Social distancing during the pandemic has given many of us more time than usual to get comfortable with our own thoughts — maybe a little too comfortable.
One of the best ways to stay sane? Writing those thoughts down! And if you’re a little talented (and a lot lucky), you might be able to make some extra cash from your creative writing.
10 No-Fee Magazines and Journals That Pay for Creative Writing
It’s by no means easy to get published in most journals, and the pay is fairly meager. But treat the extra time at home during the pandemic as an opportunity to hone your writing chops.
We specifically raked the internet for journals that don’t charge submission fees, so there’s no financial risk in throwing your name in the hat.
Whether you’re a fiction writer, a poet, or into narrative nonfiction, here are 10 outlets that pay writers for successful creative submissions.
1. The Sun
Prizes: $300 to $2,000 for fiction and personal essays; $100 to $250 for poetry
This independent, ad-free magazine has been in circulation for over 40 years, and some of the writing in its pages has been selected for prestigious awards like the Pushcart Prize.
Personal essays, fiction, and poetry are all accepted by The Sun, and they accept both digital and mailed submissions.
2. Slice Magazine
Prizes: $400 for stories and essays; $150 for flash fiction; $100 for poetry
Committed to providing a platform for emerging voices, Slice is a great option for writers who’ve been at the craft for a while, but have yet to publish. Each issue carries a specific cultural theme — and the editors are particularly interested in work that plays off that theme in unexpected ways.
Slice publishes interviews, articles, stories, poetry and even visual art.
3. Nashville Review
Prizes: $100 for prose and art pieces; $25 for poetry
Vanderbilt University’s literary magazine, Nashville Review, is interested in publishing “the best work we can get our hands on, period.” That includes poetry, fiction, nonfiction and translation from both established and emerging artists.
Be sure to read the submissions guidelines thoroughly, as there are formatting specifications.
4. Gay Magazine
Prize: $1 per word for up to 3,500 words
Roxane Gay’s new publication, Gay Magazine, pays writers a generous $1 per word. They seek cultural criticism, personal essays, short fiction and original artwork, and are particularly interested in works that are deep, timeless, and which challenge conventional thinking.
Prizes: $200 per poem in print; $100 per poem online
One of the pre-eminent modern publishers of poetry, submissions to Rattle are always free and accepted year-round, and simultaneous submissions are not only allowed, but encouraged.
Of particular interest during this historic moment is the magazine’s “Poets Respond” feature, wherein at least one poem is published each Sunday responding to a current event. If you have some artistic words to say about love (or life in general) in the time of the coronavirus, you might earn $100 if your poem is selected. (Submit by midnight on the preceding Friday.)
6. Virginia Quarterly Review
Prizes: $200 per poem for up to five poems; approximately 25 cents per word for prose, depending on length
Known for its publication of award-winning and accomplished writers — Stephen King made a cameo fairly recently — VQR also publishes new voices. Nonfiction up to 9,000 words, fiction up to 8,000 words, and poetry of all types and lengths are accepted.
7. The Threepenny Review
Prize(s): $400 per story; $200 per poem or Table Talk piece
Currently in its 161st issue, The Threepenny Review accepts critical articles, stories and memoirs, poems and submissions for its Table Talk vertical. Successful submitters are consulted on all significant edits.
Manuscripts can be submitted online or through snail mail, though mailed pieces must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
8. The Antioch Review
Prize(s): $20 per printed page (approximately 425 words) plus two copies of the issue
One of the oldest continually publishing literary magazines in the world, The Antioch Review has been distributed for 75 years — and you can be part of its legacy. The journal considers nonfiction essays, fiction and poetry, though competition is stiff, and the editors suggest submitters read back issues to understand what kind of material is likely to be accepted.
9. One Story
Prize: $500 per story and 25 contributors copies
One Story has pretty specific requirements: literary fiction between 3,000 and 8,000 words. However, successful stories can be in any style covering any topic, “as long as they are good.”
Submissions are read from Jan. 15 to May 31, and from Sept. 8 to Nov. 14, and are all done online.
10. Contemporary Verse
Prizes: $30 per poem; $50 to $100 for articles and interviews; $40 to $150 for essays and $50 to $80 for reviews
Like writing about writing? Contemporary Verse publishes poetry as well as critical writing about poetry, including interviews, articles, essays and reviews.
Submissions should include a cover letter as well as a short, third-person biographical statement, and review time ranges from two to six months.
There are plenty of other literary magazines that pay for creative writing, though many do charge nominal submissions fees of $2 – $5 to cover administrative costs.
Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com.