How many times have you found yourself with a polished piece of writing that you’d like to submit for publication, only to find it infuriatingly difficult to find the right market or outlet, especially writing sites that pay? Once you’ve done the hard work of planning, researching, drafting, redrafting, and editing your fiction, you want to find it the perfect ‘home’, where it will reach your intended audience – and where you will get paid to write!
The trouble is, many listicles of websites that pay you to write fiction have become outdated since their publication. They can lead to dead-ends, links to since-closed submission pages, or even to writing websites that have since gone out of business. Even worse, they sometimes lead you to extortionate scams framed as “writing courses”, which offer you the privilege of paying money for the potential of being published.
That’s why we’ve compiled an up-to-date list of paying markets for 2021. We’ve checked each listing for legitimacy, and it’s constantly being updated. We’ve also deliberately avoided adding any soul-destroying “content mills”. At the end of this list, you’ll find a great opportunity to get paid to write fiction online. You can even earn $200 – without doing any of the writing (scroll down to see it now!).
Relay Publishing is a multi-genre fiction publishing company that’s been in business since 2013. They have a catalog of more than 1,000 books in English, German and French, with their focus on romance, young adult fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, and post-apocalyptic fiction.
There are so many advantages to ghostwriting for an agency like Relay, including a steady stream of long-term projects (no more juggling multiple clients!); in-house resources, outline writers, and editors to guide and support you; competitive pay; and the ability to earn money writing fiction online – from the comfort of your own home! There are a variety of exciting jobs available. Here’s what one freelancer had to say…
“It’s great that Relay has up-to-date manuals and instructions for so many stages of their process. I love that level of investment. It’s very good to be able to get feedback after a project. It’s great for a company to value freelancer input, and treat all those involved as bringing something valuable to the project.”
Get Paid to Write Contemporary and Literary Fiction
AGNI is a literary magazine run out of Boston University. They champion emerging authors, meaning you don’t need an extensive portfolio or social media presence behind you in order for your submission to be considered. In addition to short contemporary fiction, they also accept poetry and critical essays. Their submission period is between September and May every year, and if your piece is selected for publication, they pay $10 per printed page for fiction, and $20 per printed page for poetry. They also throw in a year’s subscription to the magazine, and several contributor copies of the issue!
Apparition lit is a themed quarterly literary magazine that specialises in pieces with a speculative slant. They publish short stories, poetry, and artwork, and ask for your best “strange” and “misshapen” tales. Apparition is a semi-pro rate magazine, paying $0.03 per word, with a minimum payment of $30.00 dollars for short stories and a flat fee of $30 per poem.
The Graduate English Department at the University of Alabama produces Black Warrior Review twice a year, and they pay a one-year subscription and undisclosed “nominal lump sum fee” for risky and diverse fiction. The magazine particularly welcomes writers from diverse backgrounds, including women, LGBTQ+ identities, BIPOC, and disabled contributors.
Boulevard is an award-winning publisher of literary fiction, including contemporary short stories, essays, and poetry. They have been operating since 1985, and are welcoming to new and previously unpublished writers. Their submission period is between October and May each year. Their minimum payment for prose is $100, and their maximum payment for prose is $300.
Carve is a good publication for writers who prefer traditional ‘literary’ stories – they don’t tend to publish genre fiction like romance, horror, crime, fantasy, or sci-fi. Editors typically respond with personalized feedback instead of form rejections, and they pay $100 per accepted story.
Craft Literary is an online writing community offering publication and feedback through their website. While successful submissions don’t appear to be paid, they do hold several writing competitions a year, including a First Chapters Contest, a Flash Fiction Contest, and a Short Fiction Prize. Their most recent Flash Fiction Contest, closed on October 31, 2021, offers a prize of £1,000 for stories of up to 1,000 words. (This does, however, come with a $20 reading fee).
Fabula Argentea invites writers to submit pieces of up to 8,000 words for their quarterly magazine. They publish in January, April, July, and October. Their submission guidelines have specific “likes” and “dislikes”, so be sure to have a thorough read through the expectations to ensure your story is a good fit. They pay $5 for pieces up to 1000 words, $10 for 1000-5000 words, and $15 for 5000-8000 words.
One Story publishes literary fiction between 3,000 and 8,000 words. They pay $500, and also provide 25 contributor copies in exchange for First Serial North American rights. They have a separate Teen imprint, “One Teen Story”, for writers between 13 and 19 years old. One Story’s current submission period is open between October 4 – November 14, 2021.
Ploughshares is an award-wining, paying literary journal that’s been publishing since 1971. They produce four quarterly issues a year, and their literary blog features new writing every day. Since 1989, they’ve been operating out of Emerson College, in Boston, and their current submission window is open between June 1, 2021 and January 15, 2022. You can submit to their journal, to Ploughshare Solo Stories, to their Look2Essay segment, or to their Emerging Writers Contest, for previously unpublished authors.
The Iowa review has been publishing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for more than 50 years. Each issue is indexed in international online interdisciplinary databases like EBSCOhost, JSTOR, and ProQuest, making it easy for readers to find you. They pay $1.50 per line for poetry ($40 minimum) and $0.08 per word for prose, with a $100 minimum payment.
The Missouri Review publishes quarterly, and they have an “open submission” policy, meaning that instead of holding specific reading periods, they welcome submissions all year-round. Each issue contains a mixture of poetry, short stories, and nonfiction, and they do not solicit specific writers or pieces. The website does not specify an amount, but “authors are paid per printed page.”
The commissioning editors at The People’s Friend are up-front about the fact that they publish fiction espousing traditional, family-centric and marriage-positive values, and won’t accept work that doesn’t fit their distinctive style. They publish fiction, poetry, features, photography, and pocket novels. Their guidelines confirm that payment is upon acceptance.
The Southern Review’s current submission window is open: they are actively reading fiction between October 1, 2021, and January 1, 2022. Established at Louisiana State University in 1935, they publish fiction (up to 10,000 words), nonfiction, poetry, and translations, and pay $50 for the first printed page and $25 for each subsequent printed page with a maximum payment of $200, plus two copies of the issue in which the work appears, and a one-year subscription to the magazine. However, please note there is a $3 submission fee.
The threepenny review is open for submissions January through April each year. They publish literary and contemporary fiction, and pay $400 per story or article, and $200 per poem or Table Talk piece.
Upstreet publishes fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, including an author interview each article. Their reading period is from September 1 to March 1. Fiction and nonfiction pieces must be 5,000 words or less in length, and the magazine will not accept any piece with partisan political themes or topics. Payment, upon publication, ranges between $50 and $250.
Children’s Fiction and Flash Fiction
Zizzle Literary is an anthology book series with the aim of bringing children and parents together for a reading experience focusing on flash fiction. They pay a flat rate of US $100 for each accepted flash story, and a flat rate of US $250 for each accepted short story. Their separate annual flash competition has a first prize of $1,000, a second prize of $500, and an award of $150 each for the top three finalists.
SmokeLong Quarterly pays $50 per published piece of flash narrative, and also offers editorial feedback in the form of general submission feedback, senior editor feedback, and an asynchronous 7-week course entitled The SmokeLong Quarterly Flash Workshop Online.
The Vestal Review is the longest-running online publisher of flash fiction (up to 500 words), and they are currently open for submissions: their reading period is from August 1 to November 30, 2021. Their first 2022 reading period will be from February 1 – May 31. They charge a $3 reading fee, and pay successful contributors $50 upon acceptance.
Make Money Writing Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, and Crime
HHMM is one of the foremost publishers of short-form crime, suspense, and mystery fiction. They’ve been operating since 1956 and have won a plethora of awards in that time. Their rates are from $0.05 to 0.08 per word, “sometimes higher for established authors”.
Since it was established in 1930, Analog has published more than 60 Hugo and Nebula award-winning stories from the most prominent writers of speculative fiction in the world. The magazine itself has won more than 75 awards. They pay $0.08 to 0.10 per word for short science fiction (up to approximately 20,000 words), $0.06 per word for serials (40,000-80,000 words), $0.09 per word for fact articles, and $1 per line for poetry.
Apex magazine publishes original short science fiction of up to 7,500 words. Payment is up to $0.08 per word, with a minimum payment of $50. If Apex turns your story into a podcast, they will pay an additional $0.01 per word.
Founded in 1977, Asimov’s pays $0.08 to $0.10 per word for short stories of up to 7,500 words, and $0.08 for each word over 7,500. They don’t often accept stories shorter than 1,000 words or longer than 20,000 words, and don’t serialize novels. They also pay $1 per line for poetry, which they say should not exceed 40 lines in length.
Black Static is one of the most well-known publishers of short-form horror fiction. They are always open to submissions of up to 10,000 words. As part of TTA Press, they are a sister publication to Interzone, which publishes sci-fi, and Crime Zone, which publishes crime fiction, mystery, and suspense.
Clarkesworld publishes speculative fiction of both science fiction and fantasy bent. They have been putting out monthly issues since October 2006 and pay $0.12 per word for SFF stories between 1,000-22,000 words in length – no exceptions. They specify that they don’t accept horror, but dark SFF is okay.
Crimewave is a sister publication to Black Static and Interzone, all of which are subsidiaries of TTA Press. They buy crime fiction of up to 10,000 words in length.
Daily Science Fiction publishes, well, every day! Despite the title, they also accept and champion fantasy stories. Submissions should not exceed 1,500 words in length, and they pay $0.08 per word.
Dread Imaginings is a new online fiction magazine. Their editor wants stories of up to 4,000 words “that present your protagonist’s encounter with the horrific, disturbing, uncanny, weird, macabre, and/or grotesque.” Original monsters and concepts (rather than the familiar and well-trodden paths of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts) will likely be an easier sell than tropes already-established. The magazine pays $0.01 per word.
Throughout September and October 2021, Escape Pod is only accepting themed submissions that have to do with “Joy.” After that, they are returning to their general submissions schedule, which reopens November 1, 2021. Their primary format is audio, and they prefer stories of high clarity and tight-pacing to suit this format. They pay $0.08 per word for original science fiction.
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine was established in 1941, and since then has published some of the most innovative voices in crime fiction. They accept stories between 2,500 and 12,000 words, but in the past have published stories as short as 250 words, and short novels as long as 20,000 words. However, stories outside of the average length are less likely to get accepted. They pay $0.05 to -$0.08 per word.
Fantasy & Science Fiction publishes a wide range of speculative stories up to 25,000 words in length. They pay $0.08 to $0.12 per word upon acceptance. Founded in 1949, the magazine has published illustrious stories such as Stephen King’s Dark Tower, Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon, and Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz.
Fireside operates on a guest editor model, and is open to submissions roughly once every three months. They accept stories of up to 3,000 words in length. Their guidelines state, “Our budget allows us to pay for up to 7,000 words per monthly issue of Fireside Magazine, which means we are always going to buy more shorter fiction than longer stories.” They pay $0.125 per word for accepted stories.
Giganotosaurus, named for what was “almost the largest carnivorous dinosaur”, publishes one mid-length speculative or SFF story a month. The rule of thumb is, longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel. Most acceptances range between 5,000 and 25,000 words. They pay $100 per story upon acceptance.
Founded in 1989, Interzone is the sci-fi wing of TTA Press, which also houses Crimewave and Black Static. They publish stories of up to 10,000 words that fall under the speculative or SFF umbrella.
Nightmare publishes horror fiction and dark fantasy. They also publish horror-themed flash fiction, CNF, and poetry. While multiple submissions per category are not allowed, their submissions engine allows you to make one submission in every open category. They welcome stories of between 1,500 and 7,500 words, and stories of 5,000 words or less are preferred.
Founded in 2008, PodCastle is a weekly fantasy-themed podcast that produces audio performances of fantasy short fiction, including plenty of different subgenres of fantasy, such as magical realism, urban fantasy, slipstream, high fantasy, and dark fantasy. They open again for submissions on November 1, 2021, and generally accept stories of up to 6,000 words. You are able to submit one original story and one reprint at any one time. They pay $0.08 per word for original fiction, a $100 flat rate for reprints more than 1,500 words, and a $20 flat rate for flash fiction reprints (stories that are less than 1,500 words in length).
Pseudopod champions genre fiction, primarily horror, in an audio format. Their guidelines say, “We’re looking for horror: dark, weird fiction. We run the spectrum from grim realism or crime drama, to magic-realism, to blatantly supernatural dark fantasy… what matters most is that the stories are compelling.” They are a sister to PodCastle and pay the same rates as listed above. They have a schedule available online detailing their reading periods and auditions for narrators.
PULP Literature embraces genre fiction in all its forms, including crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense. This quarterly book-length magazine (produced in print and digital editions) features short stories, novellas, novel and graphic novel excerpts, and graphic shorts. They accept stories of up to 20,000 words, though stories less than 5000 words have a better chance of being accepted. They pay $0.05 to $0.08 per word for short stories (to 7000 words) with adjusted pay scales for longer works.
The editors are currently reading for Reckoning Issue 6, the deadline for which was September 22, 2021. They publish creative writing and art about environmental justice up to 20,000 words and pay $0.08 a word.
Strange Horizons will be open to submissions the entire month of November 2021. They want speculative fiction of up to 10,000 words, but generally prefer pieces that come in at less than 5,000 words. They pay $0.10 a word, with a minimum payment of $60. Their guidelines include a “stories we see too often” page, to give you an idea of what they are and are not looking for.
Terraform pays $0.20 a word for pieces of science fiction, or what they call “near future” fiction, that are 2,000 words or less in length.
Established in 1923, Weird Tales buys “prophetic tales of dark fantasy, cosmic horror, supernatural revenge, and the sorcery of terror.” After a several-years-long hiatus, it returned in 2019.
Write Romance and Erotica & Get Paid
Bella Books publishes novel-length fiction celebrating women and diverse communities. They are interested in romance, mystery, thriller, paranormal, erotic, and LGBTQ+ stories. Their guidelines detail what your submission package should include.
Black Velvet Seductions acquires book-length romance and erotica, including the subgenres of contemporary, historical, thriller, supernatural, fantasy, and more.
Founded in 2016, Deep Desires Press is currently looking to acquire romantic and erotic manuscripts. The founders say that, ““At the core of our company, we have two primary objectives. The first is to provide a superior erotic reading experience. The second is to create a community of happy and successful authors, and this includes recognizing and celebrating an author’s success outside of their work with Deep Desires Press.”
East of the Web publishes a wide range of short stories across many different genres, including romance (crime, sci-fi, fantasy, and children’s stories are also welcome). They state that romance stories here should include a thriller or mystery element, and previously published stories will be considered. They pay $0.05 per word.
Heroes and Heartbreakers is an imprint of Macmillan, specializing in short stories and novellas in the romance genre. They pay a $1,000 advance against 25% royalties.
Mslexia is a feminist and pleasure positive publication and there are 17 ways to submit your writing to them. The deadline for submission slots for Issue 93 is January 10, 2022. They also run writing competitions and have plenty of resources for writers. Pay varies.
This quarterly print and digital magazine emphasizes diversity, including stories by and about people of color. It publishes short romance stories as well as tips and tricks about writing and motivational or inspirational nonfiction. Any genre of romance is acceptable, though erotica is not. They ask that writers query before submitting, and they pay flat fee of $25.
Totally Bound Publishing is currently accepting Romantica, Erotic Romance and Sweet Romance manuscripts between 10,000 and 100,000 words – please see their website for a long list of acceptable subgenres. They have a series of themed calls for submissions currently running, as well as their year-round open reading window. Pay varies.
As you can see, there are many ways to write at home, and in doing so, make money writing. Writing for money is a challenging but rewarding career path, and one of the best ways to make money writing online is to work for an agency like Relay. Instead of relying on Wattpad paid stories, or trawling through the hundreds of sites that pay you to write in order to find the right one, why not earn money writing online with one of the best paid and most consistent fiction writing jobs there is? Many ghostwriters for Relay, like Paula Hawkins, have gone on to have illustrious careers publishing under their own name. Best of all, Relay even offers a $200 finder’s fee for sending suitable applicants their way!
Harry Wallett is the Founder and Managing Director of Relay Publishing. Combining his entrepreneurial background with a love of great stories, Harry founded Relay in 2013 as a fresh way to create books and for writers to earn a living from their work. Since then, Relay has sold 3+ million copies and worked with 100s of writers on bestselling titles such as Defending Innocence, The Alveria Dragon Akademy Series and Rancher’s Family Christmas.
Harry oversees the creative direction of the company, and works to develop a supportive collaborative environment for the Relay team to thrive within in order to fulfill our mission to create unputdownable books.