Literary magazines have a bad rep for not paying writers (or paying them really poorly). But if your heart is really set on writing short fiction, essays, long-form creative nonfiction, and other pieces that don’t fit well with generic blogs and websites, it’s worth having a look at literary magazines that pay.
Here are 10 literary magazines that pay well for writing.
Please take the comment that they pay “well” with a grain of salt. While for most freelance writers, $10 per printed page might be laughable, in the world of literary magazines, this is actually a hefty sum.
Also, please note that all payments listed are in US Dollars unless otherwise indicated and are accurate as of the time of this writing.
AGNI is a literary magazine out of Boston University; however, you do not have to be associated with the university to be published in the magazine. AGNI is named after the fire god of Hinduism. This magazine prides itself in publishing new writers, so be sure to give them a try if you’re just starting out in the literary writing world.
They accept essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews. AGNI pays $10 per printed page for prose and $20 per page for poetry, up to a maximum of $150. You will also receive a one-year subscription to AGNI and two copies of the issue in which your work appears, plus up to four copies for friends and family (if your work appears in the printed version). Be sure to read the writer’s guidelines closely prior to submitting.
2. AQUILA Magazine
AQUILA is a children’s magazine for inquisitive children. They publish science, history, and general knowledge for 8-12-year-olds. They pay £90 per short story (1000-1150 words) or feature (800 words). Be sure to review all writer’s guidelines before pitching.
Analog is a literary magazine that publishes stories, poetry, and articles about science fiction and science and fiction. In other words, in addition to publishing science fiction stories and poems, they also publish articles about the science world.
Analog pays $.08 to $.10 per word for short fiction of up to 20,000 words, $.06 per word for serials (40,000 to 80,000 words), $.09 per word for fact articles, and $1 per line for poetry. Be sure to read the writer’s guidelines prior to submitting.
4. Atlas Obscura
Atlas Obscura publishes stories about the unusual in history, geography, science, culture, exploration, and more.They only pay for Stories and Gastro Obscura (not the places) sections. Reports indicate they pay, on average, $.29 per word. Be sure to read all of the writer’s guidelines prior to submitting.
Consequence focuses on the culture and consequences of war internationally. They publish short fiction, poetry, nonfiction, interviews, visual art, and reviews. They pay $25 per page for poetry and $10 per page for prose, up to a $250 maximum. They pay $15 per page for translations, up to a $250 maximum.
For fiction and nonfiction, your piece should be no more than 5,000 words and you should only submit one at a time. For poetry, you may submit up to 3 poems at a time.
It’s important to know that Consequence only accepts submissions via their portal and only during their reading period. To check for reading period dates and to find writer’s guidelines, check their website.
6. Cricket Media Publications & Other Children’s Magazines
7. SmokeLong Quarterly
SmokeLong Quarterly is a website that publishes flash fiction of 1,000 words of fewer. It’s named “SmokeLong Quarterly” because supposedly reading a piece of flash fiction takes the same amount of time as smoking a cigarette, according to the Chinese.
SmokeLong Quarterly pays $25 per story upon publication. Submit one story at a time and wait to hear back before submitting another. Read all writer’s guidelines here.
8. SubTerrain: Strong Words for a Polite Nation
* 2020 Update: SubTerrain’s website is currently 404’ing. I have not found anything online to explain what has happened to this magazine. If you know, please leave us a comment.
This Vancouver-based magazine publishes “provocative art and writing” three times per year. They publish fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, and commentary. SubTerrain pays CND$.10 per word for prose. They also pay a $50 flat rate for poetry, but they do not accept unsolicited submissions for poetry, so stick with the prose if you’re submitting for the first time. SubTerrain only accepts submissions via snail mail or via the online portal; however, there is a $3.00 charge for the online submission option. So if you want to save $2.00, get a stamp and do it the old fashioned way (you’ll still have to pay for the postage). Be sure to read the writer’s guidelines before submitting.
9. Quillete Magazine
Quillete Magazine is a “platform for free thought” that “respect[s] ideas, even dangerous ones.” They publish nonfiction articles about art, science/tech, politics,and reviews.
10. The Norwegian American
The Norwegian American magazine publishes fiction stories having to do with Norway. The stories can be in any genre. They also publish crime/mystery stories even if they don’t have anything to do with Norway, “but bonus points if they do.” The magazine does not pay for articles, but pays a $50 flat rate for fiction of up to 1,500 words (but 1,000 or fewer words is preferred). Read guidelines here.
11. Three-Lobed Burning Eye
Three-Lobed Burning Eye is an online speculative magazine. They publish horror stories, and stories of “wonder and the weird.” This is a free online magazine published twice per year, usually in the spring and fall. They also publish an anthology every other year. Each issue of the magazine contains six short stories.
Three-Lobed Burning Eye pays $100 for short fiction (1,000 to 7,000 words) and $30 for flash fiction (500-1,000 words). Read all writer’s guidelines before submitting.
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