This is a list of science fiction publishers that pay for short stories, particularly speculative fiction, with a focus on science fiction. This genre of writing has some of the best pay out there for short stories. This list is not at all comprehensive, but is a potential goldmine for the determined writer.
To make the cut for this list, each magazine has to pay at least $750 for some of the stories they publish. Some of these science fiction publishers are currently closed to submissions, but most are currently accepting submissions at the time this article was first published.
Science Fiction Publishers that Pay $750+ for Short Stories
Analog is the magazine of “science fiction and fact.” They publish stories in which some “aspect of future science or technology is so integral to the plot that, if that aspect were removed, the story would collapse.” They pay 8-10 cents a word, up to 7,500 words. That means payment up to $750. They also publish serials and novellas, up to 80,000 words, at 6 cents per word. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
Strange Horizons publishes speculative fiction, “broadly defined.” They pay 8 cents a word, up to 10,000 words, though they prefer stories under 5,000 words. That means they pay up to $800. They have a thorough guidelines page, which goes into detail about what they want/don’t want to publish. Read their submission guidelines here.
Lightspeed Magazine seeks to publish original science fiction and fantasy stories. According to their website “no subject should be considered off-limits.” They pay 8 cents a word, up to 10,000 words. They also accept reprints at a reduced rate. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
Apex Magazine publishes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They publish stories directly on their website, so you can easily get a sense of what they publish. They pay 6 cents a word, up to 7,500 words. They re-open to submissions on September 1st. Submission guidelines.
Tor is one of the best paying markets for science fiction. They pay $0.25 cents a word, with no more than 17,500 words. That means well over $2,000 as a maximum payment. At the time this article was published, they were closed for submissions. But, they are accepting submissions of non-fiction articles. To learn more, and to stay updated, read their submission guidelines.
Asimov’s Science Fiction
Asimov’s Science Fiction is a publisher with quite a lot of awards. Stories they’ve published have won 53 Hugo and 28 Nebula awards. They pay 8-10 cents a word for short stories up to 7,500 words, and 8-8.5 cents a word for longer material. To learn more, read their submission’s guidelines.
ClarkesWorld is a monthly sci-fi and fantasy publication. They publish short stories, interviews, and fiction. They pay 10 cents a word for the first 5,000 words, and 8 cents a word after that, up to a maximum of 16,000 words. They also respond very quickly to submissions — usually 2 days. To learn more, be sure to read their full submission guidelines.
Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest
Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest (www.writersofthefuture.com)
Info: Quarterly contest; winning stories are published yearly as a collection.
Word count: up to 17,000.
Pay: First place: $1,000; second place: $750; third place: $500; $5,000 grand prize for best of the year.
Response time: More than three months.
About: This is a prestigious short story contest for new writers. I think it’s one of the best contests for speculative fiction. If you can win this contest, you’re one of the best.
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (www.fandsf.com)
Info: Bimonthly magazine; publishes stories about 6-8 months after acceptance.
Word count: less than 25,000.
Pay: 6-9 cents/word for short stories.
Response time: Less than two months.
About: The magazine prefers character-oriented stories. It also accepts poetry.
Fiction Vortex only accepts speculative fiction that we can turn into serial/episodic fiction for a Serial Box. We want sci-fi, fantasy, horror, supernatural, alternate history, alternate realities, etc. And this is the most important: WE WANT THE WORLD THAT YOUR STORY COMES FROM. There really are no minimum requirements, but we aren’t interested in abstract or experimental pieces. The maximum is 3,500 words. We want authors that pack a punch with their word efficiency. Fiction Vortex will pay $300 USD for each issues featured story and $50 USD for the four honorable mentions in each quarterly issue, payable only through PayPal.
Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear your list of science fiction publishers. You can leave them a comment here…