Many people write stories, some as a hobby while some have a dream to get published and become a well-known author.
Only a few succeed.
This is because a lot of writers are stuck thinking they need to publish a novel to become a an author and make money.
This is not true.
There are many ways to make money writing and writing short stories are sometimes a better way to make money in a shorter timeframe compared to writing a full novel because quite frankly they take less time to write.
And the same goes for publishing short stories.
You don’t have to go through a long process to get your short stories to your target audience.
It’s not difficult to find publishers for your short stories. All you have to do is look in the right place.
And publishing short stories can make you a lot of money quite quickly.
How To Make Money Writing Short Stories
There are lot of opportunities that are available, especially in the online market.
As most of the offline literary magazine and publishing houses don’t pay much for short stories, you have to focus your energy on finding them online.
There are a ton of online magazine and blogs available on the online platform that pay a hefty amount for publishing your short stories on their platform.
And because of this, self-published authors mainly start with publishing short stories first as it is enough to pay the bills until they are capable enough to find and convince a publishing house to print their “dream novel”.
My personal experience – how I made money writing short stories
I started with writing short stories first and published on Amazon Kindle.
At the beginning I published one short story eBook comprising of 14 stories.
It didn’t do well. Only a couple of sales during the first month of publishing.
Later I started writing my short stories on a free Blogspot blog and started promoting it on my social media profile.
It stared to pick up and I was getting 80-150 visitors per day on my blog.
It boosted my confidence and I started to write other short story ebooks and published them on Amazon.
This time, I had some followers and a fan base so I was able to sell a good number of copies and was able to make a decent amount of money writing short stories.
Amazon has also released Kindle Vella which is a story subscription service. You can write and release your fiction story in chunks, chapter at a time or short stories.
So the key takeaway is that short stories can make you money but you have to start first.
And you may not succeed on the first try. Sometimes it may take a few tries, but be patient, consistent and assess what is working and what isn’t.
And its not that you can’t succeed on the first try.
All you have to do is create a little fan base around you so that when you publish your short stories anywhere you can get readers quick.
Where To Submit Short Stories For Money
There are multiple places online as well as offline where you can submit your short stories for money.
The best one where you can submit your short stories for recurring income or royalty is:
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a platform by Amazon which allows authors to publish a book on Amazon for free.
You can self-publish your short stories as a paperback or in an ebook format without spending a single penny.
It’s a digital platform used by both self-published authors as well as by the publishers.
When you submit your short stories on Amazon KDP your short stories will be available worldwide. If you offer a paperback version, it is print on demand, which means Amazon prints and ships the book when a copy is sold. There is no inventory you have to keep and you receive the royalty from the sale.
Thus, there is a good chance you will be able to sell multiple copies across the globe and make money writing short stories.
Amazon KDP also ranks your eBook based on the number of sales.
And if you can make it to the top 100 rankings in your selected category you will automatically sell more copies without even spending anything on promoting your stories.
Penpee.com is an airbnb of this space.
You can publish your short stories and you will be paid for each chapter that is read by other users.
At Penpee you don’t have to wait to get paid. Just post the chapters as you go and if people read that part also you will be paid.
Penpee only accepts short stories that are up to 6000 words and no more than 5 chapters.
At Penpee you don’t need to be a professional writer.
You can write any stories you think of.
When a user joins Penpee they are awarded with some free credits.
They can use these credits to read stories available on the platform.
You can get paid for stories read and you can withdraw the money using PayPal or by bank transfer.
It is an amazing platform if you are just getting started.
Wattpad is an online community for readers and writers to read and publish their stories in any genre.
Wattpad offers most influential writers revenue-sharing from advertising on Wattpad.
As this is a beta program from Wattpad and currently they are not taking new applications.
But you should also try posting your short stories on Wattpad to build your fan base as Wattpad has billions of users.
The Wattpad Futures is limited to writers in the Wattpad Stars program and the initial beta.
You can explore and learn about this program at Wattpad Future.
How To Sell Short Stories on Amazon to Make Money
Selling short stories on Amazon is not that difficult.
But first you have to write one.
Once you have published your short stories on Amazon all you have to do is promote your stories.
The more you promote the more sells you can get.
Publish Short Stories On Your Blog
Another strategy you could try now or later is to publish your short stories on your own blog.
Your blog will be your own property and it will create a lifelong income stream.
Though digital platforms like Amazon KDP, KOBO, Wattpad, etc are not going anywhere, but what if they do have changes or stop the monetization option.
Having a blog will help you to overcome these obstacles. It will be your own asset and you will have the power to monetize it with any means you want.
You can directly sell your short stories on your blog only. This way you will avoid giving any commission to companies like Amazon, Smashwords, etc.
The only problem is that you will have to get visitors to your blog first.
This can be solved by growing your community of like-minded readers with the help of social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
I have an article on how you can use social media as a writer and author.
Once you have a decent amount of visitors you can then make money from your short stories by placing Ads (like Google Adsense, Media.net, Ezoic, or any other ad network) on your blog.
To make money from short stories in this way takes time but yields a good result and could become a much more profitable income stream in the future.
Tip: Run Facebook and Instagram ads to speed up the process and build an audience fast.
Make Money Selling Short Stories on Freelancing Sites
Yes, you can make money selling your short stories to other interested people on freelancing sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Guru, etc to make decent income.
Though you will be giving your own work so they can publish your stories as their own.
This is known as Ghostwriting.
I have an article that you can read to know more in detail about How you can become a Ghostwriter.
You do the writing for others and then give them the copyright to sell as their own work.
Through this you can make a good amount of money upfront.
There are many professional ghostwriters available on these freelancing sites that charge $200 to $1000 dollars for writing some original short stories.
This will make you good money upfront and you don’t have to worry about publishing and promoting.
The drawback is that you will be anonymous and you will not be able to make a name for yourself.
How Much Do Magazines Pay For Short Stories?
Depending upon the magazine type and its popularity the pay for short stories ranges from $10 to as high as $2000 per story.
Like for a set of 4-5 poems you will be paid an average of $200, for short fiction up to $1000, and an average of 25 cents per word for all other stories depending upon your writing criteria and magazine rules.
List Of Magazines That Pay For Short Stories
Here’s the list of magazine that pay for short stories that you submit.
There are many sites you will find online that pay for the short stories and articles.
But these are the sites that I personally recommend and they have a great reputation up until now.
AGNI publishes works on poetry, short stories, short fictions, and essays.
The publication process opens only for a particular period of time so check the site regularly to know the recent date for submission.
They only accept works that are written in English.
They take months to reply whether your work has been accepted or rejected. So have patience when submitting your short stories on AGNI.
Payment will be $10 per prose, $20 for poetry, till $150 maximum.
Here’s the guideline that you can refer to understand more about the platform.
Submission guidelines: https://agnionline.bu.edu/submit
2. Black Warrior Review
Black Warrior Review is a magazine that focuses on publishing comics, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, prose and art.
They accepts nonfiction works that are no longer than 7,000 words.
The submission time is: December 1 – March 1 and June 1 – September 1.
They have a response time of 1-6 months.
There is a $3 submission fee for the general category.
The payment is not disclosed by the site.
Check the guidelines to know more : https://bwr.ua.edu/submit/guidelines/
Carve is an online magazine that accepts fiction, non fiction, and poetry.
They don’t charge anything for normal submission, though if you submit via submittable you will be charged $3.
There is no minimum word count for short stories. And the maximum word count is limited to 10,000.
The payment is as follows:
- For Fiction they pay contributor $100.
- For Poetry $25.
- For Non-Fiction $25.
Glimmer Train is one of the most respected short-story journals in print that favours most of the emerging writers.
Glimmertrain has two kind of submission:
- For competition the pay or prize is $3,000 and $2,500.
- And for individual submissions $700 if your work is selected.
Here’s the Guideline you can follow for complete details: http://www.glimmertrain.org/pages/writing_guidelines.php
PlougShare accepts fiction and non fiction under 6,000 words.
It requires a $3 service fee if you submit online and free if you send by mail.
Payment will be upon publication and the payment will be $45 per printed page, $90 minimum per title, and $450 maximum per author.
They have three to five months for a decision period.
You can check the guidelines here: https://www.pshares.org/submit/journal/guidelines
6. The Southern Review
The Southern Review accepts fiction, non fiction, and translation related works.
There is a $3 service charge if you submit your work online and it’s free when you send it by mail.
For Poetry they will consider no more than 5 poems or 15 pages.
For Fiction and Non Fiction they rarely publish any work of more than 8000 words.
They accept submission of translations in all genres.
The payment is $50 for first printed page and $25 for a subsequent printed page with a maximum payment of $200.
Check out the complete submission guideline here: https://thesouthernreview.org/submissions/
7. The Sun Magazine
One of the biggest paying magazine that accepts non fiction, fiction, and poetry.
But they mostly favor “provocative pieces on political and cultural issues” as mentioned in their submission guidelines.
The maximum number of words they accept for any work is 7000 words.
The Sun Magazine payments are as follows:
- For Fiction they pay $300 to $2000.
- For Non Fiction $300 to $2000.
- For Poetry they pay $100 to $250.
You can read the guidelines here at: https://thesunmagazine.org/submit
8. The Fugue
The Fugue accepts submission only through Submittable with a service charge of $3.
It accepts General Poetry, Fiction, Non fiction, and Images, etc from September 1 to May 1.
The respond time is 3-6 months.
They host an annual contest with a prize of $1000.
Every contributor receives $15 per accepted piece of work on any genre.
Check the submission guidelines here at: http://www.fuguejournal.com/submit/
9. One Story
Its an online literary magazine that publishes one amazing story every 3-4 weeks,
The story should be between 3000-8000 words.
Submission Periods: January 15th – May 31st | September 3rd – November 14th.
The response time is 3 months.
One Story pays $500 and 25 contributor copies.
Check the submission guidelines here at: https://www.one-story.com/index.php?page=submit
10. Colorado Review
They accepts Fiction, Non fiction, Poetry, as well as book reviews.
Submission Date: Fiction & poetry manuscripts are read from August 1 to April 30; nonfiction manuscripts, however, are read all year-round.
The online submission costs $3 and is free if submitted via mail.
The payment for Poetry is $10 per page and $200 for short stories and essays.
Check the submission guidelines here at: https://coloradoreview.colostate.edu/colorado-review/submit/
My Final Word
There are a variety of ways through which you can make money writing short stories, poems, and essays and there is no limit to how much money you can make.
Some options which worked for me may not necessarily work for you but this blog post is aimed at giving you ideas on where to start and what you can expect.
So, have a look at these methods and choose the ones which suit you the best.
You may find plenty of other methods which even I haven’t come across yet, as there are new platforms and sites becoming available all the time.
So the best option to make money from your short stories is to start writing now.
It could be on your own blog, magazines, for self-publishing, or for anything else.
Start writing first then you can move forward towards your goal of making money writing short stories.