesting story. They’re not very long, usually just a few hundred to a few thousand words. Even though they’re short, they still have a complete story with a start, middle, and finish.

Short stories can be about anything, like mysteries, adventures, or even funny moments.

In this article, we’ll go over the strategies to turn your short stories into a profitable side hustle, and you will learn:

  • What a short story is
  • Places you can sell short stories
  • How to make the most money selling short stories

Recommended reading: 16 Best Ways To Get Paid To Read Books

Best Places To Sell Short Stories For Money

Below are the different ways to sell short stories for money.

1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Want to learn how to sell short stories on Amazon? If so, then Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is one place to start, as this is a self-publishing platform and almost everyone uses Amazon already.

To get started selling short stories on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, you need to first create an Amazon KDP account. Make sure your short story is well-edited and formatted. Create an eye-catching cover for your short story. You can use Amazon’s Kindle creation tools or make your own on graphic design sites like Canva.

Kindle eBook prices typically start around $0.99 and go up from there. You can also sell your book on Kindle Unlimited and get up to 70% royalties. There are many benefits to using KDP to publish your short stories, including publishing in 3 easy steps, the potential to earn royalties, and being able to set your own list prices.

Kindle Direct Publishing can also help you distribute your eBook around the world, print your short stories into real-life physical copies, and help ship them around the world.

Recommended reading: How Alyssa is making $200 a DAY in book sales passively

2. Clarkesworld Magazine

Clarkesworld Magazine is a fantasy and science fiction magazine that publishes short stories, articles, and audio fiction. Magazines are published monthly and available on the website or in eBook format. 

Guidelines for submitting short stories are straightforward. Short stories must be between 1,000 and 22,000 words, and you’ll get paid 12 cents per word. Payment is via PayPal or check. The story must be in genres such as science fiction or fantasy, horror is not allowed.

Stories submitted to Clarkesworld Magazine must be well-written, convenient for on-screen reading, and suitable for audio.

Recommended reading: 14 Places To Find Freelance Writing Jobs – (Start With No Experience!)

woman typing on laptop with camera in background for article about How do I start selling short stories

3. One Story

One Story is a popular magazine that publishes a short story once a month.

This platform specifically looks for literal fiction and they can only accept stories between 3,000 and 8,000 words. These short stories can be any style and on any subject as long as the story is compelling and well-written.

One Story pays $500 and 25 contributors copies. Stories must be new and not have been previously published material. One Story responds to submissions within 3 months after they are received.  

4. East of the Web

East of the Web is a platform that helps provide exposure to writers.

The site gets over 500,000 page views a month, so if your short story is submitted and accepted, your story will likely get some views. This is beneficial because the site also receives attention from agents, press, filmmakers, schools, and other publishers. 

To get your story accepted to East of the Web, your short story must have a compelling narrative that leaves the reader satisfied after the story. Your short story should feel complete and not need a follow-up story in order to leave the reader satisfied. 

5. Flash Fiction Online

Flash Fiction Online is a magazine that publishes short stories in genres like science fiction, fantasy, horror, and literary fiction.

Short stories must be between 500 and 1000 words and include characters, compelling plots, and satisfying endings.

Your short story must be formatted correctly according to Flash Fiction’s guidelines (double-spaced, 12pt Times New Roman, and black font on a white background), and short stories cannot be written by AI!

As of 2024, Flash Fiction Online’s rate is $100 for each original story. 

6. The Threepenny Review

The Threepenny Review is an American literary magazine that has fiction, memoirs, poetry, and essays. You can submit short stories via mail or through their online submission system. 

The Threepenny Review pays $400 per story or article, $200 per poem, and does not print material that has already been published elsewhere. Short stories must be 4,000 words or less. 

7. Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers is the largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers and is available as a magazine at major bookstores. The goal of Poets & Writers is to help poets and writers reach as many people as possible through their literary community.

With a national audience of over 100,000 readers, Poets & Writers has a strong following with students and faculty in creative writing programs across the United States. 

Poets & Writers is known for its writing contests, grants, and awards database that features all kinds of creative writing contests. You can filter through the database by genre, cash prize, and if there’s an entry fee to sign up for the contest. 

8. The Atlantic

The Atlantic is a publication known for its journalism.

The magazine covers a wide range of topics, including politics, science, technology, culture, and more. Short stories can be submitted and possibly sold to The Atlantic in genres such as fiction and poetry.

It’s best to look at what The Atlantic has published in the past to see what kind of short story they’re likely to accept. All short stories should be submitted as a Word document or PDF.

9. Reader’s Digest 

Reader’s Digest is an online as well as printed magazine that was started in 1922.

The magazine covers a wide range of topics, including health, humor, inspirational stories, and more. 

Submitting a short story to Reader’s Digest is simple and straightforward. You also need to include your name, address, and email to successfully submit your story.

10. Medium 

Medium is a unique site where writers can publish and monetize their content.

Medium mostly focuses on articles and essays, but you can also publish short stories.

As a writer, you earn money depending on how much time Medium members spend reading your short stories. Due to this, it’s important to build a following and consistently write high-quality short stories on Medium to increase your chances of making money.

This can be a great place to sell short stories for money online.

11. Barrelhouse

Barrelhouse is a literary magazine that accepts submissions from writers, such as short stories.

Along with putting out a print magazine, Barrelhouse is also known for running a small press, organizing the Conversations & Connections conference, and the retreat Writer Camp. These are great resources if you’re looking to network and further your skills as a writer. 

The magazine is looking for submissions that haven’t been previously published. Submissions are usually shorter than 8,000 words and in a format that is easy to read.

woman holding laptop for article about where to publish short stories online

12. The New Yorker

The New Yorker is an American magazine that covers culture, politics, arts, and literature.

The magazine has been around since 1925 and has easily become one of the most influential magazines in the United States. Because of this, successfully submitting a short story and getting it accepted is quite difficult. 

If you want to take your shot at submitting a short story to The New Yorker, submissions must be sent to fiction@newyorker.com.

All submissions are read within ninety days and if you do not hear back within that time frame, it means your story was not accepted.

13. Submit to short story contests

Short story contests are competitions where you can submit a short story for a chance to win a prize or recognition.

Contests are managed by magazines, writing organizations, and publishing houses that have an interest in promoting writers and getting their work seen by the public.

Contests will have specific guidelines such as which themes and genres are accepted, word limits, entry fees, prizes, and who the judges are. 

Short story contests change over time and some of the most well-known short story contests include:

  • The Bridport Prize, which is a U.K.-based competition for short stories
  • The Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition
  • The Moth Short Story Prize
  • The Commonwealth Short Story Prize
  • The Sunday Times Short Story Award

You can also find other contests to submit your short story on contest databases like the Poets & Writers contest database and The Writer’s College short story writing competitions database. 

14. Start your own blog

Another great way to get paid for your short stories is by creating a short story blog. This will allow you to share your creative work with the public.

Building a readership on your blog takes time, so be patient and dedicate time to marketing your blog and creating high-quality content. 

Once your blog is up and running, you can make money via ad revenue, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and even by creating and selling your short stories through a subscription or paid ebook.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to common questions about how to sell short stories for money.

What are short stories?

Short stories are short works of fiction (also known as short fiction) that focus on one plot, theme, or set of characters. Short stories are short, ranging from a few hundred words to a few thousand words. Even though short stories are brief in length, they convey a compelling narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. 

What are some different short story genres?

Short stories can come in any genre and storytelling style. The most popular short story genres include mystery, science fiction (sci-fi), thrillers, fantasy, horror, adventure, historical fiction, romance, personal essays, speculative fiction, and drama. There are many more genres to include, and you can even mix different genres. You can even make money writing poems.

Are short stories fiction or nonfiction?

Short stories are by definition fiction pieces, and not non-fiction.

How much money can I make selling short stories? How much is a short story worth?

The amount of money you can make selling short stories depends on factors like the length of the story, the market, the publication, and the popularity of the short story.

You may earn as little as $25 for a short story, or you may be able to earn over $1,000 for a short story. For example, a short story in Reader’s Digest will most likely pay less than a short story in The New Yorker. Or, if you write and publish your own short story on Amazon that becomes popular, you may be able to earn thousands of dollars.

Do short stories sell on Amazon? 

Short stories sell on Amazon through the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform. Many people choose to sell on KDP first because of the ease of getting started and publishing on KDP. Amazon KDP also has resources to help you publish short stories like helping create covers for your eBooks. 

How do I sell my first short story? 

The most important step to successfully sell your first short story is to create a high-quality and compelling story. The story needs to be engaging and free of grammatical errors (of course!). Once you’ve done this, you can choose online platforms, journals, or literary magazines you want to publish the short stories.

You must read the short story submission guidelines for each publication and make sure you pay attention to word counts and formatting requirements the platform is looking for.

You can sell your short story to different platforms. You may even want to try entering short story contests which often provide an opportunity for recognition, cash prizes, or publication opportunities. Market your short story on social media, your website, and other platforms to gain reach.

How many pages is a short story?

A short story can range from 500 words to 20,000 words. The actual number of pages depends on font size, spacing, and formatting. The average 1,000-word short story may be 5 pages, while a 20,000-word short story may be up to 100 pages. It all depends on the platform and what their short story submission guidelines are.

What is the best place to sell short stories for money online?

The best place to sell short stories depends on your style of writing and goals. Self-publishing on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows you to sell your short stories as eBooks and you get to control your pricing. You can even submit your Kindle eBook to Kindle Unlimited, which gives you up to 70% royalties when your book is read. There are also many award-winning sites and platforms where short story sellers can submit their craft to potential buyers, such as a literary journal.

There are many other places where you can sell short stories (other than the list above), such as Strange Horizons, BBC, Vestal Review (for flash fiction), Ploughshares, and more.

How To Sell Short Stories For Money – Summary

I hope you enjoyed this article on how to sell short stories for money.

The best places to sell your short stories include Kindle Direct Publishing, Clarkesworld Magazine, One Story, Flash Fiction Online, and many others that are listed above. These sites are some of the best places to sell short stories due to the ease of publishing books and wide audience. 

Wherever you sell your short stories, it’s important to create a compelling narrative and make sure your work is free of grammatical errors. 

Good short story writers are in demand, so I hope you can see success with this!

Are you interested in selling short stories for money?

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