Short Story Writing Contests & Markets Part 3

23 Markets for Speculative Fiction 2022

What is a writing market?

It’s easier to think of a market as an audience or organization comprised of people, a community of ideal readers, where writers build relationships. Marketing, then, is about telling a genuinely interested audience what a writer has for them. It’s that simple, but one of the biggest mistakes new writers make is not identifying those ideal readers.

When people use the term fiction market, they most often mean a publication or website that publishes fiction. I’ve narrowed the list below to magazines that accept speculative fiction. Generally, speculative fiction writers should avoid submitting to literary magazines looking for general or literary fiction.

“Without marketing — real marketing — no one would be able to make a living writing, share their story, or gain new fans and followers.”

Danny Iny
14 Market Caveats

Generally, when researching appropriate markets, see if a story fits with what a particular market usually publishes, their submission periods, and their pay rate.

More specific factors include:
  1. Is the magazine popular?
    • What’s the quality and reputation of the publication?
    • Does the market have a platform for publication?
  2. What awards has the magazine won?
  3. How long has the magazine been publishing?
  4. What is the pay rate the magazine is offering? Semi-pro, pro, or non-existent?
    • $0.06 to $0.08 per word is a professional pay rate.
    • $0.01 to $0.05 per word is semi-professional.
    • Some pay a flat rate rather than per word, and some pay in contributor copies (free copies mailed to you).
    • Avoid those that pay in anything that is not currency.
  5. Does the magazine pay on acceptance or publication; there can often be a lengthy gap in between.
  6. Does the magazine require first publication rights without providing more exposure than posting on a personal blog or self-publishing?
  7. What are the acceptable genre, style, and subject of the story?
  8. Word count range?
  9. Accepts reprints (stories that have been published already)?
  10. Accepts multiple submissions (more than one story submitted from the same author at a time)?
  11. Accepts simultaneous submissions (same story submitted to another publisher at a time)?
  12. Does the magazine have specific requirements such as anonymity, file formats, subject material they want absolutely nothing to do with, etc.?
    • It’s better to avoid those with ultra nit-picky formatting requirements.
  13. What is the magazine’s response time?
  14. Does the magazine have an easy-to-find guideline linked right from the website’s home page?

Tip: If you’re a new writer, don’t focus all your attention on the larger, more prominent magazines. The chances of acceptance are lower.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Market Report is an excellent place to find markets open to submissions. The report is compiled by David Steffen, the administrator, and co-founder of The Submissions Grinder.

The Submissions Grinder is a donation-based database where writers can search for publications to submit their work for free. Their database is unique in that it’s searchable by acceptable word count. I especially like that search results often list the link to both the contest website and submission guideline pages.

Duotrope is a professional, subscription-based service but offers a free trial. Their “one-hundred most favorited markets” list can be helpful.

Literarium offers a free account. The site is entirely funded by Co-Directors Lucas Martin and Tom Dullemond, for less than a thousand dollars a year. It can be slow at peak times.

Plenty of other websites and blogs list markets.

“People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”

R.L. Stine
23 Magazines to submit speculative fiction 2022

Be aware that markets frequently close, both temporarily and permanently, and their information constantly changes. Read the publisher’s submission guidelines, and follow them carefully before submitting.

Analog Science Fiction and Fact

Apex Magazine

Asimov’s Science Fiction


Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Bewildering Stories


Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores

Fall Into Fantasy

Galaxy’s Edge


Leading Edge Magazine

Metaphorosis Magazine

Not One of Us

On Spec

Space and Time Magazine

Strange Horizons

The Aphelion Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Dark Magazine

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Three-Lobed Burning Eye

Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Weird Tales

“The first and most important thing is finishing the story! It doesn’t matter how ragged, battered and pathetic that story is when it crosses the finish line. It doesn’t matter whether it is flash fiction or novel-length… finishing is what will separate you from 90% of the writers who start to tell a story.”

Peter J. Wacks

One of the biggest criticisms of articles featuring publications is that they become quickly outdated, and the hyperlinks cease working. Please leave comments if you find dead markets, links, etc.

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Next week I’ll be sharing an article featuring the Writers of the Future Contest for those interested in one of the best contests for new speculative fiction writers.


Jarrid Cantway

Oh, I wouldn’t mind if you shared the article on social media.


Author Jarrid Cantway


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