10 Literary Journals that Pay Their Writers

Written by Emily Harstone | May 15, 2014

Last Updated August 20th, 2017

“It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.” W.H. Auden

As someone who makes their living writing about writing and publishing, I can attest to how truthful Auden’s quote is. It is hard making a living as a writer, but it is even harder making a living as a poet or an author of short fiction.

Many literary journals do not pay their writers. This is because most are passion projects, they are not for profit, or they are run by an individual or a small group of people who love to write and read but do not necessarily have a lot of money. Many of these journals are run by schools with underfunded English departments. I would say that over 75% of literary journals do not pay their writers.  I have no problem with that. But occasionally it is nice to be paid.

For your reading pleasure are 10 literary journals that pay. They may not be the most prestigious journals (although some of them are), they are not all open to submissions right now, but all of them do pay their authors. Some pay well and others pay a token amount.

1. The Threepenny Review

We have reviewed this literary journal before, so you can learn more of the details by reading that review here. The Threepenny Review is one of the most respected print journals out there and they also pay their writers $200 per poem or $400 per short story. You can visit their website here. They are primarily interested in short stories and poems.

2. Escape Pod

Escape Pod publishes all of its stories in audio and text formats. They are a science fiction market but as they say in their submission guidelines “our mandate is fun.” They allow some flexibility to exist within the genre and they have published the occasional steampunk or superhero tale. But they are not interested in fantasy, magic realism, or stories that contain more than a tinge of horror. They pay 100 dollars for reprints and more for original work. Read our full review here.

3.Flash Fiction Online

Flash Fiction Online is an electronic journal that accepts very few of the flash fiction pieces that they receive. They are only interested in publishing short stories that are between 500 and 1000 words in length. They pay 60 dollars per story. They are open to stories of any genre but have very specific guidelines that you can read on their website here.

4.Contrary Magazine

Contrary Magazine publishes short stories, flash fiction, essays, and poetry. They pay $20 per author per issue, length of the piece does not factor into the payment. To learn more, visit their website here.

5. Clarksworld

Clarkesworld Magazine is a Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning science fiction and fantasy magazine that publishes short stories, interviews, articles and audio fiction on a monthly basis. They pay very well. Read our full review here.

6. The Sun

A wonderful advertisement free magazine. They pay from $300 to $2,000 for essays and interviews, $300 to $1,500 for fiction, and $100 to $200 for poetry. They also give contributors a complimentary one-year subscription to The Sun. Learn more here.

7. The Malahat Review

The Malahat Review is an established and respected print magazine based out of Canada. They purchase first world serial rights and, upon acceptance, pay $40 CAD per published page, plus a one-year subscription. Copyright reverts to the author upon publication. To learn lore visit their website here.

8. Shimmer

Shimmer publishes speculative fiction. We have reviewed them before. For more detailed information you can read our original review here. They pay their authors 5 cents a word, with a minimum payment of $10. To learn more, read their submission guidelines here.

9.  Poetry

Poetry Magazine was founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912. The magazine established a reputation early on by publishing many important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and many others. They pay a minimum of 300 dollars per poem. You can visit their website here.

10. Breath and Shadows

They publish only authors who have disabilities, although they define that term broadly. The pay scale is $5 – $15 for poetry, $15 – $25 for fiction, and $15 – $25 for nonfiction. To learn more visit their website here.