Bio: Emily Harstone is the pen name of an author whose work has been published internationally by a number of respected journals. She is a professional submissions adviser. You can follow her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/emilyharstone/
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 projects of passion, are not for profit, or 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 it is nice to be paid occasionally.
For your reading pleasure are 40 literary journals that do pay. They may not be the most prestigious journals (although some of them are), and not all are open to submissions right now, but most are. All of them to 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.
2-5. Escape Artists (Escape Pod, PseudoPod, Cast of Wonders, PodCastle)
Escape Artists is the publishing group that publishes all of its stories in audio and text formats. They are know for their genre podcasts and have a large following. Each publication has a separate focus. For example Cast of Wonders focuses on a young adult audience whereas Escape Pod only publishes Sci-Fi. The various publications pay $100 for full-length reprints and more for original works.
Banshee, a print literary journal from Ireland, is accepts submissions of poetry, fiction, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction. All authors published in the journal will receive payment, as well as a copy of the magazine. Read our full review.
Frontier Poetry accepts submissions year-round. They accept work from both new and emerging poets who have not published more than one full-length collection of poetry. Authors of any number of chapbooks and story collections may submit. Frontier pays poets $50 for each published poem, up to $150. To learn more, read our full review.
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.
9. The Rush
The Rush is a new online literary magazine produced by the students of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles. They pay writers and are seeking poetry, fiction, non-fiction, visual art, and photography in all forms and styles. They hope to publish high-velocity work that captures the rush of human experience. Any topic is fair game, but they don’t accept work about graphic or gratuitous violence or sex. Read our full review.
10. 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 $40 CAD per published page, plus a one-year subscription. Copyright reverts to the author upon publication. To learn more, visit their website.
11. Copper Nickle
Copper Nickle publishes poetry, short stories, and essays. They pay a different rate (usually around 30 dollars per page) per issue and they offer two contributor copies per author. They also have two editor prizes of 500$, one for poetry, the other for prose, that they award to authors each issue. Learn more.
12. Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
This paying and competitive magazine publishes short stories and novellas in the mystery genre. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
13. Breath and Shadows
They publish only authors who have disabilities, although they define that term broadly. The pay scale is $20 for poetry and $30 for fiction and non-fiction. To learn more, visit their website.
14. Contrary Magazine
Contrary Magazine publishes short stories, flash fiction, essays, and poetry. They pay $20 per author per issue — the length of the piece does not factor into the payment. To learn more, visit their website.
15. Workers Write!
They focus on publishing working class literature. They want to collect the stories and poems about jobs that define who we are as individuals and communities. They pay between $5 and $50, depending on the length and rights. To learn more or to submit, visit their website.
16. Occult Detective Quarterly
Occult Detective Quarterly is devoted to those intrepid investigators who investigate the weird, exotic and bizarre. They publish fiction and nonfiction and they pay. You can learn more.
A respected literary journal. They offer between $50 and $250 for short stories or essays, they do not list poetry rates. If your work is accepted, you will also receive a contributor copy. Learn more.
18. The Sun
A wonderful, advertisement-free magazine. They pay from $300 to $2,000 for fiction, essays, and interviews, and $100 to $250 for poetry. They also give contributors a complimentary one-year subscription to The Sun. Learn more.
A literary journal that pays $25 for short stories and $10 for flash fiction and poetry. To learn more, visit their website.
Qu, the literary journal of Queens University, pays $100 per prose piece and $50 per poem. To learn more visit their website.
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 per poem. You can visit their website.
Spark: A Creative Anthology offers contributors 2¢ per word or $20 per work for unpublished writing. They publish poetry and short stories. Visit their website.
This is a respected and established journal. They are published by Boston University. Pay is reportedly 1-4.9¢ per word for fiction and $5-$50 for poetry. You can visit their website.
24. Bennington Review
Bennington Review has recently been re-founded. They publish two print issues a year and they pay their writers. Prose writers receive up to $200, poetry writers are paid $20 per poem. To learn more, visit their website.
25. Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine
Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine is one of the better-paying markets there is out there, for science fiction content. They predominantly favor character-oriented short stories and poetry and pay up to $1,000 for fiction. You can visit their website.
26-29. Cricket Media’s Literary Journals
Their flagship publication billed as “The New Yorker for Kids,” publishes poetry and fiction aimed at 9-14-year-olds. Read our full review. However, they also have other magazines called Babybug (for children 6 months to 3 years), Ladybug (3-6 years), and Spider (6-9 years). You can see their submission guidelines here. They pay well.
30. CŌNFINGŌ MAGAZINE
CŌNFINGŌ MAGAZINE publishes new short fiction, poetry and art from around the world. The journal is a beautiful print-only magazine. They pay 20 pounds to all contributors. Learn more.
31. One Story
One Story publishes one short story every three weeks. They have a print and e-versions of the story that they publish. Often, the published story is accompanied by an interview with the author of the story. They pay $500 per story. To learn more, read our reviews.
32. The New Yorker
It would be strange if such a list did not mention The New Yorker, which is legendary for how well it pays its writers, among other things. The New Yorker does not release the exact amount they pay on their website, although they pay very well. It is more a popular magazine than a literary journal, and publication in the New Yorker can greatly help one’s reputation as a writer. Often it leads to book deals and many other publications. Of course, because of this, it is very hard to get a piece accepted by the New Yorker. Many famous authors still try for years. It is easy to submit online, and a wonderful opportunity. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.
33. The Wanderer
The Wanderer is an online poetry journal, launched in April 2016 as a weekly feature in Harlot Magazine. Now, as Harlot has evolved into a monthly e-zine, The Wanderer has also evolved into a new online magazine, distinct from Harlot. They pay $25 per poem. Read our reviews.
34. The Forge
They pay $50 for non-fiction and fiction. Learn more at their website.
35. Grain Magazine
Published four times per year, Grain Magazine is an internationally acclaimed literary journal that publishes engaging, surprising, eclectic, and challenging writing and art by Canadian and international writers and artists. They pay a minimum of $50 and a maximum of $250. Learn more.
36. The Paris Review
This very respected print journal only accepts submissions via the post and they do not disclose the amount they pay, only say that they do. To learn more visit their website.
A respected science fiction journal that publishes everything from short stories to novellas. They pay well. Read their full submission guidelines.
38. Trigger Warning
Trigger Warning is an online zine of pulpy short fiction published with pictures. They aim to capture the feel of the cheap rag digests of the ’70s and ’80s with two-tone illustrations. They’re looking for science fiction, horror, fantasy, and noir, or anything else that would fit in on The Twilight Zone.
39. Cherry Tree
Cherry Tree publishes insightful, meaningful literature in all forms and styles. They accept work by both emerging and established authors and publish writers from around the world. Cherry Tree offers $20 to all contributors as well as two copies of the magazine they appear in. Visit their website.
Blackbird is one of the oldest and most respected online poetry journals. They offer payment although they do not state how much. Visit their website.