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22 Literary Journals That Pay To Publish Poems–And Why Others Don’t | Writer’s Relief

French author Jules Renard famously said: Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. While this may be true, it’s certainly nice when you do make a little money from your poetry! Writer’s Relief knows that most literary journals are run by underpaid (or not-paid-at-all) editors who understand your struggle and would love to pay contributing writers, but it’s not always in the budget. We’ll explain why literary magazines so often can’t offer you money—and then give you the scoop on some journals that DO pay!

The Reasons Why Many Literary Journals Don’t Pay Poets

Running a journal is typically a labor of love—not money. Most literary journals are staffed by volunteers. And the many reputable, established journals run out of universities have tiny budgets.

The journal wants to keep submissions free. One of the ways literary magazines find the cash to pay writers is to charge an admin fee for submissions. The fees are usually very small, but many writers don’t want to—or aren’t able to—pay them.

Maintaining and publishing a literary journal is expensive. Online submission services like Submittable can be very helpful, but also costly. Literary journals also have to take into consideration the costs of hosting a website, not to mention the costs of publication if they offer print issues.

Editors try to keep the journal affordable for readers. Journals could pay poets if they charged more for their content. But having free or low-cost literary magazines is so crucial to the community, journals don’t often jump at this option. 

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Literary Journals That Will Pay For Poetry

Some literary magazines are able to pay writers for poetry—anywhere from a small honorarium to a nice chunk of change:



Carve Magazine


Colorado Review

Driftwood Press


The Gettysburg Review

Iowa Review

The Missouri Review

Nashville Review

Pedestal Magazine


The Puritan


Slice Magazine

The Southern Review


Sycamore Review

The Threepenny Review

West Branch

Willow Springs

Submitting Your Poetry To Journals Is Beneficial, Pay Or No Pay

Whether you’re paid for your poetry or not, getting published by a literary magazine can help you connect with other writers and puts your work in front of editors and readers. You might even be nominated for an award that will ultimately mean much more to your writing career than a couple of dollars!


QUESTION: Do you submit your work only to paying publications? Why or why not?

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