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How to Sell Short Stories for Money in (2023)

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Are you an avid writer looking for a way to make money from writing short stories?

Writers face the challenge of publishing their books and struggle with earning money, and many give up this creative hobby in fear of unsustainability.

Standing out among the incredible talent, particularly, can be challenging for emerging writers.

If that’s you, worry not—you know your way around short fiction, and we have the perfect guide to get you started.

This article will show you where and how to publish short stories and make money from your passion for creative writing!

Why You Should Consider Selling Short Stories

We encourage short story writers to consider selling their short stories for several reasons. Let’s outline them for you.

  • Extra Income: Many magazines and short story publishers offer writers opportunities to earn money from their passion and creativity. It’s a quick way to earn extra cash, and if you’re successful, it can replace your full-time job.
  • Self-Development: If you submit short stories regularly, readers’ feedback will help you improve your writing skills and develop the skills to stand out among famous writers and impress reputable publishers.
  • Reputation: Participating in short story writing competitions and selling short stories will help you build your reputation and portfolio. A published story will cement your name, talent, and versatility in the literary world, easing the task of attracting publishers and agents for longer works.
  • Networking: Participating in short story contests and getting published by a literary magazine or reputable publishing house is useful in many ways. Aside from reaching a wider audience, you’ll also grow a loyal fanbase and connect with other individuals in the field who you can learn important lessons from.

Problems With Selling Short Stories for Money

Involving money with your passion can be frustrating. Aside from feeling burnt out and disheartened by your unmet expectations, selling short stories for money can be challenging for the following reasons:

1. Tough Competition

It takes a talented writer with a compelling story to make it big in this industry.

Your chances of becoming a published author with a publishing house are about 1% to 2%. Your chances are much higher with magazines (e.g., a science fiction magazine).

But, if you have the skills, money, and patience, self-publishing may be best.

2. Strict Guidelines

Many new writers try to sell short stories online, and publishers must go through thousands of short story submissions annually.

Due to this, most publishers and platforms have strict guidelines and high standards.

While some publishers may only accept flash fiction, some may accept submissions with up to 4,000 words.

3. Marketing Challenges

Selling short stories online isn’t a passive income source. You must market your work effectively and be patient to build a loyal fanbase.

You must also experiment with a different genre and writing style to maintain your follower base.

4. Royalties

You have to share your profits with intermediaries and platforms. For example, Amazon KDP can take up to a 30% cut from your sales.

Other platforms and magazines have different rules and policies, but mind your location’s taxes and fees too.

5. Plagiarism

Writing short stories and selling them online comes with the risk of plagiarism.

Other individuals or writers can copy or steal your work, so you must ensure you have legal rights to your work and you don’t copy previously published stories or violate others’ rights.

6. Scams

While there are many reputable platforms and magazines online, some publishers prey on aspiring writers. You can easily get tricked into giving up the rights to your story for chump change if you’re not careful.

By the way, as a writer, you likely have commendable writing skills. Let us teach you how to get paid to write Amazon reviews and how to become a freelance writer!

What You’ll Need to Sell Short Stories Online

Here’s what you need to start selling your short stories online.

  • A Compelling Story: Writing stories professionally is arduous, especially with literary fiction. Be prepared to write short stories regularly, accept criticism, and get rejected multiple times before you create a great story. It’s best to have a collection of short stories of different genres, lengths, and styles!
  • A Platform of Choice: There are countless platforms to sell stories on. Amazon KDP, Medium, and Wattpad are viable modern options, but you can also go for a reputable literary magazine.
  • A Payment Method: Depending on your platform of choice, you may need anything from PayPal to a bank account.
  • A Marketing Strategy: It isn’t sufficient to share your story; you need to promote your work so readers can see it. Consider social media, email lists, publications, etc.

Where to Sell Short Stories for Money

You can sell your short stories on the following websites:

1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

screenshot of the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing homepage

Amazon KDP is a platform that allows writers to self-publish their paperbacks and eBooks for free and access millions of readers on the website.

It takes less than five minutes to publish, and your book will be available on the Kindle store worldwide within 72 hours.

What Makes This Option Great

You have complete control over your rights. You can make changes to your books whenever you want, and you can set your list prices. You also earn up to 70% royalties on your book sales.

  • Fees/Commission: 30% or more cut of the sale price, depending on the customer’s country.
  • Payment Methods: Direct deposit, wire transfer, and check.


screenshot of the AGNI homepage

AGNI is a literary magazine of Boston University that values emerging authors. It pays $20 per printed page for prose and $40 for poetry up to a maximum of $300.

The online submission manager is available from September 1st to December 15th, and from February 15th to May 31st, at a fee of $3 per submission. From September 1st to May 31st, AGNI accepts mail submissions.

This magazine doesn’t publish horror, romance, science fiction, or mystery genres but is interested in personal essays, think-pieces, memoirs, prose poems, and more.

As with literary magazines, there are several strict guidelines you should be aware of.

What Makes This Option Great

AGNI is a reputable magazine that gives you access to a large reader base along with a year’s subscription.

When it comes to print publications, each contributor is provided with two copies of the issue in which their work appears.

They can also send up to four extra copies to friends and relatives.

  • Fees/Commission: $3 for online submissions, while mailed submissions depend on postage rates.
  • Payment Methods: N/A

3. The Threepenny Review

screenshot of the threepenny review homepage

The Threepenny Review is a quarterly review of the arts and society. It publishes articles on various forms of media and also accepts other art forms.

It’s a good place to start if you’re good at poetry, fiction, memoirs, or essays.

TTR pays $400 per story or article and $200 per poem or table talk piece. You must keep your word count at 4,000 or below for short stories.

Also, you can only submit your work from January 1st to April 30th. There are several other rules and guidelines you should be aware of, though.

What Makes This Option Great

Access to a large reader base, generous payments, and a very reputable magazine bound to bring you a loyal reader base.

  • Fees/Commission: Online submissions are free, while mailed submissions depend on postage rates.
  • Payment Methods: N/A

4. Flash Fiction Online

screenshot of the flash fiction online homepage

Flash Fiction Online is always looking for 500-1000-word stories with crisp prose and well-developed characters and resolutions.

It publishes stories of many genres, including literary and speculative fiction, and pays $60 per each accepted piece.

The submissions are open from the 1st to the 21st of each month or until they reach the submission cap of 425. Click here to read more about its guidelines.

What Makes This Option Great

Generous payments considering the word count limit, plus it publishes across many genres, from speculative to literary fiction.

  • Fees/Commission: Free.
  • Payment Methods: N/A

Note that literary magazines don’t explicitly state how they pay their writers. While this is often a sign of shady business, we ensured to list the ones that received favorable comments from writers.

How to Sell Disney Short Stories: Step-By-Step Instructions

Here’s what you need to do to sell your short stories:

Step One: Write an Engaging Story

Choose a genre and write a compelling story. Amazon KDP, Wattpad, and Medium accept writings of all genres.

However, some literary magazines can have strict word count limits and genre rules. Don’t forget to thoroughly proofread your story before submitting it.

Step Two: Choose a Platform

You can pick from the suggestions above or consider other options, such as Wattpad, Medium, Banshee, and more. Note that these options, including others, are more challenging to monetize.

Read each platform’s guidelines carefully and find what best suits your story’s genre and budget.

Step Three: Submit your Short Story

Submission methods will differ depending on your platform. While some offer online submission services, some require you to mail them.

Consider when submissions are open (in the case of literary magazines), and don’t forget to read each platform’s guidelines to avoid rejecting your story.

Either way, be prepared for rejections or a lack of readers. Having your first story accepted or noticed as an emerging writer can be challenging, so don’t give up.

Step Four: Market Your Short Story

You’ll need a strong marketing strategy to drive traffic to your story if you choose a platform such as Amazon KDP, Wattpad, or Medium.

However, literary magazines do the marketing themselves, so you only have to concern yourself with getting your submission accepted.

The best places to market your stories include social media, email lists, and a website (if you have one).

Step Five: Get Paid

Payment methods differ depending on your platform of choice. However, unlike other gigs, the norm in selling short stories are direct deposit and wire transfer.

Things to Consider When Selling Short Stories

There are some things you must consider while writing stories. Let’s tell you more.

1. Writing is Difficult

As an aspiring writer, you’ll face many obstacles and frustrations before making money off your passion.

Notwithstanding writer’s block, the strict guidelines and tough competition plaguing literary magazines and other platforms make it hard to stand out. But if you’re persistent and patient, you’ll make it!

2. Be Wary of Shady Practices

Some literary magazines are less noble than others and don’t pay their writers even after they pay the submission fee.

Similarly, some “publishers” mislead new writers into giving up the rights to their stories through their confusing guidelines.

Carefully research every platform or publisher you plan on working with before sharing your work with them!

3. Advertisement

A strong marketing strategy will be the difference between your success and failure if you choose the self-publishing route. Learn how to properly advertise yourself on social media and other writer communities; it’ll help you a lot!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Place to Sell Short Stories Online?

Amazon KDP is an excellent choice if you have the skills to market yourself well.

Wattpad’s paid program is invite-only, so you must be a phenomenal writer. Other than that, literary magazines are a viable option for beginner writers.

How Can I Become a Better Writer?

First, practice is key. Having different pairs of eyes criticize your writing will help you improve.

You can also enter short story competitions, join a forum for writers, and attend workshops to network with other aspiring writers.

How Do I Receive Payment for My Short Stories?

Unlike other gigs, most platforms for writers pay via direct deposit or wire transfer. For the most part, you’ll need a bank account ready.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

If selling short stories isn’t your cup of tea, you could check one of our following guides instead:

  • How to Sell Notes: Are you great at summarizing and simplifying difficult courses? Let us show you how to sell notes online!
  • How to Sell Used Rims: Thinking of selling your used car rims? Our guide will answer all your questions.
  • Write Reviews for Money: Do you have good writing skills and are interested in reviewing products? We’ll show you how to write reviews for money!

Wrapping Up

If you have commendable writing skills, you can make a decent amount of money selling short stories online.

You can sell short stories on many platforms, including Amazon KDP and The Threepenny Review.

However, each platform has different guidelines, so research well to avoid potential frustrations. Of course, pay attention to your rights—they’re much more important!

Your feedback is important to us, so let us know what you think of our guide, and share it if you like it!

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