Getting paid to write is the goal of every dedicated author—and it’s even better if you can get paid to write only a couple of words at a time. That frees you up to go write more things elsewhere, keep your releases coming regularly, and always be providing your fans with new work to enjoy.
This is one of the reasons flash fiction is so great. We’ve talked before about what flash fiction is and how you can use it to promote your books, but did you know you can also get paid to write super-short stories?
Paid Flash Fiction Markets
Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few paying markets for flash fiction!
You’ll never make as much as you would selling a novel or a short story, but you can get paid to write flash fiction and start building your publishing credits up.
If you belong to a writing marketplace website like Poets & Writers, Writers Digest, or Duotrope, you can search their listings for magazines and journals that are currently accepting flash fiction submissions.
You can also check in with these 18 markets, all of which are reputable paying publications and were active as of July 2017.
American Short Fiction
American Short Fiction prefers literary fiction of 2,000 words or less and is open to submissions year-round. It also holds contests for flash fiction of 1,000 words or less.
The journal charges a $3 fee per submission, but it pays a professional rate for published work, likely 5 cents per word or a bit more (it doesn’t publicly disclose rates).
Brevity magazine publishes flash nonfiction, meaning very short (under 750-word) essays. It also publishes short essays on the craft of writing. It offers $45 on publication. The magazine opens to submissions periodically, so check in on the website to see when you can submit.
Daily Science Fiction
Daily Science Fiction publishes new, short works of sci-fi daily, just like the name says. They accept flash fiction between 100 and 1,500 words in any speculative genre, including hard sci-fi, space opera, fantasy, slipstream, and more. The shorter the story, the better your chances of publication (as long as it’s a great story, naturally).
You can’t have published your story anywhere else previously, including on your blog, Twitter, or email newsletter.
DSF pays 8 cents per word. You may also have the opportunity to appear in one of DSF’s theme anthologies, which pays a small additional amount.
Devilfish Review publishes short speculative fiction—fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and other, weirder things. Unlike many journals, it’s open to poetry submissions. Stories should be 5,000 words or less, with a separate submissions category for 500-word flash fiction. It also considers some nonfiction submissions.
Devilfish Review publishes quarterly and pays $10 per accepted piece.
Everyday Fiction publishes flash fiction of 1,000 words or less that tells a complete story. You can’t have previously published the story anywhere, including on your blog. Any and all genres are welcome, and the magazine pays $3 per story. Authors are encouraged to link to their website and to any available books.
Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine
Flash is the journal of the International Flash Fiction Association and, as a result, getting published here is a pretty big deal. That said, it’s not really a paying market—you only receive a complimentary contributor copy of the print issue your work appears in.
Still, it’s worth considering as a professional publication credit, especially since published stories might be nominated for the Pushcart Prize or other major awards. The journal publishes twice a year and has rolling submissions depending on whether the next issue is full; check the website for details. It prefers literary fiction of 360 words or less.
Flash Fiction Online
Flash Fiction Online is open to submissions on a revolving basis; be sure to check the website to see if they’re currently open. Stories should be between 500–1,000 words long, in any genre other than erotica. The editors particularly like fantasy and science fiction, but they’re open to any well-crafted flash fiction.
Flash Fiction Online pays $60 for original fiction. Reprints are also now accepted, with a payment rate of 2 cents per word. If your work is selected for inclusion in an anthology, you’ll receive 2 cents per word. This is an SFWA-qualifying market, too, so you can work towards your professional guild membership status with publication here.
The Funny Times is all about humor—it publishes original cartoons and funny stories of 500–700 words. Nothing’s off limits, as long as it’s humorous.
They only accept printed, mailed submissions, and pay $60 per published story.
Gettysburg Review publishes a variety of fiction, essays, and poetry and accepts submissions between September and May every year. It doesn’t accept genre fiction—only literary fiction, though the editors prefer stories that are “off-beat, penetrating, and surprising.”
The journal publishes once a quarter and pays $25 per printed page for prose. There’s a $3 fee to submit online, but you can submit a hard copy by mail for free (or, well, the cost of a stamp).
Journal of Compressed Literary Arts
The Journal of Compressed Literary Arts is produced by Matter Press and welcomes a wide range of super-short works. Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and artwork all have a place here, as long as they’re “compressed” in some way—what that means is up to you and the editors.
Accepted pieces earn $50. Only 1% of work is accepted—this is a super-competitive journal. Reading periods run from June 15–September 15 and December 15–March 15 every year, and work is published weekly.
Nanoism specializes in Twitter-length short fiction: all submissions have to be 140 characters or less. They also accept serials: linked segments or episodes that tell a bigger story. Literary fiction is preferred.
Nanoism pays $1.50 for stories and $5 for serials regardless of number of segments. You can submit up to once a week, and they publish an author bio with links to your website, Twitter, etc. to help promote your other work.
Believe it or not, the highly respected international science journal Nature has a long-running science fiction column called “Futures.” It publishes book, TV, and movie reviews, criticism, and even runs a podcast. But best of all, it publishes sci-fi flash fiction.
Submissions should focus on hard science fiction—sci-fi that uses real scientific principles to construct fantastic or futuristic scenarios and plots, rather than using hand-waving to explain the future. Stories should be between 850–950 words. Nature pays $130 per published piece and is extremely selective.
New England Review
The New England Review accepts a range of literary-style submissions, including flash fiction, essays, and even art. They currently read submissions between September and May, although this may change due to submissions volume—check the website to see when they’re open. Literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are the most likely to be accepted.
You can choose whether to submit to the print journal or to the website, which publishes various forms of creative writing. It costs $3 to submit to the print journal and $2 to submit for the website, but published stories are paid $20 per page in print and $50 flat rate for the website.
The Pedestal Magazine accepts a quirky variety of work, preferring poetry and speculative fiction (preferably flash fiction). It has rolling submissions, so check in before sending your work; sometimes it’s open only to poetry, other times only to certain genres of fiction.
Only new, unpublished work will be considered. Accepted works are paid $40 on publication.
The People’s Friend is a long-running UK short story publication that also encourages poetry and so-called “pocket novels.” Stories should be between 1,200 and 3,000 words long—so a bit longer than standard flash fiction, but still shorter than many short stories. They prefer upbeat, inspirational, and slightly traditional stories—no gore, erotica, or depressing subject matter. If you like writing sweet romances and uplifting inspirational stories, this is the market for you.
The People’s Friend doesn’t disclose its pay rates, but various writers suggest they’ve received anywhere from £100–300 for stories of 2,000 words or less. The magazine pays on acceptance, not publication, so you get paid right away—which is pretty rare!
Strange Horizons is one of the best markets for short speculative fiction. They don’t have a category specifically for flash fiction, but they prefer stories under 5,000 words and may welcome very well-crafted flash work. Look carefully at the editors’ guidelines and preferences, as certain sub-genres are more likely to be published than others.
Submissions open each week on Monday night and close when the editors get swamped, so always check the website before submitting.
Published pieces are paid 8 cents per word with a minimum payment of $60, and you get paid within 60 days of being accepted—which is awesome, and slightly unusual for the industry (you usually have to wait until some time after publication).
Having been around since 2000, Vestal Review is the longest-running publication devoted exclusively to super-short stories. It publishes flash fiction of 500 words or less twice a year, both in print and online. It accepts a range of genres, but literary fiction is the most likely to be published.
Submissions are only accepted in February–May and August–November, and you can only submit two stories in any given reading period.
Vestal Review charges $2 per submission and pays $25 for each published story.
Flash Fiction Submissions
All of these flash fiction markets have slightly different submission requirements, so make sure you read their submissions page before you submit to ensure you have the best chance of selling your story.
Other Places to Publish Flash Fiction
Beyond the flash fiction markets mentioned above, there are many, many other places you can publish your flash fiction, but lots of those places don’t pay—you only get exposure for your work and a potential publication credit.
Don’t get me wrong, exposure is incredibly valuable, and it never hurts to have new people exposed to your work.
But you may want to try the paying venues we’ve listed here before going to free markets, just on general principle.
If you’re just not able to sell one of your flash fiction stories to a paying market, then by all means consider publishing it somewhere free, or even publish it on your own author website (here’s our free guide to building your own website if you don’t have one yet).
Have you had luck selling flash fiction? Tell us in the comments!
For more on short fiction, check out these articles:
- How Long Should My Book Be? Defining Short Stories, Novellas, and More
- 8 Reasons You Should Be Writing Short Stories
- Get Paid to Write Short Stories: 22 Places That Will Buy Your Fiction
Kate Sullivan is an editor with experience in every aspect of the publishing industry, from editorial to marketing to cover and interior design.
In her career, Kate has edited millions of words and helped dozens of bestselling, award-winning authors grow their careers and do what they love!