Stories are part of every aspect of our lives. It’s because, hypothetically, we are living in our own life story. We are the only species who write histories and preserve the old age stories generation by generation. This is how we became the greatest species of all time.
To me, writing is an opportunity for limitless imagination and expressing it in words. If you are a young person who likes to gossip and tell stories, then you have the potential to take writing as a hobby. There’s also a good potential to get paid to write short stories on various platforms.
A quick note, this article is NOT sponsored by Holly Johnson, but we just think so highly of her course that we figured we should mention it right at the start here, but she gives a great path toward how to build a six-figure writing career, her course is worth every penny.
That said … Today, I’m going to share how you can employ your writing skills as a side hustle to make money writing short stories, even if you are a student, job holder, or housewife. I’ll briefly show you the earning potential of telling a great story so you can dream big while maintaining your expenses.
The Concept of Writing Short Stories
We all have that friend who always stands in the center of our group. Why? Because he/she gossips so much and has a lot of experiences to share. Though we all like telling stories about what happens in our homes, in class, or in the streets.
Stories have a solid power to directly touch our souls, so we always go with the flow. Stories shape our lives with it extraordinary powers like developing:
Captivating narratives, and
Developing stories from your experience allows you to build and reform a beginning, contextual narrative, and an end with a unique sense of that event. This expression gives knowledge and the potential to progress instead of struggling blindly.
Why Write Short Stories?
Short stories are a few small steps for you to justify your writing quality and the acceptance of your writing to your audiences. Famous American writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch says in an interview that she writes short stories to the world of her novels. She employs short stories to develop and improve her longer fiction writing efforts.
Let’s not be the visionary of becoming professional writers and focus on how we can leverage our writing efforts and earn money. You should start your writing journey with short stories because:
Short stories can be developed quickly and easily.
Writing short stories allows you to understand your audience.
You can explore various genres and writing styles to identify where you’re good at.
Short stories have a better chance of getting approved by publishing companies.
It’s a fantastic way of building a solid writing portfolio.
If you want to be a story writer, you may wonder how much education is required. Research shows that 72.0% of story writers have a bachelor’s degree, while 13.0% have a master’s degree. Surprisingly, becoming a story writer is still achievable with just a high school diploma or GED, despite the majority holding college degrees.
How Much Can You Make Money Writing Short Stories?
Making money from writing short stories can be quite a mixed bag, you know? It’s not a straightforward path with set numbers and statistics. But hey, I can give you some general insights based on what I’ve observed.
So, when it comes to publishing your short stories in literary magazines, the payments can vary quite a bit. Some of these magazines might offer you anywhere from a humble $10 to a decent $200 for your accepted piece. But here’s the thing, not all of them will shell out cash. You might find magazines that only offer you exposure or contributor copies without any monetary compensation.
Now, let’s talk about anthologies. If your story gets selected for a collection, the payments can range from around $25 to a few hundred bucks, depending on how well-known and influential the anthology is.
Oh, let me tell you, writing competitions can be pretty exciting! Not only do they give you a chance to showcase your talent, but if your story wins, you can land yourself some sweet cash prizes. And I’m talking about prizes that can range from a few hundred dollars all the way up to several thousand. It really depends on the specific short story competitions you enter, you know?
But wait, there’s more to this writing adventure! If you manage to publish a collection of your short stories as a book, things can get really interesting. I’m talking advances, my friend. Those can vary a lot. You could score anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to a jaw-dropping six-figure sum! Crazy, right?
It all comes down to your reputation as an author and what the publisher expects from your work. And let’s not forget about royalties. Once your book starts selling like hot cakes and you’ve got a huge audience, you can earn a juicy 5% to 15% of the book’s retail price in royalties. That’s right! You could definitely earn such a ridiculous amount of money writing short stories. Cha-ching!
But hold on, there’s another option you might want to consider. Self-publishing, my friend. Yep, you can take matters into your own hands and publish short stories all by yourself. You can easily publish short stories online if you wish.
Top 10 Ways to Get Paid to Write Short Stories
I assume that you are just starting your writing career and considering it as a side hustle. As a side job, you can try out your writing ability and discover if short story writing is interesting to you or not. Let’s explore online websites where you can submit your writing and get paid to write short stories.
1. Attending Short Story Writing Competitions
Participating in short story writing competitions can be a great way of earning money as a side hustle. Every year so, many publications and magazines arrange competitions where you can participate in short story contests. Here you can submit short stories or short fiction as new writers.
These are some of the upcoming short story competitions that can attract a huge and loyal readership and a chance to become the winner:
7-Day Story Writing Challenges – £500 prize for each challenge. (Deadline: Rolling)
Anthology Short Story Award 2023 – €1000, €250, and €150 for 1st 2nd & 3rd position . (Deadline: August 31, 2023)
Creative Writing Award for Short Fiction 2023 – $3,068 is the prize money. (Deadline: September 8, 2023)
Ovacome Writing Competition 2023 – £250 is the prize money. (Deadline: September 15, 2023)
Fiction Factory Short Story Competition – £500 is the prize money. (Deadline: October 31, 2023)
The Heartland Review Open Calls – Publication to honorable[ medium. (Deadline: November 15, 2023)
Seán O’Faoláin International Short Story Competition – €2,000 prize money. (Deadline: July 31, 2023)
TWFest Very Short Fiction Contest – $500 prize money. (Deadline: October 15, 2023)
The Paul Cave Prize for Literature – £100 prize money. (Deadline: September 30, 2023)
Unleash Press 2024 Book Prize – $1,000 prize money. (Deadline: December 15, 2023)
2. Sell Short Stories on Reader’s Digest
Reader’s Digest is an American magazine based on general interest. It’s pretty popular and publishes its magazine 10 times a year. They are considered the most sold paid magazine worldwide because their global circulation is 10.5 million.
You can write short stories and get to be a part of the magazine. They allow you to write funny true stories, jokes, and funny quotes. For every unique joke that has been published in their magazine, you’ll get $25 for any funny quote, gag, or joke. You’ll be paid $100 for every funny story, too.
3. Submit Both Fiction & Non-Fiction to The Sun Magazine
The Sun Magazine is an ad-free publication that spreads the beauty and suffering of being human.
If you are passionate about fictional, non-fictional, and poetry writing, then you are in luck. According to the Sun Magazine’s editor, they pay writers as follows:
$300-$2000 for fictional & non-fictional writings.
$100-$250 for poetry writing.
4. Write Short Fiction for CraftLiterary
CraftLiterary is a pure fiction publishing platform. They focus on publishing writing works, occasional reprints, unpublished creative work, interviews, and craft personal essays. They invite their readers to submit their writing and pay writers according to their scale.
You can earn money selling short stories that have your rights. They also allow your previously published stories as long as you have the rights to publish them. This is the pay grade of CraftLiterary:
For original flash fiction writing – $100
For original short fiction – $200
For creative non-fiction – $200
Special Note: CraftLiterary maintains the quality of submitted publishing copies by highly selective methods.
5. Short Story Submissions on Boulevard Magazine
Boulevard Magazine is a well-known award-winning journal. It publishes short stories and essays. It also publishes fictional, non-fictional stories and poetries as well. They always welcome newcomers in writing to publish their creative crafts.
Boulevard appreciates prose versions of writing to publish in their magazine. This is the pay grade of Boulevard:
$50-$250 for poetry writing.
$100-$300 for prose writing.
$50 flat rate for Natural Bridge Online publication.
Special Note: The Boulevard Magazine accepts submissions by post; otherwise, the online submission will charge you $3.
6. Publish Stories on One-Story
One-Story is a publication where that focuses on craft, literary fiction, lifestyle, and cooking-related writing. They have a teen writers-focused submission opportunity where teens can submit short stories. This initiative is called One Teen Story.
One Story offers compensation of $500 along with 25 copies to contributors in exchange for First Serial North American rights.
Special Note: Submitted writing’s all rights will revert back to the author once the story is published.
7. Submit Flash Fiction Online on Vestal Review
Vestal Review is a warm place for short story contributors like you. It’s a flash fiction-focused magazine. The website is entirely reader-friendly and supported by donations. Many famous short story writers have contributed to this magazine, which improves the reading experience.
You can write up to 500 words per story and earn a flat $50 per approved publication. They welcome any genre and writing style, whether literary fiction, science fiction, true story, speculative fiction, etc. Note that you cannot submit stories that are X-rated, but R-rated content is allowed in their submission guideline.
Special Note: There is a $3 fee for your submission.
8. Publish on Asimovs Online Magazine
Asimov’s magazine is solely based on publishing science fiction. They are inspired to publish “character-oriented” stories rather than science generally. They appreciate humorous, fantasy, and thoughtful sci-fi stories.
You can write short stories ranging up to 7500 words. They typically buy sci-fi stories in less than 1000 words to 20,000 maximum. They don’t serialize novels, but they allow poetry in their paid writing form.
This is the pay grade of Asimovs:
For 7500 words of short stories – 8 to 10 cents per word.
For more than 7500 words of science fiction short stories –
8 cents per word.
For poetry – $1 per line (Up to 40 lines)
Special Note: Asimov doesn’t allow you to publish your sci-fi content to be republished elsewhere.
9. BarrelHouse General Literary Publication
BarrelHouse started its journey in 2004. They started off as a literary magazine and evolved into a print and online mag, a small book press.
Short story writers can write about pop culture, nerdy stuff, or just sharing your wild and quirky thoughts, this is your spot! They want new, unpublished work, and there’s no specific word limit, but they do prefer pieces under 8,000 words. They’ll pay you $50 per published short story.
10. East Of The Web for New Writers
East Of The Web looks out for imaginative and idea-filled science fiction and fantasy short stories. They want stories that are engaging, with strong plots and captivating characters, all written with a good understanding of the sci-fi or fantasy world.
You’ll be compensated if your story gets selected! Starting at $0.05 per word royalty. They’re looking for stories that are at least 7,000 words long. And guess what? Your story will be published under a brand-new electronic imprint from East Of The Web, a top-notch publisher of short stories worldwide.
Tips for Writing Short Stories That Sell
Start with a strong concept: A great short story starts with a compelling vision or idea that will grab readers’ attention and keep them engaged from beginning to end.
Keep it concise: Short stories should be just that – short! Focus on telling your story in as few words as possible while still conveying all the necessary information.
Develop your characters: Even in a short story, it’s essential to create well-rounded, believable personalities that readers can relate to and care about.
Create tension and conflict: Readers want to be drawn into the story and feel invested in what happens next. Creating tension and conflict is a great way to keep them engaged.
End with a twist: A surprising or unexpected ending can leave a lasting impression on readers and make your story stand out from the rest. You want to leave readers feeling satisfied!
We don’t know what is going to be our permanent life career. But to reach a specific point, we need to start with what encourages us the most. So, trust your gut and start writing for now. You’ll know in time if it fits for you or not.
By following the above tips, you can increase your chances of writing short stories that captivate readers and sell well. Good luck!