How to Make Money Writing Short Stories: 11 Awesome Ways
Do you enjoy writing? There are many legit ways to make money as a writer. You can write articles, newsworthy stories, blog posts, or even short stories or books.
Short stories are popular because people can read them quickly. If the story is really entertaining, a reader may be able to finish it in one sitting.
As a writer, short stories may not take you long to develop and publish. This means you can make money writing short stories and selling them online as a side hustle.
What is Considered a Short Story?
A short story is basically a story that’s fully developed but not as long or in-depth as a full-length novel. Short stories have a beginning, middle and end but may have fewer characters or simpler plots.
While a novel tends to give tons of details, a short story may skip over some of the less important elements.
Short stories don’t have to be a specific length and can be as short as 500 to 1,000 words. There are different types of short stories ranging from anecdotes and flash fiction to fables and mini-sagas.
Who Can Make Money Writing Short Stories?
If you want to get paid to write short stories, you do need to have a few specific skills. First, you’ll need to be an efficient and creative writer.
You’ll need good grammar and spelling but also the ability to come up with creative ideas and characters. Another thing you’ll need is the ability to tell a full story in fewer words.
As you develop the plots and main idea, keep in mind that the resolution should come sooner rather than later. You don’t need any special degree or training to make money writing short stories.
Rather, you just need some basic writing and editing skills along with an idea that people will be interested in and want to read. As your story progresses, you’ll want to keep them hooked and eager to see how it ends.
8 Websites That Pay for Short Stories Writing
There are lots of people who sell short stories for money. If you’re looking to get started with this, you have a lot of options. Below are some websites that will pay you to write short stories from your home.
1. Your Own Blog
Blogging is a great hobby that can quickly turn into a business. If you find a topic that you’re really passionate about, you can publish blog posts or short fiction stories on your blog and monetize them.
Blog content can be monetized with display ads and affiliate links.
You can even turn your short story into a digital e-book and sell it on your blog. Your blog will serve as the platform to help people get more familiar with your writing and what they can expect from your stories.
It can also be a place to earn trust and position yourself as an expert or author specializing in a certain niche.
As blog traffic grows, consider starting an email list. This allows readers to connect with you on a more persona level and you can promote new content easily.
You can also use your email list to promote your new stories.
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Zizzle is a literary website that publishes literary fiction and short stories for an audience ranging from kids from age 12 to adults.
There are a variety of short stories available on Zizzle from voices around the world that spark interesting conversations with kids and their parents.
Short stories range from 2,000 to 4,500 words and are primarily fiction. Zizzle produces print issues and also accepts submissions of short stories from writers.
Sometimes they hold contests or request content for their regular issues. Zizzle pays a $100 fee for each accepted flash story (500 to 1,200 words) and $250 for each short story (2,000 to 4,500 words).
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3. Reader’s Digest
Reader’s Digest is a popular family magazine that gets published 10 times per year. The magazine’s fist issue dates all the way back to 1922.
Rider’s Digest accepts submissions and short stories on topics including health, food, travel, humor, home, beauty, fashion, and more.
There’s also a real-life stories section of the website where you can submit a true short story that’s around 100 words. Reader’s Digest accepts submissions and also hires staff writers to produce quality content regularly.
Rova is a magazine that publishes stories about road trips, RV life, and travel. You can submit your travel or road trip story through the website and earn $200 per article or photo essay.
There’s a short form you need to fill out to see if Rova would like to publish your story.
They’ll ask you questions like what makes you a good writer for the publication along with any past writing experience, and the topic of your story.
Still, if you travel often or have seen something amazing on your road trips, this could be a great way to publish a true short story and earn some extra cash.
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5. Introvert Dear
Introvert Dear is an online community for introverts that accepts submissions and short stories. The platform has received awards and been mentioned on Vice, BuzzFeed, Glamour, and more.
Introvert Dear gives specific guidelines for submissions and pays $75 per piece. Your content should be around 1,000 to 1,700 words and build on a clear lesson or call to action for readers.
Some common topics or prompts they want to see include ways you’ve dealt positively in your life with being an introvert and introverts who haven changed your life in some way just to name a few.
Introvert Dear receives 2 million page views per month and has nearly 1 million followers on social media so your submission will definitely get some traffic.
If you enjoy writing, you can even try to become a regular contributor.
6. The Arcanist
The Arcanist is a digital literary magazine that shares stories about sci-fi, fantasy, and horror flash fiction. Flash fiction is a shorter story that is only around 1,000 words or so.
They will likely take less time to write and you’ll want to get straight to the point while also introducing your characters and an engaging plot.
The Arcanist wants stories that are well-crafted, complete and fewer than 1,000 words. They pay $0.10 USD per word via PayPal for submissions.
Occasionally, the site closes submissions but they usually open back up again when short stories are needed.
7. The Sun Magazine
The Sun is an independent, reader-supported magazine that publishes essays, fiction, poetry, and short stories. They accept a wide variety of topics and have very general submission guidelines.
While there is no minimum word length, they do rarely accept anything over 7,000 words. Stories can be submitted online or mailed directly to The Sun for consideration.
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8. The People’s Friend
The People’s Friend is a British weekly magazine that was founded in 1869. They accept fiction stories, poetry, and other types of submissions.
Before you submit a story, they recommend you read the magazine to get a feel for the type of content they publish and the target audience.
Most short stories are 1,200, 2,000, and 3,000 words long. However, others are 4,000 words and longer more in-depth crime thriller features are 10,000 words long.
The People’s Friend pays for stories based on when the submission is accepted by the publication.
Other Ways to Get Paid to Write Short Stories
Looking for more ways to make money writing short stories? Some of the websites mentioned above can help you get paid for one-time submissions and a few provide opportunities to become a contributing writer.
If there are quite a bit of story ideas still floating in your head, check out these, additional ways to get paid to write short stories.
9. Enter Short Story Contests
If you feel the story idea you have is really going to resonate with people and leave them wanting more, consider entering a short story contest.
Many websites and magazines host short story competitions and pay a cash prize. The prize amount is often very enticing and could be several hundred dollars or even over $1,000 for the winner.
The Drue Heinz Literature Short Story Contest pays the top winner $15,000. Another story contest called the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest pays $2,000 so this are lots of opportunities to earn a lot of cash from your creative stories.
10. Ghostwrite Stories for Popular Authors
You don’t have to publish stories with just your byline as the author. Sometimes, people will pay a ghostwriter to write their short story for them.
They might provide the basic details such as character roles and the plot along with certain aspects they’d like you to include.
Then, you can create the story and do the bulk of the writing. Popular authors or even celebrities might hire ghostwriters to help them get a story published quickly.
Basic ghostwriters can earn around $2,000 to $10,000 per book so the rate can vary depending on the type of project and length.
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11. Sell Kindle E-books
Consider selling your own short stories for cash using Kindle. Amazon has been partnering with Kindle for a while now to allow self-published authors to sell their own e-books on the platform.
Kindle e-books are popular and you can leverage the entire Amazon customer base to market and sell your e-book.
If you already have an established platform such as a blog or even growing email list, you can use this to market your Kindle e-books as well.
Tips to Get Your Short Story Accepted and Paid For
The one potential downside about trying to sell a short story is that your submission may not be accepted and this means you won’t get paid.
It’s important to take your time and make sure you fully understand submission guidelines and have your story idea completely fleshed out.
This will help increase your chance of getting the submission accepted and published. Here are some additional tips for getting your story accepted by a magazine or publication.
1. Pick a Topic of Interest
Try to pick a short story topic that would align with the audience’s interest. Each publication has it’s own specific audience that it caters to. There may be specific genres already outlined on the website or magazine.
Or, perhaps there are sample topics in the submissions guideline. Pay close attention to what type of stories are generally accepted as well as who the target audience is.
Are they parents? Pet owners? Travelers? Introverts? This is important when you’re pitching a story idea for approval.
2. Pitch to The Highest Paying Sites First
Try pitching to sites that pay the most per short story first. Sometimes, writers want to start on the lower end and work their way up to more prominent publications.
However, keep in mind that it may require several pitches to get your story accepted and published. Over time, you can establish a relationship with the magazine or website and learn ways to improve your ideas and pitches.
Plus, if someone doesn’t use your story pitch and it’s fully written, you have the right to pitch it somewhere else. Why not start with the highest paying sites so if they do accept your story, you can get paid a higher rate than if you would have sent it to another site.
3. Negotiate Pay by Word
If your story is really enticing, you may be able to negotiate with the website to earn a higher rate. Some places may offer a flat fee per story.
However, you can ask for a particular rate per word. For example, if you ask for $0.15 per word and submit a 3,000 word short story, you’d earn a total of $450.
4. Pitch An Ongoing Series of Short Stories
Writing a short series of stories is great because you can get people hooked on the first story. Once that initial story is accepted, you will find it easier to publish a sequel and additional parts of the story.
Readers will get invested in each story and be waiting on the edge of their seat for the next part to be released.
You may want to submit one story to the publication first before you pitch a series. Still, this is a great way to get more ongoing paid work published in the long run.
Short Stories are In Demand
People love short stories and they are always in demand. There are plenty of ways to make money writing short stories whether it’s on your own blog, by submitting a pitch to a magazine, or self-publishing e-books.
Narrow down some interesting ideas for your short stories and start brainstorming places to pitch that will pay you well for this work.
Use this list above as a starting point. One of the best parts of selling short stories for money is that you can earn a part-time income doing something from home that you love and may not even seem like work.