GET YOUR GEEK ON! 6 Paying Sci-Fi Short Story Markets for Writers by Mari Colham

GET YOUR GEEK ON! 6 Paying Sci-Fi Short Story Markets for Writers by Mari Colham

Most sci-fi short story publishers are particular about the types of science fiction, story content, or how much they are willing to pay writers. The key is researching what the company wants, what kinds of stories they publish, and knowing for sure what they are willing to pay before submission. Research saves time and effort.

For example, a company will not accept a story just because it is science fiction. Some editors prefer adventurous fiction while others prefer realism. Submitting a story to the right company first can save time and effort, and you can make money faster. It’s also imperative to read their submission guidelines thoroughly before sending a query or manuscript.

The general rule among science fiction writers is to always submit to the highest paying markets first. Below are six online science fiction and fantasy short story publishers who pay their writers very well, and desire different types of science fiction.

  1. Analog’s Science Fiction and Fact Magazine

Analog’s Science Fiction and Fact Magazine is an established publication. They want science fiction stories about the idea of future science and technology to be the primary element of the plot. The scientific component can be psychological, physical, or sociological. The technology can range from electronic engineering to biogenetic engineering.

Analog requests that the stories have strong and realistic elements with believable characters, but they do not have to be human. They pay eight to ten cents per word for short fiction that should reach up to 20,000 words.

  1. Apex

Apex is a monthly publication that actively seeks edgy science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They request speculative fiction that pushes boundaries. Apex has a combination of free online access and paid eBook editions. Most well-known science fiction authors got started with Apex. They offer six cents per word for up to 7,500 words.

  1. Asimov’s Science Fiction

Asimov’s focuses on the characters of a story instead of the science. They also like humor. Although science fiction does dominate their publications, they also publish borderline fantasy, slipstream, and surreal fiction. They pay eight to ten cents per word for short stories up to 7,500 words and eight cents for each word over 7,500. They rarely accept stories longer than 20,000 words, and they do not serialize novels.

  1. Clarkesworld Magazine

Clarkesworld is a monthly publication that has won multiple awards such as the Hugo, World Fantasy, and British Fantasy Award. Published stories have also won awards within the magazine. Clarkesworld publishes stories through their book program. They accept science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but they have a very long list of themes they will not allow within those genres. It is a good idea to read through the terms on their site before submitting. They only accept 1,000-16,000 words and pay ten cents per word for the first 5,000 words. Then, they pay eight cents per word for each word over 5,000.

  1. GigaNototoSaurus

GigaNotoSaurus likes to read all types of science fiction and fantasy. They accept the longest of short science fiction. One story is published online monthly. They request short stories up to 25,000 words. They pay $100 per publication upon acceptance.

  1. Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons has a desire for speculative fiction with strong speculative elements. They request fiction about diverse perspectives that are typically poor-represented groups, settings, or cultures written from an unusual but well-researched point of view. They want different but readable styles with creative content and narratives. They like stories that confront political issues in a variety of ways and combat a distorted impression. Strange Horizons allows stories up to 10,000 words but under 5,000 is preferred. They pay eight cents per word within 60 days of contract.

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America website also keeps writers updated on new short story markets that open their doors to writers looking to submit their work.


Mari Colham is a freelance writer and works as a reporter for her local newspaper in Louisiana. She is also a domestic violence advocate and a country girl who loves to fish and ride four-wheelers. When she is not writing, she is devouring mystery novels and watching horror movies with her Shih Tzu.