Fiction Online: Eight Paying Markets By Erika Dreifus

How often do you find yourself reading through the posts of an Internet writing board only to be caught in a series of complaints? We writers sure can write, but sometimes our focus doesn’t seem all that – how can I say this delicately? – productive.

For example, from time to time you’ll find writers talking about the relative merits of publishing on the Internet. More specifically, you may find yourself in the middle of a debate among fiction writers expressing strong feelings about the plusses and minuses of publishing fiction in e-zines (rather than seeking to place their work in print publications).

I’m not going to recap such discussions. One point, however, seems to come up nearly every time. That line of argument typically stresses the dearth of paying e-zine markets for fiction writers. (Of course, before too long someone usually points out that the world isn’t necessarily too much brighter over in the realm of print publications, either.)

Recently I logged out of one of these discussions. I decided that instead of arguing with people about the strengths and weaknesses of everything that had been posted, I’d do something else with my time online.

I’d look for some paying e-zine markets for fiction writers.

It wasn’t too difficult a task. Normally, I keep up with a number of online publications, so I already had several markets noted among my own list of potential homes for my own fiction. But realizing that not everyone writes the same type of fiction that I do, I looked around some more. I sought a variety of markets that themselves seek a range of work. Here’s a list of eight:
This publication’s “Mama Said” section includes short fiction (plus essays, poetry, and more) written primarily but not exclusively by Austin, Texas-area contributors. Payment “is based on the material and writer’s experience–usually between $35.00-$50.00.”

Drexel Online Journal
Pays $50-$250 for short stories or self-contained segments of longer works, up to 3000 words. See the guidelines for rules on simultaneous submissions and excerpts from the contract.

Gowanus: An International Online Journal of Idea and Observation
Here fiction submissions may run 1200-4000 words. Payment is $15-$25 (US).

Accepts short stories, short-shorts, novellas, and self-contained novel-excerpts. Prefers “character-driven” writing. Query first if you plan to send a novella. According to its guidelines, Inkburns has published at least one previously-unpublished contributor in nearly ever issue. Pays $10.

Orchard Press Online Mystery Magazine
Query first, using the publication’s query form, for both short short stories (750-2000 words) and short stories (2000-6000 words). Pays $25 for a short story and $10 for a short short story.

Strange Horizons: A Weekly Speculative Fiction Magazine
Seeks “good speculative fiction.” Offers detailed guidelines on “what we want and what we don’t want.” Prefers stories under 5000 words in length, but will consider stories up to 9,000 words. Pays $.05/word.

Would That It Were
This magazine of historical science fiction looks for submissions that “contain an element of science and a tie to the 19th or early 20th century, or an arguable tie to a historical period clearly in the Industrial Age.” Stories should not be longer than 3000 words in length (unless the editors have invited a longer submission). Typical pay rates can extend up to $250 or $300, depending on story length; a flash fiction under 500 words typically receives payment of $.05 to $.10/word, up to $50.
Pays $50 on acceptance for short fiction up to 1,000 words.

Of course, not every market may be for you. But if you’re interested in seeing your fiction online–and getting paid for it–you needn’t give up, no matter what other people may tell you!

Erika Dreifus is the editor and publisher of The Practicing Writer newsletter and author, most recently, of The Practicing Writer’s Directory of 50 Paying Short Story Markets. Visit her website,, to learn more about the publications, courses, and other services she offers writers, and read her latest writing-related blog posts at