As I've mentioned, there are several magazines that publish short fiction. Refer to the Writing Resources section (page 159) for specific titles. Note that literary journals are often published by university presses and have a much smaller circulation and budget than slick magazines. If you write within a specific genre, you should seek out magazines and journals that specialize in your genre. There are large commercial magazines such as The Atlantic and Playboy that publish fiction. The Sun is an internationally circulated magazine that highlights creative nonfiction, as well as short stories. Be aware that most large magazines rarely publish unknown writers, but if your confidence is strong, why not aim for the big magazines?
If you want to test your feet in calmer waters, literary magazines are a good option. Often, the writing published in literary journals outshines writing in other forums. Regrettably, there is little money involved. If your story or essay is accepted, you may receive monetary payment, but most often, lit mags pay in copies of the magazine.
Once again, the first step is to familiarize yourself with literary journals. University libraries are excellent resources because they keep many literary magazines in the stacks. Public libraries and bookstores also carry more well-known publications. You also may find journals on-line.
Another way to research magazines is to consult a guide such as The Writer's Market. There are several Writer's Market guides for various genres that are published yearly. You can search markets for magazines that pay, science fiction and other genres, and for literary magazines. The guide provides a brief synopsis of the magazine and its editorial slant. For literary magazines, the information changes more often than yearly, so your best bet is to consult the magazine itself before you submit.
Many literary magazines have a particular editorial interest and look for stories or essays that fit that interest. Some publish theme issues and look for pieces that adhere to the next issue's theme. These are aspects of the magazine that you want to be aware of before you submit your work to the magazine. Read these journals; pay attention to the work they publish.
Was this article helpful?