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In a perfect world, it would be easy to find literary journals and magazines that pay writers for the right to publish their poems, stories, and nonfiction essays. But it rarely takes long for a new writer to realize that few literary journals are able to pay their contributors. Today, our submission strategy experts will explain the challenges of getting paid for creative writing—and offer some solutions.
Don’t All Literary Magazines Pay Their Writers For Publication?
Time to get real and talk about how much money you can make as a creative writer.
While we suspect that nearly all literary journal editors would love to pay writers for publishing rights, the hard truth is that most can’t afford it. Many reputable, highly regarded literary journals operate as non-profit organizations; they are funded by grants and staffed by volunteers. Independent literary journals often have small subscriber bases that barely cover the cost of production.
That said, it’s not impossible to submit poems or stories for money. Keep in mind, though, that literary journals typically pay their creative writers small honorariums—not the meaningful paychecks that freelance journalists receive for writing magazines articles.
If it bothers you that journalism seems to be more lucrative than creative writing, consider subscribing to a literary journal (or two…or three) and encourage your friends to do the same. By supporting lit mags, we make it easier for creative writing publications to flourish and also pay their contributors.
Research, Research, Research…Then Submit With Care
Often, listings of literary markets will make note of journals that pay their writers for publication.
Just be sure to approach your research in THIS order: First, decide if a literary journal is right for your particular piece. Then make the choice to submit based on the possibility of payment. If you make submissions to literary journals that are not a good fit simply because you hope to get paid, you run the risk of bruising your reputation for quality submissions. It’s a small world in the publishing biz.
Want To Make Some Money Submitting Poems, Stories, And Essays To Literary Magazines?
Just because you can’t find a literary journal to pay for the right to publish your submissions, that doesn’t mean you can’t find another venue. Here are eight more ways to make money on short stories, poems, and narrative nonfiction essays.
Perhaps the best way to boost your odds of making a little money on your writing is to consider entering a contest. It’s easier to win a writing contest than you might think.
Most established literary journals host annual contests, and winners are usually granted publication as well as prize money. Not sure if entering a writing contest is worth the investment? Here’s how to decide if entering a writing contest is worth it for you.
One Last Question To Ask Yourself About Finding Literary Journals That Pay
You might actually be shortchanging yourself by pursuing a paycheck. Ask yourself: Is there a benefit to getting published that extends beyond monetary payment? Chances are, the answer is yes. Getting your writing published in a literary journal helps you impress the right people with your author bio, your query letter, your website, and even your CV or résumé.
Plus, publishing in literary magazines opens unexpected doors: Some of our clients here at Writer’s Relief have been offered literary agent representation, have won contests they didn’t formally enter, have been selected to appear at prestigious literary salons, and have made connections with other editors—all because their work was published in a literary journal. Maybe they didn’t get paid up front for their submissions—but the ultimate benefit was much bigger than ever expected!
QUESTION: Have you ever been paid for publishing in a literary journal? Please share your experience!