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Top 30 Websites That Pay You To Write Short Stories

Looking for websites that pay you to write short stories? You’re in the right spot.

Turn your love for storytelling into cash and skill gains, quickly and easily.

List of 30 Websites To Get Paid to Write Short Stories Online

1. Penpee

Penpee is a unique platform that pays you for every page of your short story that gets read. Ideal for budding authors looking to make money online.

  • Genre: Any
  • Pay Rate: Paid per page read. Writers earn 40-75% of the revenue from each credit spent by readers.
  • How it Works: Upload your short story. Earn as users read and turn each page.

2. Wattpad

As one of the largest platforms for readers and writers, Wattpad isn’t just for honing your craft. They offer a Paid Program to select writers based on factors like originality and market value.

  • Genre: Various, including fiction, fanfiction, and more.
  • Pay Rate: Payment upon selection for the Paid Program.
  • How it Works: Publish your stories and get invited to the Paid Program based on the quality and appeal of your work. Earn after your story is selected and published.

3. Smashwords

Smashwords is a leading eBook distributor that lets you sell your short stories on multiple platforms.

  • Genre: Any
  • Pay Rate: You keep 60% to 85% for the e-book sale.
  • How it Works: Upload your eBook, set your price, and earn money from sales across various eBook stores.

4. Archive of Our Own (AO3)

AO3 is a fan-favorite for fanfiction but also accepts original work. While it doesn’t pay directly, it’s a strong platform for building a fan base.

  • Genre: Fanfiction, Original Work
  • Pay Rate: None, but good for exposure
  • How it Works: Publish stories and build your audience, which you can then monetize through other means like Patreon.

5. Medium

Medium’s Partner Program allows you to earn money based on reader engagement. A go-to for many types of writers.

  • Genre: Various
  • Pay Rate: Varies (Based on claps and reading time)
  • How it Works: Publish stories under the Partner Program, and earn based on how many people read and engage with your stories.

6. Clarkesworld Magazine

If you are looking to enter the realms of sci-fi and fantasy, Clarkesworld is your go-to platform. This award-winning magazine is highly respected in the speculative fiction community.

  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
  • Pay Rate: $0.10 per word
  • How It Works: Submit your short stories through their online portal. After an editorial review, if accepted, you will be paid via PayPal or check.

7. One Story

One Story is true to its name; they publish one great story per issue. It’s a standout place for writers seeking to make an impact with literary fiction.

  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Pay Rate: $500 for a single submission
  • How It Works: Send your work during open submission windows. If accepted, you’ll get a one-time payment and your story gets published in their monthly issue.

8. The Sun Magazine

If you have a poignant story or essay, The Sun Magazine offers a platform that values personal and provocative works.

  • Genre: Essays, Fiction
  • Pay Rate: Up to $2000
  • How It Works: Submit manuscripts by mail. If selected, your work will be published and you’ll receive payment based on their current rates.

9. Agni

Agni is where poetry meets prose. It’s an ideal platform for writers who excel in blending the lyrical with the literal. It also pays for writing essays or short stories.

  • Genre: Poetry, Prose, Essay
  • Pay Rate: $10 per page for an essay or short story
  • How It Works: Submit your work through their website. If accepted, you will be paid and published in their biannual print magazine.

10. Flash Fiction Online

For writers skilled in crafting complete stories in fewer words, Flash Fiction Online is a great fit. They seek crisp narratives that make a quick impact.

  • Genre: Flash Fiction
  • Pay Rate: $80 for original fiction and 2 cents per word for reprints.
  • How It Works: Submit stories that are between 500-1000 words long. If your work is accepted, you’ll receive payment via PayPal.

11. Threepenny Review

One of the leading platforms in the literary world, Threepenny Review is known for its high-quality content.

  • Genre: Fiction
  • Pay Rate: Flat rate, typically around $400 per story
  • How it Works: Submit your work through their online portal or email. If accepted, payment is made upon publication.

12. Analog Science Fiction And Fact

A giant in the science fiction scene, Analog is where many writers have found a home for their Sci-Fi tales.

  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Pay Rate: Around 8-10 cents per word for stories up to 20,000 words
  • How it Works: Submit your manuscript via email. It often takes around 2-3 months for a decision. 

13. Boulevard Magazine

Boulevard is a well-regarded platform for both fiction and non-fiction, often featuring emerging writers.

  • Genre: Fiction, Non-Fiction
  • Pay Rate: $100-$300 for prose
  • How it Works: Submissions are usually open from October to May. You can submit it online or via post. 

14. Carve Magazine

Carve has earned its name as a top platform for short stories across various genres.

  • Genre: Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Pay Rate: $50 for nonfiction and $100 for fiction
  • How it Works: Submit your story online. If selected, you’ll be paid upon publication. 

15. Ploughshares

Known for its literary excellence, Ploughshares is a go-to platform for serious writers.

  • Genre: Fiction and nonfiction
  • Pay Rate: $25 per printed page, up to a max of $250
  • How it Works: They have both online and print options for submission. If accepted, you will be paid upon publication. 

16. Strange Horizons

If you have a flair for speculative fiction, Strange Horizons could be the right platform for you. It’s an online magazine that has been paying writers for nearly two decades.

  • Genre: Speculative Fiction
  • Pay Rate: Varies, generally around 10 cents per word.
  • How it Works: You can submit your short story online. If accepted, you’ll be paid via PayPal. Keep in mind the magazine’s specific guidelines for speculative fiction.

17. Apex Magazine

Apex Magazine focuses on the darker sides of science fiction and fantasy. A monthly publication, it’s great for authors who experiment with these genres.

  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror
  • Pay Rate: 8 cents per word up to 1,000 words for new fiction, and 5 cents for reprints.
  • How it Works: Submit your story through their online portal. Payments are usually made through PayPal.

18. Asimov’s Science Fiction

A giant in the world of science fiction, Asimov’s is known for publishing some of the genre’s best works. Named after the legendary Isaac Asimov, this magazine is a go-to for sci-fi writers.

  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Pay Rate: 8-10 cents per word for short stories up to 7,500 words, and 8 cents for each word over 7,500.
  • How it Works: Manuscripts can be sent via mail or online submission. Payment is generally made upon acceptance.

19. Craft Literary

Focused on the art of fiction, Craft Literary is an ideal spot for authors who take a detailed, craft-based approach to their stories.

  • Genre: Fiction, Creative nonfiction
  • Pay Rate: $100 flat rate for flash fiction; $200 for original short fiction and creative nonfiction.
  • How it Works: Submit your work online. If your story is accepted, payment is made via PayPal.

20. Daily Science Fiction

As the name implies, Daily Science Fiction is a haven for science fiction writers. The site publishes a new story every weekday.

  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • Pay Rate: 8 cents per word
  • How it Works: Online submissions only. Payment is made upon publication through PayPal.

21. Fireside Magazine

Fireside Magazine is a leader in publishing both fiction and non-fiction stories with a focus on quality and diversity. They’re known for paying their writers well.

  • Genre: Various, including Speculative Fiction
  • Pay Rate: 12.5 cents per word
  • How it Works: Submit your story during open submission periods. If accepted, you’ll go through an editorial process before getting paid. 

22. The New Yorker

The crown jewel for many writers, The New Yorker offers a broad spectrum of topics and genres, but the bar is high.

  • Genre: Various, including Fiction, Poetry, Essays
  • Pay Rate: Negotiable, varies widely
  • How it Works: Submit online or via mail. If your work is selected, you’ll be contacted by an editor. 

23. The Iowa Review

Prestigious and well-regarded, The Iowa Review is a literary magazine that seeks unique voices and styles.

  • Genre: Various, including Fiction, Poetry, Essays
  • Pay Rate: $0.08 per word for prose
  • How it Works: Submissions are generally through Submittable. If selected, payment is made upon publication.

24. Vestal Review

Vestal Review is among the oldest magazines dedicated to flash fiction. They’re keen on concise and impactful storytelling.

  • Genre: Flash Fiction
  • Pay Rate: $75 per story, up to $100 for print
  • How it Works: Send in your story during open submissions. If accepted, you’ll receive payment upon publication.

25. Virginia Quarterly Review

A well-known journal, Virginia Quarterly focuses on various topics, always looking for depth and complexity.

  • Genre: Various, including Fiction, Poetry, Essays
  • Pay Rate: For submissions between 2,500 and 3,000 words, the rate is 33 cents per word. For those between 3,000 and 4,000 words, the rate drops to 25 cents per word, and so forth.
  • How it Works: Submission windows are limited. If your work is accepted, an editor will get in touch.

26. BBC

BBC is a venerable name in the media world, known for its commitment to high-quality journalism. They also accept fiction for their various programs.

  • Genre: Drama, Scripted Content
  • Pay Rate: BBC pays £209 for the first two stories, £248 for third to fifth, £282 for sixth to ninth, and £359 for tenth and beyond. Established stories get £426.
  • How it Works: Submit your scripted works to specific BBC programs that accept public submissions. If accepted, you’ll receive a flat rate payment.

27. The Atlantic

The Atlantic is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher recognized for its deep editorial pieces. It also has a section dedicated to fiction.

  • Genre: Literary Fiction, Essays
  • Pay Rate: The Atlantic pays $150-$1,600 per task; the exact rate is not listed online.
  • How it Works: The Atlantic accepts unsolicited submissions. Payment is usually on a per-word basis.

28. Cricket Media

Cricket Media is a treasure trove for young readers, engaging them with fascinating stories. It’s an ideal platform for writers who specialize in children’s fiction.

  • Genre: Children’s Fiction, Poetry
  • Pay Rate: Up to 25 cents per word
  • How it Works: Submit your stories or poems through their online portal. If accepted, payment is based on word count.

29. Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

This magazine is a haven for fans of suspense and mystery, providing a platform for writers in this genre.

  • Genre: Mystery, Thrillers
  • Pay Rate: 5-8 cents per word
  • How it Works: Submit your mystery stories through their online or mail submission system. They pay upon acceptance.

30. Reader’s Digest

Reader’s Digest is a household name, famous for its feel-good stories and informative articles. They also pay for story submissions.

  • Genre: Various – Real Life Stories, Humor
  • Pay Rate: Up to $250 per story between 800 and 1,000 words in length.
  • How it Works: Submit your real-life stories or humor pieces through their website. If your work is selected, you’ll be paid up to $250.

What Are Short Stories?

A short story is a brief work of fiction that usually focuses on a single event or character. Unlike novels, short stories are compact and aim to evoke a single, unified effect. 

Originating from oral storytelling traditions, they gained prominence in the 19th century with writers like Edgar Allan Poe setting the form’s early standards.

Importance in Today’s Digital Age

In our fast-paced, digital world, short stories have found new life. They offer bite-sized yet impactful experiences perfect for readers on the go. 

The form has adapted well to digital platforms, making it easier than ever to publish and monetize your work. 

Many online platforms pay writers for quality short stories, spanning various genres and styles.

You can even leverage short stories to build a personal brand or to test out ideas before committing to a longer piece. 

The ability to quickly read, share, and engage with short stories makes them highly relevant in today’s content-rich landscape. 

With opportunities ranging from traditional publishers to blog posts and e-books, the sky’s the limit for today’s short story writers.

Popular Genres in Short Stories To Focus On

Understanding popular genres can help target your short stories for the right audience and platform. Here are some genres that are in high demand:

1. Mystery

  • What It Is: Stories that involve solving a crime or unraveling secrets.
  • Popularity: Highly popular on platforms like Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.
  • Discussion: The allure of the unknown keeps readers hooked till the last word.

2. Romance

  • What It Is: Focuses on romantic relationships between characters.
  • Popularity: Huge demand on platforms like Wattpad and Smashwords.
  • Discussion: Romance has mass appeal, and the emotional highs and lows can make for a compelling read.

3. Sci-Fi

  • What It Is: Deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as space travel and advanced technology.
  • Popularity: Genres like Sci-Fi are welcomed on Clarkesworld and Asimov’s.
  • Discussion: The genre allows for endless creativity and appeals to readers who enjoy futuristic settings.

4. Fantasy

  • What It Is: Features magical elements and takes place in an imaginary universe.
  • Popularity: Platforms like Strange Horizons and Apex Magazine often publish these stories.
  • Discussion: Offers escapism and the freedom to design a unique world.

5. Horror

  • What It Is: Aims to create a sense of fear and terror.
  • Popularity: Not as mainstream but has a loyal following. Fireside Magazine is a good platform.
  • Discussion: Effective horror stories tap into primal fears and can be quite impactful.

6. Thriller

  • What It Is: High-stakes, high-tension stories that keep readers on the edge of their seats.
  • Popularity: Thriller short stories can often be found in general fiction magazines.
  • Discussion: The aim is to keep the reader tense and alert, often via plot twists.

7. Non-Fiction

  • What It Is: Real stories that can be either personal or factual.
  • Popularity: Platforms like Medium and The Sun Magazine often accept non-fiction shorts.
  • Discussion: Great for readers who prefer facts over fiction, and can range from personal essays to investigative reports.

How Much Can You Make Writing Short Stories?

Writing short stories can be both a passion and a viable way to earn money. But how much can you really make? 

The answer varies based on several factors such as the platform you choose, the genre of your story, and the quality of your writing.

Factors That Affect Earnings

  • Platform: The choice of platform can significantly impact your earnings. Some platforms offer a flat rate, while others pay per word.
  • Genre: The genre of your short story can also affect how much you make. Certain genres like science fiction or romance may offer higher pay rates.
  • Quality: The better the writing, the higher the pay. Top-notch quality can also open doors to more prestigious platforms.
  • Rights: Consider if you’re selling exclusive rights, as this could also affect your earnings.

Typical Pay Rates

  • Flat Rates: These range from $50 to $500 per story for newer writers.
  • Per Word: Rates can go from 5 to 25 cents per word, depending on the platform and genre.

Tips to Increase Earnings

  • Multi-Platform Publishing: Don’t limit yourself to one platform. The same story can often be sold to multiple places if you retain your rights.
  • Contests: Many writing contests offer cash prizes and can be a good way to earn extra income.

Different Ways to Make Money from Short Stories

1. Writing for Blogs

Blogs often seek fresh content. You can pitch your short stories or even serialized fiction to blogs that pay for such work.

  • Tip: Use SEO-friendly keywords to attract more readers.

2. Writing for Magazines

Print and online magazines pay well for short stories, often much more than blogs.

  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, Romance and more.

3. Kindle Books

Self-publish your stories as a Kindle book. Amazon takes a cut, but you get to set your price and even offer the book for free to boost its rankings.

  • Tip: Market your book for free using social media or Amazon’s own promotional tools.

4. E-Books

You can also opt to publish an e-book. Different platforms let you sell your book and you can keep a larger portion of the profits.

How to Get Paid for Short Stories on Amazon

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) offers a robust platform for writers to publish and earn from their short stories. Here’s a step-by-step guide to maximize your earnings:

  • Sign up for a KDP account on Amazon’s official site.
  • Make sure your story is well-edited. Consider taking an online proofreading course to polish your work.
  • Format the text and layout to meet KDP’s guidelines.
  • An eye-catching cover can boost sales. Tools like Canva can help.
  • Optimize metadata and keywords to make your story easy to find.
  • Price your story competitively. Read about passive income ideas for young adults to see how KDP fits into your overall earning strategy.
  • Click the “Publish” button. Your story will be live within 72 hours.
  • Use social media, blogs, and websites to market your book. Learn skills to earn money online that can help with this.
  • Monitor sales via the KDP dashboard.
  • Money is sent to your account monthly.

Tips to Maximize Earnings:

  • Use Amazon Ads to boost visibility.
  • Join the KDP Select Program for extra perks.

In sum, writing short stories can be more than just a passion; it can be a viable income source too.

With platforms ranging from Wattpad to Medium and Kindle Direct Publishing, your words can find a home and a paycheck.

Explore these avenues to turn your love for storytelling into a money-making venture. Happy writing!

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