When it comes to publishing short stories, submitting to literary journals and magazines can be both a frustrating and rewarding part of the process for any writer. The publishing world has expanded to include submissions from writers of all ages. However, it can take just as long researching the aesthetic of a journal as it can to write your story. If you make sure the publication that you’re submitting to fits your writing style, you’re more likely to be accepted. Below is a list of both youth-oriented magazines and longstanding literary journals that specialize in fantasy and sci-fi fiction
Difference between literary and genre
Literary journals – surprise, surprise – typically accept literary fiction, not genre fiction. So, what’s the difference?
Literary fiction emphasizes a command of language, character-driven stories instead of plot-centered ones, and for many journals, there is an emphasis on experimentation. Take a look, for instance, at the submission guidelines for the international literary journal Mid-American Review: “Mid-American Review considers work that is character and/or language-oriented without sacrificing narrative. We are open to submissions from new and established authors, both traditional and experimental work, including short-shorts, but discourage genre fiction.”
Reading and studying fantasy and sci-fi stories is not common in the classroom unless you’re taking a course specifically looking at these genres. In general, “literary fiction” became associated with “academic fiction” in the 70s and 80s as literary studies focused on esoteric prose aimed at the intellectually elite.
Magazines and Journals
Any magazine that accepts speculative short stories accepts the genres of fantasy, horror, and science-fiction.
If you have a fantasy or sci-fi manuscript ready to query, it’s a good idea to read books by other authors in your genre and see if you can find the name of the agent who represented them. Most of the time, authors thank their agents, editors, and publishers in the acknowledgement section of a book. You can also keep up with book deals and agent announcements on Publishers Weekly. Finally, check out this 2021 list of agents that are currently accepting science fiction and fantasy queries.
Submitting your short stories can be a long and tedious process. It’s been made even harder by the decline in genre fiction among literary journals. Remember that the resilient writer is one who never stops writing, revising, and looking for opportunities to share the work that they’re proud of. Show your readers your fantastical stories, and let them get lost in your imaginative worlds.
is an avid reader and passionate writer from Colorado. She studied creative writing and journalism at the University of Denver and graduated in 2021. She has worked with the Denver Quarterly literary journal, written for the DU Clarion, and currently works with Spring Cedars Publishing.