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How to Make Money Writing Short Stories

4 minute read

Only novel writers become rich. Do you believe that? Indeed, this statement is not true. Today we share 7 ways how to make money writing short stories. Let’s check them out.

1. Write on Medium

Medium is a platform that allows anyone to share their thoughts and stories, including artistic ones. In addition, the site offers the Partner Program, which provides a monetary reward for content. You must meet specific requirements to join this program.

How do I get started getting paid for stories published on Medium?

  • Sign up and get a membership. Subscription costs only $5/month or $50/year.
  • Be an active community member: post content, comment on others’ stories, and participate in challenges. You need to get a minimum of 100 followers at the beginning.
  • Apply for participation in the Partner Program and wait for its acceptance.
  • Publish stories with the meter my story box checked.
  • Make money for the time readers spend reading your stories.

You can earn between $4.32 and $8.19 per 1,000 views on your stories. Keep publishing regularly and make more money.

How to start making money on Medium

2. Reedsy Prompts 

Reedsy Prompts is an ongoing weekly writing contest in which anyone can participate. Every week the organizers publish details of new prompts. They are different so that everyone can find something to their taste.

After choosing a prompt, you must write a story and submit it by the deadline. And then wait for the results.

The winner usually gets $250.

However, this contest is not only about money but also about the constant development of your writing skills.

3. Participate in short story competitions

Another option is a literary contest. Often such competitions involve a monetary award and the publication in a collection of short stories. You can find a list of contests in literary online magazines or blogs dedicated to writing and self-publishing.

Here is a list of contests in which you still have time to participate:

Deadline – March 01, 2023 

Prize – $3,000

Fee – $10

Deadline – March 31, 2023

Prize – $2000 

Fee – $20

Deadline – May 14, 2023

Prize – €200 

Fee – $2

Deadline – June 04, 2023 

Prize – €500

Fee – $11

Deadline – August 31, 2023

Prize – £2,500 

Fee – £18.

4. Publish a short story book on Amazon

If you do not want to depend on anyone and wait for the results of contests, it makes sense to publish your short story on Amazon. In addition, it is free. You can also create a book cover using online tools, saving money.

You can publish both a single short story, supplementing it with illustrations, or a collection with several works.

Average prices for short story books on Amazon range from $0,99 to $2,99 per copy.

5. Write stories for magazines

Magazines that publish short pieces and essays and pay royalties still exist and are looking for talent. Profit depends on the selected magazine.

Here is the list of magazines:

  • The New Yorker. Don’t you dream of seeing your short story in this publication? You should try, although the selection is quite difficult. Full-time writers earn $55,000 per year and more.
  • The Sun Magazine is another well-known magazine that pays $2,000 for published short stories.
  • Virginia Quarterly accepts short fiction stories with lengths from 2,500 to 8,000 words and offers $1,000 and above.  
  • The Threepenny Review is ready to pay up to $400 for a published story.
  • The Arcanist publishes science fiction stories and pays $10 for 100 words.  

6. Ghostwrite short stories

Ghostwriting is writing stories for another writer without retaining copyright. This option has its pros and cons. In particular, you will make a profit without worrying about the future of the book. However, no one will know who the real author of the work is if it becomes wildly successful.

You can find jobs for ghostwriters on freelance platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr

The average ghost writer’s salary in the US accounts for $40,210 as of January 26, 2023.

Ghostwriter's salary

7. Sell your story to indie moviemakers

Indie moviemakers are always looking for ideas for new films. Why not offer them your short story? It can become the basis for an amateur film, a short film, or a pilot series.

You can find indie moviemakers in thematic communities. Profit depends on each specific deal.


We hope that you’ve already decided which of your short stories to submit to a literary contest or publish on Amazon by the time you’ve finished reading this blog post. Maybe you’ll see your name written in a famous magazine or become a top author on Medium.

Do you have experience making money with short stories? Tell us in the comments.

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Vasylysa In her spare time, Vasylysa likes reading books, writing fiction, gardening, and walking. She hopes to publish her own book and become a famous author one day.
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