Thursday, June 13, 2013

Top 6 Online Resources for Short Story Markets

"The Writer" by Michael Lynn Adams
Updated 4/23/22

It is received wisdom that in order to get a book published you should start by placing short stories in literary magazines. Like most received wisdom, this is hogwash. It is easier to get a book published than it is to get a short story placed in any kind of reputable literary magazine. (That being said, there are literary magazines of ill repute, and your stories may wind up sliding down the slippery slope into a few of them.) 

Not only is it hard to break into the literary magazine scene, it takes forever. Literary magazines are often staffed by underpaid, overworked grad students, who will take a minimum of three months to respond to your submission – if at all. Moreover, their readerships are generally small (1000 subscribers is a lot), their editorial staff quirky, and their requirements absurd. (No simultaneous submissions? Snail mail? Perpetual rights? Seriously!)

So, why bother? For one thing, some people are really good at writing short stories – much better than they are at writing novels. Short stories are not easy to write. Unlike novels, which allow writers to natter on for hundreds of pages before getting to the point, short stories are an art form that requires fast efficient character development, a plot that moves at the speed of light, and an ending that sticks in your mind like that song you can’t get out of your head. If you can write a good short story, I envy you. Get it published!

Below are the most extensive, and most useful, resources for finding the perfect home for your short story.
Poets & Writers is always my first stop when I am looking for a short story market. Their list is not comprehensive, but P&W includes a great deal of useful information, such as circulation, length of time for a response, genres, representative authors, reading period, whether they accept electronic submissions, or charge a reading fee. (Don’t submit to magazines that charge a fee. They will take your money and run.) Listings are alphabetical, but you can also do a search by genre and subgenre.

These people were not overstating their mission when they called their site Every Writer’s Resource. Not only do they feature articles, blogs, publishers, but oh! The lists! The big list has 2000 literary magazines on it, which is enough to make anyone’s hair fall out. To keep you from going bald, they also narrow the field down to a list of the top 50 literary magazines, university magazines, print magazines that take online submissions (bravo!), and genre-specific magazines (horror, fantasy and sci-fi).

New Pages keeps a well-organized list with new and featured magazines at the top. Best of all they include icons of the magazine covers. Magazine covers are just as important as book covers (by which we make ill-informed, yet somehow completely accurate judgments). You don’t want your short story appearing in a magazine that has cover art drawn by the editor’s six-year-old grandson. The short summaries alongside the cover icons provide the essentials that will enable you to make a fast choice.

4) Duotrope (payment required)

When Duotrope was free I used the site daily. Not only does Duotrope include every literary magazine, you can search magazines by genre, whether they take electronic submissions, response time, and acceptance rate. These last two details are extremely important, and because Duotrope’s figures are based on what writers report, they are fairly accurate. The subscription is $5 a month (7-day free trial). (You can access Duotrope’s basic stats for individual magazines by doing a Google search on “duotrope” and the name of the magazine.)

5) The Grinder (free version of Duotrope)

Like the fourth (and fifth) books of the Douglas Adams trilogy, I am adding a 6th source to my top five. (Many thanks to Wm. Luke Everest for suggesting this wonderful site.) Here you can find a virtual replica of the old Duotrope site - and it's FREE. We tempest-tossed writers yearning to publish free really do appreciate their generosity. So go to The Grinder, and check it out! I'm going there right now...

6) The Review Review

The RR offers an extensive review database, in which they provide in-depth reviews of almost all well-known 150 journals as well as interviews with their editors. If you're seeking publication in lit mags, this resource is indispensable.

More sites of interest

Winning Writers lists free writing contests, and many other writing resources. They have a free monthly email newsletter you can sign up for.

Entropy is a literary magazine with bi-monthly roundups of places to submit.


  1. Nice article. Also, check out The Submission Grinder. It's essentially the new Duotrope: exactly the same content, very similar format, but they haven't decided to start charging people yet.

  2. Thank you Wm. Luke! I've added The Grinder to my list. The Submission Grinder is just like the old Duotrope! I'm overjoyed! I can stop wearing black!


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