12 Ways To Sell Short Stories For Money

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If you’re a writer, you might be interested in learning about ways to sell short stories for money. 

There are several websites out there that exist for the purpose of helping you publish your works. 

The world is always searching for great writers. By utilizing the sites listed here, you can share your talents with worldwide audiences and get paid at the same time. 

Ways to Sell Short Stories for Money

Just as there are ways to get paid for reading, there are also ways to get paid for writing. 

Learning how to sell short stories for money is one of many great ways to make money in a gig economy.

You can sell your stories in your spare time, adding income to your regular job. Sell one story or sell hundreds, the choice is yours! 

In addition, you can get your name out there as a writer and increase your chances of making your dream of writing a source of income. 

1. Reader’s Digest

Reader’s Digest is a trustworthy publication that has been in print for over 100 years. The online and in-print magazine company shares a host of valuable and entertaining content for readers.

If you’re a budding writer or simply have a gift for sharing a story, Reader’s Digest will pay you for submitting your 100-word true story. 

You can submit a story from a few different genres such as humor, life lessons, heartwarming stories or more. 

If chosen, your story will be published with your name, city and state, and shared with millions of readers around the world. 

Note that not all submitted stories will be accepted.

Pay: up to $100

2. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program will help you publish your own short stories–or any other story for that matter. 

Choose from fiction, nonfiction or whatever else your heart desires. Your publication will be available to all Amazon visitors.

You will earn a percentage of sales depending on what you choose to price your book at.  Design your own cover, or get help designing a cover from an Amazon KDP designer. 

Read the submission guidelines carefully before publishing, and know that you’ll have to pay for any designer, editor or other help you enlist from Amazon. 

It’s important to know that if you’re going to earn money by publishing with Amazon KDP, you’ll be responsible for your own marketing and advertising. 

Pay: 35% to 70%

3. Poets and Writers

Poets and Writers is a nonprofit online and print publication that exists to serve writers. 

One of the primary ways it can help you sell short stories for money is by publishing grants and contests for amateur writers. 

Cash prizes awarded to winners of contests and grants can earn anywhere from $1,000 up to several thousand dollars. 

Genres vary depending on the grant or contest. Some genres currently listed include humor, novel excerpts, poetry and other genres. 

Note that there may be an entry fee to enter some contests.

This site offers a host of other benefits to budding writers, such as workshops, agent and publisher databases and more.   

Pay: Varies: Many contests pay $1,000 or more

4. The Threepenny Review

The Threepenny Review is a long-standing literary publication that accepts submissions for short stories from January 1 to April 30 each year.

The publication shares a variety of poems, short stories and articles. If you’re interested in reading this publication, you can choose between a print version and a digital version.

You can submit your short story electronically or by mail. Short stories submitted to the Threepenny Review are expected to be under 4000 words in length. 

Please read other guidelines this publication has, as they are strict. Also, any publications submitted outside of the yearly schedule will be discarded as unread. 

The Threepenny Review prefers essays, memoirs and poetry submissions.

Pay: $400 for short stories, $200 for poems or Table Talk pieces

5. Flash Fiction Online

Flash Fiction Online accepts original fiction short stories from the 1st to the 21st of each month. They do have a cap of 425 stories per month, so it’s best to get your submission in early. 

The site accepts 500 to 1000 word stories with “well-developed characters, compelling plots and satisfying resolutions.” 

FFO accepts stories in a variety of genres, but asks that you read their submission guidelines carefully. 

Note that FFO will not consider pieces that have been submitted for publication elsewhere. For that reason, you’ll want to ensure to keep FFO pieces for FFO only. 

Pay: $80 per piece

6. The New Yorker

How would you like your work published in the infamous New Yorker Magazine? This publication does accept submissions from amateur writers. 

You can submit your work to be considered for publication if you write fiction stories, poetry and more. 

The New Yorker has notoriously high standards when it comes to accepting unsolicited work for publication. So if your work is accepted, know that you’ve got some serious talent. 

You can find all of the submission guidelines at the New Yorker link at the top of this paragraph. 

The magazine’s website is clear that if you haven’t heard from them within 90 days of submitting your article or poem, it’s likely that you haven’t been chosen for publication. 

As with many publications, the New Yorker doesn’t contact you if your submission has been denied. They only contact you if your submission has been chosen for publication. 

Also, please submit copies instead of originals of your work since submissions will not be returned. 

Pay: Not listed, but you will receive pay for accepted submissions.

7. Barrelhouse

Barrelhouse is a literary organization that puts out a print publication and an online publication. This company is wide open when it comes to considering genres. 

Your submitted story must contain a maximum of 8,000 words. Note that submission guidelines are strict, and that Barrelhouse might not always accept submissions.

Submission availability changes based on their current stockpile of articles and other factors.

Note that Barrelhouse is looking for people to review books as well. Yes, there are ways you can get paid to write reviews.

You can find more information about submitting a book review to Barrelhouse by visiting the Barrelhouse submission link above.   

Pay: $50 per article

8. Analog

Analog’s Science Fiction and Fact magazine pays writers who submit science fiction stories for publishing. 

If your science fiction story is accepted, you’ll get paid per word, based on the type of story it is. You can get paid to submit poetry as well, although at a much lower pay rate. 

If you’re submitting short science fiction stories you need to cap them at about 20,000 words. Serials can contain between 40,000 and 80,000 words. 

Your story can include physical, sociological or psychological science. A believable plot and relational characters are strongly recommended.

Be sure that the science fiction aspect of your story is so integral to the plot that your story would fall apart without it.  

Fact articles are also accepted, although Analog requests that technical jargon is kept to a necessary minimum. 

Analog is eager to accept work from new and unpublished writers as it seeks to find and mentor new writers. 

Pay: $0.06 to $0.10 per word depending on the piece, $1 per line for poetry

9. The Sun Magazine

The Sun Magazine is an independent, ad-free magazine that has been in publication for nearly 50 years. You’ll find an eclectic mix of stories in this publication, from the heartwarming to the odd.

You can submit personal essays, fiction and poetry to The Sun. Personal essays should be highly vulnerable and help readers see the world from a fresh perspective. 

Fiction stories should be written in a way that helps readers live a day in someone else’s shoes. 

When you submit poetry, write to help readers reflect on their space in this universe, ponder their deepest questions and lead to revelations about life. 

Work to keep submissions under 7,000 words if possible. There is a $2.50 submission fee. The Sun encourages resubmission if you haven’t heard from them within six months of submitting your writing piece. 

Pay: $200 and up, depending on length

10. Medium

Medium is an online literary publication that focuses on sharing great writing with the world. When you become a member of their Partnership Program, you’ll earn money by publishing stories. 

Medium’s publishing program works a bit differently than some of the others mentioned here. Instead of getting paid a flat dollar amount, you’ll get paid based on viewing activity. 

When a Medium reader reads your story for more than 30 seconds, you get paid. The more readers, the more money you earn. 

When other members choose to follow your account, you’ll earn a bonus. Medium accepts stories from all genres and stories can vary in length. 

You can write about relationships, politics, self improvement or a host of other genres.

Pay: Varies based on readership

11. One Story

One Story is a website that is committed to sharing short stories with its readers. When you subscribe to One Story, you’ll get one printed short story every month. 

And it’s only $10 for a six-month subscription. As a writer, you can submit stories of between 3,000 and 8,000 words to this site.

It’s important to note that One Story only accepts previously unpublished material, though the company may accept material that was published outside of the United States. 

One Story does have a 3,000-story submission cap, and once that cap is reached they’ll no longer accept submissions. 

Once they accept your submission, One Story will retain first serial North American rights. However, all rights will revert to the author following publication of the story. 

Note that One Story also hosts a contest called One Teen Story. Teens aged 13-19 can submit short stories of between 2,000 to 4,500 words.

Winners of the One Teen Story contest get the same pay as One Story submission winners. They also get an opportunity to work with One Story editors before publication.

Pay: $500 plus 25 contributors copies of the publication 

12. Duotrope

Duotrope is different in that instead of publishing your stories, Duotrope helps you find ways to publish your stores. 

The site offers a paid subscription package for $5 per month or $50 per year. As a subscriber, you are connected to the site’s massive database. 

First launched in 2005, Duotrope’s database currently partners with nearly 7,500 publishers and agents. 

You can use the platform to find publishers and agents to connect with so you can get your work published. 

Who knows; you may even land yourself a book deal from the connections you make. Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction or poetry, Duotrope can help connect you with publishers and agents. 

Pay: Varies based on the partnerships you make

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have ever dreamed of writing and selling short stories, you probably have a few questions. Here’s a look at common questions asked.

How much do writers make from selling short stories?

Writers can make a variety of money depending on the length of the story, where they sell it and more. If you write regularly, you can make several thousand dollars a year.

Of course, your talent and your efforts will influence how much you make from selling short stories. 

How much does one short story pay?

Selling one short story can pay anywhere from $20 to thousands of dollars if you use one of the sources recommended here for publishing. 

The amount of money you earn on one story depends on several factors, including how much work you’re willing to put into the process. 

Do publishers buy short stories?

A book publisher may buy a book full of short stories. Or, like the options mentioned here, you may find a publisher that accepts one or more short stories. 


There are many ways to sell short stories for money. The amount of cash you can earn by doing so depends largely on your writing skills and your willingness to get out there and promote your work. 

Whether you self-publish your stories or submit them for acceptance by a literary publication, work to share your stories with the world.