Blog Posts,  Writing Resources

Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story Magazines (that accept unsolicited submissions!)

For anyone interested, here is my list of science fiction and fantasy magazines/anthologies I plan on submitting my short stories to. These are, in my opinion, the very best SFF collections out there that accept unsolicited submissions. In other words, you can submit your work to them without an agent. I’ll be updating this information as time goes on. I haven’t numbered or rated the venues because they each have different strengths and specialties. Zoetrope, for instance, is the most literary on this list, while Beneath Ceaseless Skies only publishes second-world fantasy. I think it’s a good idea to peruse the list with a specific story in mind and consider which would be the best fit.

Not gonna lie, it’s a very good list.

Here’s a breakdown of what we’re lookin’ at:

  • Title (links to the magazine’s submission guidelines page)
  • If the title is followed by (SFWA), that means publication in the venue qualifies the author for membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.*
  • Pay (in cents) per word and acceptable word counts
  • Notable authors published by the magazine
  • Whether or not submissions are exclusive (you can’t simultaneously submit your story to another venue)
  • Average response time
  • Special notes or exceptions

Analog Science Fiction and Fact (SFWA)
8-10 cents per word for short fiction up to 20,000 words
6 cents per word for serials up to 40,000-80,000 words
$1 a line for poetry (unlimited)
Published: Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Greg Bear, Ben Bova, David Brin, Lois McMaster Bujold, Michael F. Flynn, Robert A. Heinlein, Geoffrey Landis, Spider Robinson, Robert J. Sawyer, Charles Sheffield, Michael Swanwick, Harry Turtledove, Timothy Zahn, Orson Scott Card, Frank Herbert, Anne McCaffrey
Non-exclusive (response time 2-4 months, tracking number provided)

Apex Magazine (SFWA)
6 cents per word for short fiction up to 7,500 words
No unsolicited poetry
Published: Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z Brite, Cherie Priest, Eugie Foster, Maurice Broaddus, Ben Bova, William F. Nolan, Sara King, Brian Keene
Exclusive (response time 30 days)

Asimov’s Science Fiction (SFWA)
8-10 cents per word for short fiction up 1,000-7,500 words
8 cents per word up to 20,000 words
$1 a line for poetry up to 40 lines
Published: Isaac Asimov, George R. R. Martin, Octavia E. Butler, Jonathan Lethem, Kim Stanly Robinson, Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, Fran Wilde
Exclusive (response time 5 weeks, tracking number provided)

Beneath Ceaseless Skies (SFWA)
6 cents per word for short fiction up to 14,000 words
No poetry.
Non-Exclusive, but no Multiple Submissions (response time 1-7 weeks, avg 2-4)
Special note: Fantasy (secondary world) ONLY/ no science fiction

Clarkesworld Magazine (SFWA)
10 cents per word for short fiction 1,000-5,000 words
8 cents per word up to 16,000 words
No information on poetry
Published: Elizabeth Bear, Kij Johnson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Sarah Monette, Catherynne Valente, Jeff VanderMeer, Peter Watts
Exclusive (response time 2 days, tracking number provided)

Daily Science Fiction (SFWA)
8 cents per word for short/flash fiction 100-1,500 words
No reprints
Exclusive (response time 4 weeks)

Deep Magic (does not qualify for SFWA)
6 cents per word for short fiction up to 9,999 words
$599 cap for stories longer than 10,000 words
2 cents per word for reprints
No information on poetry
Exclusive (response time 10-12 weeks)
Special note: family-friendly fiction/ no gore/language/sex

Escape Pod (SFWA)
6 cents per word for short fiction 1,500-6,000 words
100 dollars for reprints of any length
No poetry.
Some reprints have won the Hugo
Exclusive (response time 3-6 months)
Special note: sci-fi ONLY/ no fantasy/magical realism

Fireside Fiction (SFWA)
12.5 cents per word for short fiction 1,000-4,000 words
$100 per poem up to 100 lines
Published: Amal El-Mohtar, Jennifer Campbell Hicks, Mary Robinette Kowal, Daniel José Older, Chuck Wendig, Caroline M Yoachim, Ken Liu, Kevin Hearne
Exclusive (response time 1 month after close of submission period)

Flash Fiction Online (SFWA)
$60 per story for short/flash fiction 500-1,000 words
2 cents per word for reprints
Exclusive (response time 2 days to ten weeks)

Galaxy’s Edge (SFWA)
7 cents per word for short fiction up to 7,000 words
No poetry.
Published: Orson Scott Card, Mercedes Lackey, George RR Martin, Larry Niven, Lois McMaster Bujold, Gregory Benford, Robert J. Sawyer, Robert A. Heinlein, Kevin J Anderson
Exclusive (response time 6 weeks)

Interzone (does not qualify for SFWA)
4 cents per word for short fiction up to 10,000 words (£30/1000 words)
No poetry.
Published: Brian Aldiss, Sarah Ash, Michael Moorcock, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, M. John Harrison, Stephen Baxter, Iain M. Banks, J.G. Ballard, Kim Newman, Alastair Reynolds, Harlan Ellison, Greg Egan, Gwyneth Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Geoff Ryman, Rachel Pollack, Charles Stross, Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Exclusive (response time unknown)

Lightspeed (SFWA)
8 cents per word for short fiction 1,500 to 10,000 words (5,000 preferred)
No poetry.
Exclusive (response time 2 days, 2 weeks if under consideration)

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (SFWA)
7-12 cents per word for short fiction up to 25,000 words
No information on poetry
Published: Stephen King, Walter Miller, Daniel Keyes, David Gerrold, Ursula K. Le Guin, Terry Bisson
Exclusive (response time 8 weeks)

Nightmare Magazine (SFWA)
6 cents per word for short fiction 1,500-7,500 words (5,000 preferred)
1 cent per word for reprints
No poetry.
Exclusive (response time 2 days to 2 weeks)
Special note: specializes in horror and dark fantasy

Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show (SFWA)
6 cents per word for short fiction up to 17,500 words
No information on poetry
Published: Peter S. Beagle, David Farland, Tim Pratt, Eugie Foster, Bud Sparhawk, Mary Robinette Kowal, James Maxey, Mette Ivie Harrison, Sharon Shinn, Eric James Stone, Orson Scott Card
Exclusive (response time 3 months)
Special note: family-friendly fiction/ no gore/language/sex

PodCastle (SFWA)
6 cents per word for short fiction 2,000-6,000 words
$100 for reprints of any length
No poetry.
Exclusive (response time unknown, narration auditions 3-6 months)
Special note: Fantasy ONLY/ no sci-fi

Strange Horizons (SFWA)
8 cents per word for short fiction up to 10,000 words (5,000 preferred)
$40 per poem (unlimited)
Published: Nnedi Okorafor, Saladin Ahmed, Aliette de Bodard, Zen Cho, Nino Cipri, Becky Cloonan, Amal El-Mohtar, Kameron Hurley, N.K. Jemison, Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, George RR Martin, Garth Nix, Naomi Nowak, Yukimi Ogawa, Daniel José Older, John Scalzi, E. Kristin Anderson, Aimee Bender, Gwenda Bond,  Roshani Chokshi, Cory Doctorow, Ursula K. Le Guin, Rachel Hartman, Mary Robinette Kowal, Kelly Link, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, Phoebe North, Brenna Yovanoff
Exclusive (response time <40 days)

Tor.com (SFWA)
Pay confidential for novella-length fiction from 20,000 to 40,000 words
No poetry.
Published: Maria Dahvana Headley, Karin Tidbeck, Nnedi Okorafor
Exclusive (response time 6+ months)

Uncanny Magazine (SFWA)
8 cents per word for short fiction up to 750-6,000 words
$30 per poem of any length
Published: Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Catherynne M. Valente, Charlie Jane Anders, Seanan McGuire, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Alex Bledsoe, Kameron Hurley and Ken Liu, Amal El-Mohtar
Exclusive (response in 30 days)

Zoetrope All-Story (does not qualify for SFWA)
Pay confidential for short fiction and one-act plays up to 7,000 words
No poetry.
Winner of National Magazine Award, Best American Short Stories, O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes
Published: Gabriel García Márquez, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, David Benioff, Mary Gaitskill, David Mamet, Ha Jin, Elizabeth McCracken, Yiyun Li, Don DeLillo, Andrew Sean Greer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Salman Rushdie, Woody Allen, Yoko Ogawa, David Means, Susan Straight, Charles D’Ambrosio
Non-exclusive (website states: simultaneous submissions are accepted)

If you see anything that’s become outdated, or if I’ve accidentally omitted pertinent information, please let me know in the comments.

*I’ll talk about why I think qualification for the SFWA is worth prioritizing in a future blog post.
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