Thursday, September 19, 2019

Top 12 Paying Markets for Fiction, Personal Essays and Poetry

Mr B finds Pamela writing (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated 2/3/21

Here are a dozen prestigious literary magazines that accept submissions of poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction. None charge submission fees, and all pay writers at professional or semi-professional rates.

Although these are big names in the world of literary magazines, you don't have to be an established writer to submit to them. In fact, many of these magazines are proud of their reputation of discovering new voices and launching the careers of famous authors. You could be one of them!

There are, of course, many more prestigious magazines than the ones on this list. Check out these lists. (Some of the magazines on these lists charge fees to submit.):

Top 50 Literary Magazines -Every Writer

20 Respected Literary Journals and Magazines that Publish Creative Writing

Ranking of the 100 Best Literary Magazines

For hundreds of additional paying markets, see: Paying Markets



Agni is a respected publication put out by Boston University. They publish poetry, short fiction, and essays. Payment: $40 per page for poetry, with a $300 maximum. Reading period: September 1st to May 31st.

The Antioch Review

The Antioch Review, based in Antioch College, has been publishing prominent and promising poets, authors, and critics since 1941. "Authors published in the Review are consistently included in Best American Anthologies and Pushcart Prizes. We have been recognized by the National Magazine Awards in essays and criticism and fiction. Our writers and poets are routinely recipients of prominent literary awards." Payment: $20.00 per printed page (about 425 words) plus 2 copies of the issue. Regular mail submissions only.

The Atlantic

The Atlantic is a highly prestigious magazine founded in 1857 as The Atlantic Monthly in Boston, They always interested in great nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Payment: Professional rates. To submit poetry, send your manuscript to:

The Georgia Review

Founded in 1947, The Georgia Review is the University of Georgia’s journal of arts and letters.  The journal has twice taken a top prize in the annual National Magazine Awards competition, winning out over the likes of the Atlantic, Esquire, the New Yorker, and Vanity Fair, and has been a finalist twenty times in various categories. Payment: $50 per printed page for prose and $4 per line for poetry. Essay-reviews and standard reviews earn honoraria of $50/printed page. In addition, all contributors receive a one-year subscription to The Georgia Review. No fee to submit by regular mail.

Harper's Magazine

Founded in 1850, Harper's Magazine is one of the oldest magazines in the country. It has a circulation of more than 220,000. They publish fiction, art and nonfiction. Payment: According to Who Pays Writers Harper's pays between 25 cents and a dollar a word. Snail mail submissions only.

The Kenyon Review

This is another long-standing publication with a great reputation. In addition to poetry, they publish fiction, plays and creative nonfiction. Payment: Professional rate. See reading periods.

One Story

One Story is seeking literary short stories. "They can be any style and on any subject as long as they are good. We are looking for stories that leave readers feeling satisfied and are strong enough to stand alone." Single stories are sent to email subscribers every month. Length: Between 3,000 and 8,000 words. Payment: $500 and 25 contributors copies. See reading periods.

The Paris Review

In its long history as a literary magazine The Paris Review has published such luminaries as Jack Kerouac, Philip Larkin, V. S. Naipaul, Philip Roth, Adrienne Rich, Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Robert Bly. It has a readership of over 22,000. The Paris Review accepts fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Payment: Who pays writers reports payments of 10 cents/word to $100 flat fee.

Poetry Magazine

Poetry is a highly prestigious publication, and therefore has a high rejection rate. But do not be afraid to give it a whirl. (The worst that can happen is that they will cut your head off and stick it on a pole as a warning to other poets.) Payment: $10 per line (with a minimum payment of $300), and $150 per page of prose, for first serial rights. Closed to submissions during the month of August.

The New Yorker is New York. It started as a humor weekly in 1925, and has since grown to be one of the most prestigious magazines in the country. The New Yorker publishes one short story per issue and several poems. Payment: Professional rates. Submission guidelines are here.


"VQR strives to publish the best writing we can find. While we have a long history of publishing accomplished and award-winning authors, we also seek and support emerging writers. We read unsolicited fiction, poetry, and nonfiction submissions June 15 to July 15, and October 1 to November 1 each year through our Submittable portal. We read nonfiction pitches from June 15 to December 1." Note: Genre fiction not acceptedPayment: $200 per poem, up to 4 poems; for a suite of 5 or more poems, payment is $1,000. For short fiction, $1,000. For other prose, such as personal essays and literary criticism, $1,000 and above, at approximately 25 cents per word, depending on length. Online content is generally paid at $100-$200, depending upon genre and length.


ZYZZYVA is a print journal based in San Francisco. "We have established a vigorous tradition of finding and fostering new talent, in our backyard and beyond. For over thirty years ZYZZYVA has nurtured emerging writers, many of whom go on to spectacular careers (Haruki Murakami, Po Bronson, F.X. Toole, Kay Ryan, Sherman Alexie) and whose work in ZYZZYVA is recognized by the Pushcart Prize, the Best American series, the O. Henry Prize Stories, and other awards organizations." They publish fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork. Payment: Token to semi-pro. They accept submissions from January 7 through May 31, and September 1 through November 19. Snail mail submissions only.

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