Sell Short Stories for Money: Expert Tips to Boost Your Earnings

Have you ever considered turning your passion for writing short stories into a source of income? There’s a surprisingly large market for short fiction, with numerous avenues available for selling your work. From magazines and blogs to Kindle books and podcasts, there are ample opportunities to get paid for your writing prowess.

By harnessing the power of modern technology, you can even utilize AI writing assistants like Jasper to help you fill in gaps, overcome writer’s block, and increase your output more effectively. Ready to explore the world of short story writing for profit? Let’s dive in and discuss how this can become a reality for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Numerous avenues exist for authors to monetize their short story writing.
  • AI writing assistants can help overcome writer’s block and enhance productivity.
  • Diverse genres and platforms provide ample opportunities for short story writers to find success.

What Are Short Stories?

A short story is a piece of prose that has a complete theme but is shorter and less intricate compared to a novel. These stories usually have a word count between 500 and 20,000 words and can encompass both fiction and non-fiction pieces.

Sell Short Stories for Money

Popular Short Story Genres

The most sought-after genres in short fiction are often science fiction and fantasy, as they have a substantial market with numerous outlets looking to acquire content. Other popular genres for short stories include:

  • Erotica
  • Romance and love
  • Speculative fiction
  • Horror and ghost
  • Crime and mystery

However, modern stories with a twist or slice-of-life stories can also find a market, provided you excel in your craft.

How Much Can You Make?

Your earning potential as a short story writer greatly depends on your skills and the following you build. Exceptional writers with a strong following could potentially earn six-figure incomes per year.

While working as a freelance writer for blogs and magazines might offer relatively lower earning potential, your diligent efforts could still result in demand and financial rewards over time.

How to Earn Money by Writing Short Stories?

Magazines and Blogs

Online magazines, news sites, and blogs offer numerous opportunities for skilled writers to sell their short stories. Both niche publishers and larger publications accept submissions year-round, providing a steady income source for talented authors.

eBooks and Kindle Books

Selling short stories on platforms like Amazon and Kindle is gaining popularity as it allows writers to retain ownership of their work and have greater control over the publishing process. With an ever-growing audience, these platforms offer individual readers who are willing to pay for captivating short stories under your name.

Radio Shows and Podcasts

Your creative writing can also find a home in radio shows and podcasts dedicated to narrating short stories, not just in text form. For instance, This American Life, a renowned podcast, presents insightful non-fiction short stories. Additionally, several smaller podcasts cater to various topics, showcasing your work on different subjects.

Where To Submit Short Stories For Money

Duotrope: A Leading Platform for Short Story Writers

Duotrope is a great place to connect short story writers with potential buyers. For a $5 monthly fee, it offers a writing management platform that helps you find and apply for various writing opportunities.

Poets & Writers: Job Board for Storytellers

Poets & Writers provides a job board for writers looking to publish their short stories. Besides one-time gigs, they also offer long-term assignments, writing residencies, and information on short story contests.

The Grinder: Tools for Short Story Writers

The Grinder is another resourceful site for short story writers, providing tools to track submissions and discover prospective markets for your work. However, be aware of non-paying or low-paying jobs before committing.

Reader’s Digest: Super Short Stories

Reader’s Digest is known for its focus on very short stories with a word count of 100 or less. Being published in Reader’s Digest can be an excellent springboard for selling your writing.

One Story: Non-Profit Literary Magazine

One Story, a non-profit literary magazine, specializes in short fiction stories and offers a teen-focused companion magazine called One Teen Story. If they accept your submission, you can earn up to $500.

  • Payment: $500
  • Content length: 3,000 – 8,000 words
  • Genre: Short Fiction

Vestal Review: Online Flash Fiction Publisher

With numerous renowned authors contributing to its pages, the Vestal Review is a popular online magazine for flash fiction. The earnings per word tend to be higher when writing flash fiction online.

  • Payment: $50 per publication (-$3 submission fee)
  • Content length: Up to 500 words
  • Genre: All flash fiction

The BBC: Short Story Program

The BBC’s Short Story program offers a yearly contest with a prize of over $20,000. Although you won’t be paid directly for your submission, featuring on BBC Radio and their podcasts can be quite rewarding in itself.

  • Payment: Short story writing competitions
  • Content length: Max. 8,000 words
  • Genre: Fiction

Flash Fiction Online: Diverse Short Story Genres

Publishing a new issue every month, Flash Fiction Online accepts various genres such as literary, fantasy, sci-fi, and horror.

  • Payment: $60 per accepted submission
  • Content length: 500 – 1,000 words
  • Genre: Fiction

The Threepenny Review: Literature, Arts, and Society

The Threepenny Review is a literary magazine that accepts submissions through mail and via their online portal. This publication focuses on literature, arts and society, and memoirs.

  • Payment: $400 per story or article, $200 per poem or Table Talk piece
  • Content Length: 1,200 to 2,500 for articles, up to 4,000 for stories and memoirs, up to 100 lines for poetry
  • Genre: Memoir, arts and society, poetry, essay


East of the Web

East of the Web is a popular site with a large audience of more than 500,000 visitors per month. They’re looking for inventive short stories with engaging plots and characters in the science fiction and fantasy genres. They also accept previously published work.

  • Payment: $0.05 per word
  • Content length: 7,000+ words
  • Genre: Science fiction and fantasy

Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons is a weekly online magazine focused on speculative fiction. Run by a non-profit corporation managed by volunteers, they offer a higher-than-average per-word rate. They publish various genres and provide other opportunities such as becoming a short story podcast reader.

  • Payment: $0.10 per word
  • Length: Up to 10,000 words
  • Genre: Science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, fantastika


Giganotosaurus publishes only one short story per month, which should be longer than usual (minimum 5,000 words) but still shorter than a novel. Being the sole featured author for a month on this site is an accomplishment!

  • Payment: $100 per story
  • Content length: 5,000 – 25,000 words
  • Genre: Science fiction and fantasy


Clarkesworld is a monthly online magazine that covers sci-fi and fantasy short stories. With a dedicated readership and solid subscriber base, your work will be showcased to a wide audience.

  • Payment: 10 cents per word
  • Content length: 1,000 – 22,000 words
  • Genre: Science fiction and fantasy

Asimov’s Science Fiction

Asimov’s Science Fiction is another online magazine devoted to the science fiction genre. They are actively seeking submissions from writers looking to get paid for their short stories.

  • Payment: 8 – 10 cents per word
  • Content length: 1,000 – 20,000 words
  • Genre: Science fiction

Analog Science Fiction and Fact

Analog is a smaller site that offers reasonable pay for selling short stories. They also produce a print edition of the magazine, making it a rewarding experience to see your work in print.

  • Payment: 8 – 10 cents per word
  • Content length: Up to 20,000 words
  • Genre: Science fiction


Ploughshares is composed of a literary journal published four times a year and a blog that releases daily content. Being published in the journal is an honor, and payment is substantial.

  • Payment: $450 per accepted piece
  • Content length: 7,500 – 20,000 words
  • Genre: Non-fiction or fiction prose

The Southern Review

The Southern Review is a prestigious quarterly literary journal that features high-quality fiction and non-fiction works. They also accept translations of short stories originally written in other languages.

The Iowa Review

The Iowa Review is among the places where you can sell short stories for money. Publication lead times can be lengthy, but the connections and wide readership make it worthwhile.

  • Payment: $0.08 per word
  • Content length: Maximum 25 pages
  • Genre: Fiction and non-fiction

How to Earn Money by Writing Short Stories on Amazon

Benefits of Selling Short Stories on Amazon

Selling short stories for money on Amazon is an excellent choice as it provides flexibility and access to a vast audience. Through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you can publish your stories for free and have them available to millions of readers through the Kindle Store and Amazon. You maintain greater control over various aspects of your book, such as pricing, genre, story length, sales and discounts, and marketing.

By selling short stories on Amazon, you receive a 70% royalty for every sale made, which can accumulate to much more than a one-time magazine publishing fee provided your story is well-written and well-marketed. Here are some other advantages of selling short stories online with Amazon:

  • Rights retention: You maintain ownership of your stories’ rights.
  • Quick market access: No need to wait for magazine issues to be published.
  • Easy updates: Edit and make changes to your book even after it’s been published.
  • Helpful resources: Access to numerous online guides to assist you through the publishing process.
  • Convenient payouts: Amazon offers easy payment methods, catering to people in various locations worldwide.

By leveraging the resources provided by Amazon and other online creators, you can learn how to publish Kindle books and use tools like Publisher Rocket to identify the best writing topics to boost sales.

While traditional publishing methods may hold greater prestige, self-publishing on Amazon can be more lucrative and provides you with more control over your content. For instance, author Dave Chesson has published nine books on Amazon, generating up to $9,000 per month. With dedication and the right strategies, your short stories can become a profitable side hustle on Amazon’s platform.

Have Fun & Get Paid To Write Short Stories

Selecting the ideal platform to sell your short stories may vary based on your preferences. Multiple websites, magazines, and podcasts accept submissions, and you might find helpful listings on Duotrope, Poets and Writers, or The Grinder.

Some platforms even accept stories already submitted elsewhere, increasing your chances of getting published. While you strive to monetize your short stories, consider exploring freelance writing opportunities, such as blogging. Sites like Textbroker offer paid assignments to create online content, boosting your writing income.

Remember, making money as a freelance writer and excelling in short story contests might take time, but with persistence and dedication, you’ll start reaping the rewards of your passion. Keep honing your craft and seeking out promising short story competitions to maximize your chances of success.

Scroll to Top