How much do short stories pay on average?

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A few hundred to a few thousand?? You are joking right? There are 4 ways to sell short stories. To magazines, to e books, to anthologies and in contests.

    In the first three ways you will find that pay for a story ranges from 5 bucks to about 25 bucks or between 1 and 5 cents a word. The reason for doing anthologies isn't to get rich, it is to get your name out there. Some pay nothing more than a copule copies of the book you're in.

    Of course magazines like Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, GQ etc. pay a great deal more. However, they primarily deal with major authors and they hire them to write specific stories. Very rarely do major magazines accept a pitch from an unknown and tell them to go ahead with it.

    As for contests, there are a few legit ones. Check with Absolute Write Water Cooler Bewares and Background Checks and Preditors and Editors. There are contests that pay 1,000 like Glimmer Train but they are very very hard to win. They are almost impossible to even sell a story to.

    No, sorry but you will not be making thousands or even hundreds selling your stories. PJ M - a regular contributor here is a fairly well known anthology contributor. I have known him for several years now. I don't think he has ever gotten more than 50 bucks and a couple copies for a story. But it does get his name out there.

    Pax - C

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago


    Source(s): Earn Writing Article
  • 4 years ago

    I know this is very old, so things have changed a lot in the online publishing world. Nowadays, writers are making thousands for Flash Fiction. I just submitted a story to an online magazine who pays $60 per story. Now think about it. If you are very creative and can write fast stories 500 to 1000, you can make a killing. Don't you dare let anymore shadow your sunny skies with that "You can't make good money writing short fiction" because you can=)

  • 1 decade ago

    It depends largely on the genre, and from there, the audience and distribution range of the publication.

    In the science fiction/fantasy/horror area, five cents per word is considered "professional" rates, and most short stories are going to average from 1000 to 5000 words. So, you're very lucky to get a couple hundred bucks -- and that's for the very small percentage of stories that are paid at pro rates. Far, far more are paid at semi-pro or contribution rates, which means you get contributor copies or $5-35.

    Outside of genre magazines, in the literary reviews, you'll find even more variance. Some of the most prestigous publications in America don't pay anything at all, but an appearance in one of those digests can be your ticket into a novel publication from a major publishing house.

    Huge distribution magazines, such as Playboy, pay in the thousands for fiction, but they also tend to offer their fiction slots to the best known writers of the day.

    The quick summary is that you're very unlikely to make significant money publishing short stories. Short stories are best used for three things:

    1. Get exposure to a fan base and to potential novel publishers.

    2. Practice your writing and story-telling techniques.

    3. For the enjoyment of the writer.

    Source(s): I'm an author.
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    It depends on who accepts them. You should check out websites for writers, such as They usually have a list of markets accepting manuscripts. Also, go to the library and look at a copy of the Writer's Marketplace. It is a yearly guide to who's publishing what and for how much. Very helpful! If you have a favorite magazine you are considering, check their website or look in the front of a current issue for submission information.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I joined writing jobs a year ago and never thought it will be possible to live the laptop lifestyle and work when I want and where I want! My 2 passions in life is writing and travelling now I get to do both! Thank you for making my dream come true, this has definitely been an incredible experience!

    Get Paid To Write Online?

  • 1 decade ago

    The range is anywhere from nothing (or contributor's copies) for small magazines to $1 a word or more for prestige slicks like Playboy or Esquire. It also depends considerably (especially for the higher-end markets) on your record of success as a writer; the more renowned you are, the more you get.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Are you a freelance author who would like to learn far more about how to earn fantastic cash undertaking what you enjoy? If you want to advance your creating profession

  • 1 decade ago

    depending on the amount of words and the publication, it can range from a few hundred to a thousand.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.