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Flash Fiction 1It doesn’t matter what you call it — flash fiction, sudden fiction, micro fiction, short-short — stories under 1000 words offer a quick zing of literary delight.

But have you ever wondered whether anyone actually read your flash fiction piece you published online? This list gives you a good idea of how many eyeballs it reached by ranking the markets.

I used the analytical program SimilarWeb to estimate the number of monthly visitors each literary journal receives [UPDATED SUMMER 2016], and then I averaged the last three months together.

Does this tell you which is the best magazine? Nope. Does it tell you whether the fiction the journal has published is any good? Nope. Does it tell you whether they have good graphic design, or excellent editorial skills, or whether the magazine will endure? Nope, nope, nope.

This is for curiosity’s sake. Don’t use the list in the wrong way, by pretending this is a judgment on quality.

Also, remember that some of these journals provide other material — longer fiction pieces, nonfiction, interviews — and that some percentage of the visitors might be looking at that rather than the flash fiction. Still, I think this gives you a ballpark of flash fiction and micro fiction readers based on number of visitors.

(if you’re looking for Flash Fiction Competitions, check out my list of the top 17 Flash Fiction contests)

Copy of Short Story

If you want help with your flash fiction, I offer an editing package for 3 stories at a time.

From copy-editing to character advice, I give detailed feedback on what’s working and what needs to be improved.

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I created this ranking because when I was looking for flash fiction markets (on various websites and on Duotrope), I encountered a huge load of subpar journals. You know the type — jenky formatting, lousy design, old “new” issues, few back issues, etc. I didn’t want to submit to any of them. Or read them, for that matter.

Which made me wonder: in the same way I ranked regular literary journals by using the Best American Short Stories, maybe I could also use a different system to rank some of the best places for Flash Fiction. And so was born the idea of measuring website traffic.

The magazines below are largely literary, but after this list I offer a few bonus ones which should satisfy writers looking for some alternative genres.

Also, many of the literary magazines below publish micro fiction as well as flash fiction. The difference between the two? Micro fiction tends to run under 300 words, while flash fiction is under 1000 words. So micro fiction is even flashier than flash fiction.

I hope you enjoy this list and enjoy reading and submitting to all these journals!

1. 3 AM Magazine – 85,000 visitors monthly

I’d known about 3 AM Magazine since 2009, but I never knew they got so much traffic. Apparently, they’re more than just a cult fascination. In addition to creative work like fiction and poetry, they offer a blog, reviews, interviews, and essays. They’re looking for experimental fiction under 2,500 words.

2. Flash Fiction Online – 35,000 visitors monthly

Flash fiction online has a cool lightening logo and they’ve published an annual anthology for the last three years with dubious graphic design but great content. They’re open to reprint submissions, and what’s more, they’re one of the few to offer pro payment for stories (.06 cents a word). Many of the staff like speculative and sci-fi, and the journal has that focus, but their tastes extend beyond that genre.

3. Word Riot – 25,000 visitors monthly

Word Riot releases a monthly issue with flash fiction and flash nonfiction. They’ve got a great pedigree, having set up shop in 2002, which makes them practically ancient because literary journal years are like dog years. They are looking for pieces under 1000 words.

4. Everyday Fiction – 22,000 visitors monthly

Everyday Fiction is a popular home for flash fiction, with stories of mass appeal published often. What’s most helpful is a list of categories in their sidebar, where you can target the type of stories you prefer to read: humor, horror, sci-fi, literary. They pay a token amount ($3 a story).

5. Brevity – 20,000 visitors monthly

Originally connected with the journal Creative Nonfiction, Brevity has captured the niche of flash nonfiction on the web. Look over the published authors in their bullpen — they have quite a few heavy-hitter names. They’re looking for pieces under 750 words, and they pay $45 for each one.

6. Pank – 16,000 visitors monthly

Founded by the inestimable Roxane Gay, Pank draws in huge crowds. They don’t only publish flash fiction, and there is no maximum amount of words on their website, but their pieces tend to be shorter. Pank also has a publishing arm — Tiny Hardcore Press — and is on my list of Best Online Literary Journals.

7. 100 Word Story – 14,000 visitors monthly

100 words is truly micro fiction. They post photo prompts and publish one winner every month, and also have book reviews, interviews and essays.

8. Smokelong Quarterly – 14,000 visitors monthly

Smokelong Quarterly is more important than these numbers would suggest. Smokelong and NANO fiction were the flash-fiction journals I knew best before I compiled this list. In fact, Smokelong was in competition as the standard name for flash fiction — fiction you can read during the length of a cigarette. It was founded in 2003, and has developed a solid reputation as a premier publisher of flash fiction. They publish fiction under 1000 words.

9. Hobart – 13,000 visitors monthly

Hobart publishes flash fiction and flash nonfiction on a very regular basis — almost every day. They ask for pieces under 2,000 words, although they say that under 1,000 is even better. Hobart has a great reputation, and if you read just a few pieces you get a great sense of their swagger and heart.

10. Drunken Boat – 12,000 visitors monthly

Drunken Boat is looking for pieces that use the “medium of the web as part of its compositional strategy.” Meaning, they like video, sound, animation, and hypertext integrated with language. Ambitious, but they have some amazing work.

11. Flash Fiction Magazine – 11,000 visitors monthly

They really do deliver on their promise to publish a flash fiction piece daily. It’s a great place to get your reading fix. In exchange for signing up for their email list, they send you a free ebook of a whole bunch of flash fiction. No erotica or children’s stories, and if you get published there, you have to wait 2 months to submit again.

12. The Collagist – 10,000 visitors monthly

Matt Bell was the editor here for a number of years, but he’s moved on and now Matthew Olzmann and Gabriel Blackwell edit. It’s a monthly journal published since 2009, originally started as a project of Dzanc books. It’s got great excerpts of forthcoming novels, as well as novellas and flash fiction.

13. Lunch Ticket – 8,000 visitors monthly

Lunch Ticket is published by Antioch University’s MFA program. There’s no stated limit to flash fiction, but normal fiction submissions run under 5,000 words. In addition to flash fiction, they’re looking for translations, YA fiction, and visual art.

14. NANO Fiction – 7,000 visitors monthly

NANO Fiction is another one of those journals you have to know if you travel in flash fiction circles. They publish so many amazing short shorts it’s hard to keep up. They also sponsor the $1000 NANO Prize for fiction under 300 words, pay $20 per accepted piece, and this is their stated aesthetic: “We are looking for work that experiments with form while still balancing narrative.”

15. Fiction Southeast – 4,000 visitors monthly

Not to be confused with Southeast Review, Fiction Southeast has a number of marquee writers like Joyce Carol Oates and Donald Ray Pollock. They are looking for fiction under 1500 words, and also sponsor the Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize.

16. Literary Orphans – 4,000 visitors monthly

Literary Orphans likes to pair photography with writing, or as they say it, building a “collaborative writing and arts platform.” They say 1500 words is their sweet spot and 2000 is their upper limit. They are also launching The Rookery, which is an archive for digital journals in danger of e-death.

17. Monkeybicycle – 4,000 visitors monthly

Monkeybicycle publishes a lot of short-shorts under 2000 words, but they also publish one-sentence stories every Wednesday. They also have a nice backlog of podcasts and columns that are interesting to peruse, in addition to their fiction, nonfiction and interviews.

18. Wigleaf – 4,000 visitors monthly

Wigleaf sponsors the Top 50 Very Short Fictions, which is a lovely place to read fantastic short-shorts and to discover new journals. They are looking for stories under 1000 words and post weekly. They also regularly appear in storySouth’s Million Writers Awards.

19. Vestal Review – 2,000 visitors monthly

Vestal Review brags they’re the longest-running flash magazine in the world. I won’t dare to contest that (they recently celebrate their 15th anniversary) although I’ve noted suspicious claims from literary journals before about age. They hold a Flash Fiction award for the best story under 500 words published anywhere, and the winner receives $100 and re-publication.

20. DecomP – less than 1,000 visitors monthly

DecomP wins a fair amount of awards, including a bunch in the Queen’s Ferry Press “The Best Small Fictions of 2015.” They don’t have a word limit for flash fiction, but regular fiction is limited to 4,000, so it’s probably far below that. They also have a massive database of archived work dating back to 2004.

21. Juked – less than 1,000 visitors monthly

Juke publishes a few short-shorts every couple of weeks, and they’re looking for fiction under 2,500 words. They not only publish online but have print issues, too.

22. Cheap Pop – less than 1,000 visitors monthly

Cheap Pop is new but they got verve. They have a micro-fiction contest under 500 words in any genre, and publish anywhere from four to eight pieces a month.

23. Nanoism – less than 1,000 visitors monthly

I couldn’t find visitor information on Nanoism, but I’m listing it still because I think the idea of Twitter-fiction is great. That’s right — a 140 character limit. They’ve been publishing stories since 2009.

24. New Flash Fiction Review – less than 1,000 visitors monthly

This is a newish flash fiction journal, started in 2014. They have contests, offer mentoring, and publish regular issues.

If you’re looking for a great collection of flash fiction, check out THE BEST SMALL FICTIONS by Queen’s Ferry Press, and edited by Robert Olen Butler with series editor Tara L. Masih:

The Best Small Fictions
The Best Small Fictions

A Few Bonus Flash Fiction journals:

If you like “dark” fiction (think Twilight Zone), check out Lamplight, which gets about 4,000 visitors monthly.

Doesn’t get enough traffic to register in the rankings, but check out FRiGG Magazine, which publishes two issues annually, and accepts stories under 1000 words.

Superstition Review is published by Arizona State University students, has been since 2008, and solicits flash fiction.

For pieces under 150 words, check out the monthly literary magazine Hoot, featuring postcard-sized writings.

Willow Springs is looking for short-shorts under 750 words, and pays $40.

 

More great posts from Bookfox:

Beautiful-Sentences-2Best Sex Scenes in BooksBest Flash Fiction Contests

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20 Comments

  • Nate Tower / July 29, 2015 at 11:37 am Reply

    Thanks for doing the legwork here, but there is one important flaw with your methodology. SimilarWeb gives an estimate of visits, not visitors. The number of visitors is likely much lower, and the intent of those visitors is also hugely important. What percentage are readers versus submitters? Obviously there is no tool that can tell us that other than the venue itself.

    • bookfox / July 31, 2015 at 2:16 am Reply

      Very true. Unique visitors is different than page counts. But I found that Similar Web was pretty close to my hits here at Bookfox, so I thought the numbers might still be useful for comparison purposes.

  • Daniel Schoonmaker / July 29, 2015 at 1:45 pm Reply

    I’m curious what you think of Everyday Fiction. I don’t know anything about their traffic, but it puts out a lot of flash fiction every year.

  • Joy Manné / July 29, 2015 at 3:37 pm Reply

    thank you for this. I hardly need to say that it is useful. It is also inspiring. Some kind inspiring person has done the work and all I need to do is submit.

    • bookfox / July 31, 2015 at 2:16 am Reply

      Happy submitting! And thank you for the kind words.

  • Gay Degani / July 29, 2015 at 4:29 pm Reply

    Just want to add Every Day Fiction to this list. I think it’s numbers may be larger than most of these.

  • J.C. Towler / July 29, 2015 at 6:31 pm Reply

    I’m curious how Every Day Fiction (www.everydayfiction.com) didn’t make this list. According to your Similarweb analytic tool they run 20,000 to 10,000 page visits per month (and those numbers don’t reflect the number of views from mobile devices according to Similarweb).
    Unlike many of the publications you list which either stretch the definition of “flash” to upwards of 5000 words or publish both flash and non-flash stories, EDF is a flash-fiction only business with a hard word count ceiling of 1000 words. They’ve been in business since 2007, so it’s not like they’re a new kid on the block and they post a new story every single day, so there is always fresh content.

  • bookfox / July 31, 2015 at 2:15 am Reply

    Thanks to everyone for pointing out Every Day Fiction. That was obviously one I missed. I would estimate their traffic at 15K a month, which would place them in a tie with Drunken Boat and Brevity.

  • Glen Harvie / August 3, 2015 at 9:12 pm Reply

    Good list, but I’d probably also have One Throne on it, who just ran the Joust contest. Other considerations would be how often a mag publishes a new issue, and how many stories they publish in an issue. A mag that publishes new 20 stories per month may have greater overall traffic than a mag that publishes 10 stories per quarter — but the traffic *per story* might actually be far greater in the latter than the former.

  • Sabrina West / August 10, 2015 at 4:37 am Reply

    What a great list, and thank you so much for including Flash Fiction Online! I’m on the editorial staff, and I wanted to note that not only do we publish genre stories (fantasy, sci-fi, horror), but we also feature literary and mainstream stories. We are primarily known as a genre market though, so we’re always looking for more great literary submissions.

  • Nina / August 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm Reply

    Great list! I agree that the site’s hits and also the way the operate on social media are helpful deciding factors.

  • Arielle Silver / October 9, 2015 at 4:25 pm Reply

    We’ve gotten quite a few submissions in flash from authors who say they found us through you. Thank you! Lunch Ticket’s readership has widened now: 2015’s monthly average is over 12,000, up from 10,000 in 2014. Our flash submissions are open from Aug 1-Oct 31 and Feb 1 – Apr 30. We love flash in both Fiction and CNF. Writers, send us your best work. Thank you!

  • Stephanie Grossman / December 2, 2015 at 5:51 am Reply

    So very helpful! Thank you for putting this list together! (By the way, Statshow.com is a pretty reliable and free traffic measuring website).

  • Hammy Havoc / June 8, 2016 at 2:18 pm Reply

    You can happily add Previous Magazine to the list, we’re very happy to publish submitted works provided that they’re exclusive; duplicate content gives an SEO penalty to everybody concerned.

    We get more traffic than any of the aforementioned publications do (https://www.previousmagazine.com/advertise), but with that said, we don’t just publish microfiction, and that’s what gives us extensive audience.

  • Stephen R. Smith / August 8, 2016 at 4:29 pm Reply

    This is a great list, it’s a shame we’re not on it. http://365tomorrows.com publishes a piece of SciFi flash fiction daily and has been online since August 1st, 2005. It’s getting 69,000 visits a month according to similarweb. We don’t publish anything in print, but we do accept submissions, and we publish daily.

  • alan g / September 26, 2016 at 6:52 am Reply

    Flash fiction presumably is a legitimate fictional form. However, I think the impulse behind those who read them is something like this: “I don’t really like reading short stories, but if I feel compelled to, I might as well find a way to get it over with.

  • Sydney Sokolva / December 4, 2016 at 2:26 am Reply

    Thank you for the very helpful post! I submitted a fantasy flash fiction piece to “Flash Fiction Magazine.” I discovered a lot of great magazines through your list, it was very useful.

  • Stephen / February 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm Reply

    The John Fox: thanks for this list. It helps.

    • Bookfox (Author) / February 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm Reply

      You got it!

  • Shymala Dason / March 7, 2017 at 8:33 pm Reply

    Thank you so much! This is, as always, a great resource. And thanks also to the folks in the comments thread who pointed out omissions.

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