This blog post started as an email to my eldest daughter, but I thought some of ye might find a little practical guidance useful. So, here ya go.
You should be reading short stories, and see if you can get a look at what they've published previously to give you an idea of what they are paying for. It can be intimidating to begin with, but you'll soon get the hang of writing and submitting stories targeted to the particular publication.
Without writers, there is no magazine. They need us.
It's not a quick fix solution though. Most pay on publication (when the story appears in either the digital or print edition, and it's not HUGE money.
But you're getting paid for stuff that comes out of your brain. Like making money by magic... which is kinda cool.
So, here's some paying fiction markets that you can look at to get the ball rolling.
Covers: Monthly e-zine publishing dark speculative fiction.
Editor's Note: "We want science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three of the dark, weird stuff down at the bottom of your little literary heart." Monthly e-zine publishing dark speculative fiction.
Send complete ms (full story).
Length: 100-7,500 words. Pays 6¢/word.
We have no hard-and-fast editorial guidelines, because science fiction is such a broad field that I don't want to inhibit a new writer's thinking by imposing Thou Shalt Nots. Besides, a really good story can make an editor swallow his preconceived taboos.
Basically, we publish science fiction stories. That is, stories in which some aspect of future science or technology is so integral to the plot that, if that aspect were removed, the story would collapse. Try to picture Mary Shelley's Frankenstein without the science and you'll see what I mean. No story!
The science can be physical, sociological, psychological. The technology can be anything from electronic engineering to biogenetic engineering. But the stories must be strong and realistic, with believable people (who needn't be human) doing believable things–no matter how fantastic the background might be.
Preferred Length 2,000 - 7,000 words
Analog pays 8-10 cents per word for short stories up to 7,500 words
Payment is 7-12 cents per word on acceptance (this is good as you'd get paid quicker than having to wait for publication!).
We pay writers generously for accepted stories and publish them in a highly regarded physical publication where great fiction enjoys a physical existence that will persist.
Payment for accepted pieces is $700.
Stories not to exceed 12,000 words.(No minimum, though it's rare for a piece under 500 words to read as a full story.) Held three times a year: Open to submissions in JANUARY, MAY, SEPTEMBER. Next deadline: September 30th.