Want to write creative non-fiction, essays, short stories, or poetry…and get paid? There’s an often overlooked niche for your creative work: literary magazines.

If you have a journal of creative work tucked away in a desk drawer, it’s time fetch it. Literary magazines will pay you for:

  • Poetry
  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Flash fiction
  • Non-academic essays
  • Art
  • Photography
  • Interviews of emerging artists, or 
  • Recent book reviews 

There’s a mix of markets in the literary magazine niche that welcome emerging and seasoned writers, as well as some pubs that offer a combination of both. 

Although a few literary magazines and journals may be difficult to break into, take advantage of opportunities to submit your work to be read by distinguished authors and editors when the markets are open.

Grab your unpublished work, review the list of literary magazines that pay writers, and submit your best work. 

Ready to get started? Check out this list of 20 literary magazines that pay freelancers:

This literary magazine offers an assortment of exceptional essays, poems, stories, and translations. 

TIP: This pub seeks fictional short stories, and non-fiction literary essays, memoirs, reviews. Journalism or academic work is not accepted.

Contact: Email Co-Editor Sven Birkerts

Rate: Pays $20 per page, up to $300

Online magazine published bi-annually in May and November, which specializes in fantasy, horror, and science fiction.

TIP: Seeks original work “with a twist.” No sex or violence. But you can’t go wrong with funny submissions.

Contact: Email Publisher and Managing Editor Ty Drago

Rate: Non-Fiction pays $15 per article | Fiction pays $15 per story

Publishes literary and artwork quarterly, which covers art, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

TIP: Pays expenses of non-fiction writers on assignment.

Contact: Editor Briony Bax 

Rate: Contact editor.

This bi-monthly magazine publishes literary prose and contemporary poetry, which covers fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Contact: Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Scanlon: 

Rate: $1 per line for Poetry | $60 per page for prose

Online publication, which publishes top-quality poetry, short fiction, and spiritual themes on art. 

TIP: This is a great platform on which new poets and storytellers can begin having their work published.

Contact: Email Skylar Burris

Rate: $1.25 per work published | $1.25 per poem

Publishes a variety of literary works: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and film writing.

TIP: Submissions will be accepted September 1, 2022. Check submission guidelines for details.

Contact: Email Managing Editor Katrina Turner

Rate: $100 for 1 – 6 pages of typeset prose. $200 for 7+ typeset pages. $20 per poem.

This national literary journal publishes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry works, which is maintained at the University of Colorado Denver.

TIP: Needs non-fiction essays. Submit poetry to editors, Brian Barker and Nicky Beer. Joanna Luloff is the fiction and non-fiction editor. Teague Bohlen is also a fiction editor.

Contact: Email Editor/Managing Editor Wayne Miller 

Rate: $30 per printed page / non-fiction, fiction, and poetry 

This literary magazine publishes poetry from new, emerging, and establishing poets.

Contact: Email Associate Editor Jeni De La O or Editor-in-Chief I.S. Jones  

Rate: $50 – $150 for poetry

A quarterly literary magazine of eclectic writing, available in print.

Contact: Email Editor Mari-Lou Rowley

Rate: Poetry $5 – $250

A quarterly online literary journal that believes “everyone has a story to tell,” and where everyone is welcome. It is an excellent platform for new creative writers.

Follow submission guidelines to present your creative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid works.

Contact: Email Editor Paige Perez

Rate: $20 per piece.

This quarterly magazine covers fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

TIP: In need of “creative nonfiction or personal essays.” Any subject, style, or genre. Exceptions: Not interested in footnoted scholarly or critical essays, or commercial-type essays. No self-help, how-to, or non-literary work.

Contact: Email Editor-in-Chief Christie Hodgen

Rate: Pays $15-$50 up to 5,000 words, also pays expenses of writers on assignment for nonfiction. Pays $15-$50 up to 5,000 words for fiction. Poetry pays $10 – $25 with unlimited word count.

This quarterly arts and literature journal that covers fiction, flash fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoirs, interviews, and lyrical essays.

Contact: Email Managing Editor Joseph Chino Castanares

Rate: Poetry starts @ $5 per piece |  Fiction, Memoirs, Reportage, Interviews, Lyrical Essays start at $10 per piece |  Fiction over 1,000 words starts @ $20.

Ninth Letter is a literary journal published by the Department of English at the University of Illinois, which publishes “prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and non-traditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work.”

TIP: The editorial staff rotates, and there is a different editor assigned to nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Check the submission guidelines for the appropriate editor.

Contact: Email Editor Jodee Stanley 

Rate: Nonfiction, fiction, and poetry pays $25 per printed page. 

This literary magazine actually publishes one story every three to four weeks, which its readers are sent by mail as a printed copy.

TIP: One Story currently needs short fiction stories “that are strong enough to stand alone—the best you can give.”

Contact: Email publisher Maribeth Batcha

Rate: Pays $500 for 3,000 – 8,000 words.

In addition to “news, reviews, letters, and features, this pub covers tons of poetry and artwork.

TIP: Needs essays, reviews, and technical feature stories. Check submission guidelines, as content needs change.

Contact: Email Editor Carole Baldock

Rate: $50 for nonfiction

Publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on a quarterly basis of high-quality. 

Contact: Email Editor Emily Stokes

Rate: $100 per poem. Pays $1,000 – $3,000 for fiction and pays expenses of writers on assignment for nonfiction projects. 

Publishes poetry quarterly in-print and daily online.

TIP: An excellent publication for emerging poets.

Contact: Email editor Timothy Green 

Rate: $50 per poem for online contributors, and $100 per poem for in-print contributors.

A general-interest literary magazine published quarterly, which publishes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

TIP: Nonfiction, the genre most open to freelance writers. Check submission guidelines.

Contact: Email: Editor Wendy Lesser

Rate: Nonfiction – $400 for 1,500 – 4,000 words. 

This literary magazine covers the gamut of poetry, fiction, short fiction, nonfiction, photography, multimedia, and essays, which publishes quarterly.

Contact: Email Editor Paul Reyes

Rate: Poetry pays $200 per poem, up to 4 poems. For 5+ poems, pay is usually $1,000+. Short fiction pays $1,000 +. Personal essays and literary criticism pay $1,000+ at .25 cents per word, depending on length.

Publishes a mix of curated works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry of established and new talent of contemporary arts. 

TIP: Will begin accepting submissions September 1st. Check submission guidelines.

Contact: Email: Managing Editor Oscar Villalon

Rate: Pays $50 for each nonfiction piece, plus expenses paid for writers on assignment. Pays $50 for fiction, and $50 for poetry.

Write for literary magazines: 11 tips for freelancers

Looking for some insider tips about how to pitch literary magazines, land assignments, and get paid? Check out these 11 tips to get started:

  1. Read the guidelines and back issues of lit mags to which you want to submit work. 
  2. Find the right contact info. Submit your literary work to the appropriate editor. 
  3. Watch for literary magazines and journals that have specific editors assigned exclusively to poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art, essays, interviews, book reviews, and photography. Here is some literary advice from agents.
  4. Only submit your work during the dates specified by the publication. Some pubs only accept literary work during specific times of the year. The submission schedule can be found within the guidelines.
  5. Literary magazines are competitive and can be tough to break into. They only have a limited number of spots available; this is so editors can carefully read each piece.
  6. Make your submission stand out. Since the market is so competitive, with editors overwhelmed with submissions, they read quickly with an eye to reject a piece. This process narrows the selection process. So, make your piece stand out above the rest.
  7. Take a different approach. To make your piece stand out, lit mags and journals seek fresh, “different and original” creative literary pieces—knock the editor off their feet and sweep them away!
  8. Don’t fear the online submission process. Submitting your literary work may require that you submit the finished piece via an “online submission manager.” The most used submission manager is called “submittable,” which is available on the submission page of the lit mag or journal.
  9. No academic essays. Although a few lit mags and journals are published by universities, they are not looking for academic essays.
  10. A small fee is charged by some lit pubs upon submission of your work, as a reading fee; about $3 per submission, and the fee could be higher.
  11. If you’re seeking alternative ways to get your literary work published, some magazines have literary competitions, which offer monetary rewards to the winner of $1,000+.

So, get your creative juices flowing, or dust-off your cherished unpublished literary work, go forth, and share it with the world.

Do you write for literary magazines? Tell us about it in the comments.



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