2017 SFWA Short Story Qualifying Markets for Speculative Fiction

Many writers of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, etc.) pursue active membership in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). In addition to membership benefits, SFWA provides free resources, including an Information Center packed with great articles of interest to writers. And their Writer Beware® postings are an indispensable resource for advice and warnings regarding the publishing industry.

Novel sales is one avenue to membership, sales of short stories is another. While I work to perfect my novel, I pursue the short story option through markets that satisfy the requirements. Unfortunately, the SFWA website lacks an updated list of qualifying markets (and no links are provided). To the rescue: The Grinder and Ralan.com. These websites fill in the gaps with complete market listings that I sift through for those specific to SFWA.

The following are the markets I submit to first. These qualifying markets pay professional rates of 6 cents or more per word for short stories. Those listed are still accepting unagented submissions as of July 19, 2017. At the end of the post you’ll find a link to a pdf spreadsheet for future reference. (This list is for adult markets. If you write for children/middle grade, check out Cicada, Cricket, and Highlights magazines.)

1. analogo_bwAnalog Science Fiction and Fact publishes science fiction stories in which some aspect of future science or technology is so integral to the plot that, if that aspect were removed, the story would collapse. The science can be physical, sociological, psychological, but stories must be strong and realistic, with believable people (who needn’t be human) doing believable things – no matter how fantastic the background might be.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
2,000-80,000 8-10¢/word to 20,000
Serials: 6¢/word
2-3 months No
Other: Serials: 40,000-80,000 words. No simultaneous submissions. Accepts online and hardcopy submissions.

2. new-banner092512Apex Magazine is a monthly online prose and poetry magazine of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three. They seek works full of marrow and passion, stories that are twisted, strange, and beautiful.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
Up to 7,500 6¢/word 1 month
Other: No simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions.

3. as_logo_blAsimov’s Science Fiction is looking for character-oriented science fiction in which the characters, rather than the science, provide the main focus for the reader’s interest. They also publish borderline fantasy, slipstream, and surreal fiction, but no sword & sorcery.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
1,000-20,000 8-10¢/word to 7,500
8¢/word over 7,500
5 weeks No
Other: No simultaneous submissions, serialized novels, explicit sex or violence. Accepts online and hardcopy submissions.

4. Beneath Ceaseless SkiesBeneath Ceaseless Skies is an award-winning online magazine publishing “literary adventure fantasy” with a secondary-world setting – different from our own primary world – and a traditional/classic fantasy feel, written with a literary focus on the characters.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
Up to 14,000 6¢/word 2-4 weeks No
Other: Accepts simultaneous submissions (read guidelines). No multiple submissions, novel excerpts, urban fantasy or modern/contemporary settings. No graphic sex or violence beyond an R-rating.

5. ClarkesworldClarkesworld Magazine is a Hugo award-winning monthly science fiction/fantasy magazine. Science fiction need not be hard SF. Fantasy can be folkloric, contemporary, surreal, etc. Horror can be supernatural or psychological, as long as it’s frightening.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
1,000-16,000 10¢/word to 5,000
8¢/word over 5,000
2 days No
Other: No simultaneous submissions. See their list of hard sells.

6. DailyScienceFiction_200Daily Science Fiction accepts speculative fiction submissions: science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, etc. They will consider stories with dark elements but no pure horror.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
100-1,500 8¢/word < 1 month
Other: Accepts flash series (3+ standalone stories built around a common theme). No simultaneous/multiple submissions, erotica, or pure horror.

7. escapepod2Escape Pod seeks science fiction stories, centered on science, technology, future projections, alternate history, and how any or all of these things intersect with people. Fairly flexible on what counts as science. No fantasy, magical realism, or more than a tinge of horror.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
2,000-6,000 6¢/word Unknown Yes
Other: Reprints: $100 flat rate. No serialized fiction or novel excerpts. Closed to submissions Aug 1-31, 2017.

8. fsflogo5_200Fantasy & Science Fiction is looking for stories that appeal to science fiction and fantasy readers. They prefer character-oriented stories, whether fantasy, science fiction, horror, humor, or another genre. The speculative element may be slight, but it should be present.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
Up to 25,000 7-12¢/word < 8 weeks No
Other: No simultaneous or multiple submissions. Accepts online and hardcopy submissions.

9. Fireside publishes all speculative fiction genres. They want stories that go somewhere, that keep people reading to find out what happens next, but they aren’t looking for character studies or metafiction or hallucinatory visions.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
1,000-4,000 12.5¢/word 30 days after sub. window No
Other: Prefers shorter word counts. No simultaneous or multiple submissions. Submission windows (subject to change): flash fiction (up to 1,000 words), Sep 17-23; short stories, Nov 5-11.

10. FlashFictionOnline200Flash Fiction Online seeks complete stories with a resolved plot and strong, interesting characters (not a story synopsis or scene from a novel), and (to some extent) settings.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
500-1,000 $60 flat rate 2 days-10 weeks Yes
Other: Reprints: 2¢/word. No erotica, graphic sex, or egregious violence. No simultaneous submissions. Accepts multiple submissions.

11. logo302bIGMS (Intergalactic Medicine Show) is looking for science fiction and fantasy stories up to 17,500 words (query the editor for longer works). Science fiction: hard sf, sf adventure, alternate history, near-future, far-future, psi, alien, etc. Fantasy: heroic fantasy (based on any culture’s mythology), fairy tales, contemporary fantasy, and horror in the sense of supernatural suspense (not gory bloodfests).

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
Up to 17,500
6¢/word 3 months+ No*
Other: *See reprint guidelines. No multiple submissions. No profanity, explicit sex or violence (think PG13).

12. sh_headStrange Horizons is a weekly online magazine seeking speculative fiction, broadly defined, previously unpublished in English.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
Up to 10,000
8¢/word < 40 days No
Other: Preferred word count: < 5,000. No simultaneous/multiple submissions, resubmissions, serialized novels/excerpts, erotica, or horror. Submissions re-open every Monday night and continue through the week until the queue is full

The following are open to submissions periodically but are currently closed. Subscribe or join their newsletters for updates.

Lightspeed is seeking original science fiction and fantasy stories of all types. No subject should be considered off-limits, and they encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
8¢/word 2 days-2 weeks Yes
Other: Preferred word count: < 5,000. Reprints: 2¢/word. No simultaneous/multiple submissions, but you may submit one science fiction story and one fantasy story once every seven days. Last submission window, fantasy only: April 1-15, 2017.

nightmare_28_january_2015_bannerNightmare is seeking original horror and dark fantasy stories. All types of horror and dark fantasy are welcome. No subject is considered off-limits. They encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
1,500-7,500 6¢/word 2-14 days Yes
Other: Preferred word range: < 5,000. Reprints: 1¢/word. No simultaneous/multiple submissions, but you may submit one story every 7 days. Last submission window: February 15-March 14, 2017.

The following pay SFWA professional rates and are in the process of qualifying for SFWA market status.

Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores is seeking science fiction, fantasy, myth, legend, fairy tales, and eldritch from 1,000 words on up, but favor shorter pieces. They care about character, plot, ideas, and storytelling ability whether serious or humorous.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
1,000+ 6¢/word 1-12 weeks Yes
Other: Reprints: 2¢/word. No simultaneous/multiple submissions. No horror, hate, blood and guts, explicit language, excessive violence, or sex. Submission windows: Mar 21-28; Jun 21-28; Sept 21-28; Dec 21-28.

Pseudopod is a genre magazine in audio form. They’re looking for horror: dark, weird fiction. They run the spectrum from grim realism or crime drama, to magic-realism, to blatantly supernatural dark fantasy.

Word Count Payment Response Time Reprints
flash: <1500
short: 1,500-6K
6¢/word < 2 months Yes
Other: Reprint rates vary. Prefers flash of 500–1K words; short stories of 4500 words. Accepts simultaneous but not multiple submissions. See their Submission/Closure Schedule. Flash submissions: Aug 15-Sept 15; short stories: Sept 15-Oct 31.

Here’s a handy spreadsheet incorporating the information from this post. Go HERE for the pdf version with clickable links. I’ll keep an updated list on my Writing Resources page.

Good Luck!

Speculative Fiction Writer

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Posted in Call for Submissions
7 comments on “2017 SFWA Short Story Qualifying Markets for Speculative Fiction
  1. Excellent post and resource! Thank you for all the information compiled in one place with tools to find more.

  2. SFWA is hard to get into. I remember looking at their requirements long ago and shrugging my shoulders. They do have helpful resources, even for non-members. Thanks for the info on qualifying short story publishers. That’s great to know.

  3. Terra LeMay says:

    SFWA does have a list of qualifying markets on its website. Can be found here: http://www.sfwa.org/about/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/#short

    The page says it’s current through 2014, but it has been updated much more recently than that. There are markets labelled as having been added as recently as 9/2017.

    • KL Wagoner says:

      Thank you for the comment, Terra, and a reminder that I need to update my list! I love the SFWA site, but their market listings don’t include links. That’s the main reason I keep my own list and added links (above) to The Grinder and Ralan.com.

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