Writing Coach

This list ranks literary magazines by how often their short stories have appeared in the Best American Short Stories

In some ways it’s ridiculous to rank literary magazines by the number of awards they’ve received, but it still can be useful for writers to figure out where to submit. (If you’re looking for nonfiction or essay rankings, go to my Ranking of Literary Nonfiction Markets). 

The list below arranges literary journals in order of how many times they’ve had a short story or special mention in the last nine years (2007 – 2015) in the Best American Short Stories (BASS). I award a certain number of points for the winners and a lesser number of points for every special mention. Every October I’ll update the page to reflect the new year.

This year, edited by T.C. Boyle, offered a wide array of literary journals. Few journals in the top thirty made a significant move; the biggest additions came in the number of literary magazines making their first appearance with a single special mention.

If you notice a few literary magazines who received a special mention a few years back and aren’t on the list, that’s because I’ve only recently started adding literary magazines with only a single point.

On statistics: statistics is a epistemic methodology prized by our modernistic, science-obsessed world as the primary way to Know Things. The cold hard facts trumps subjective knowledge, right? But I would argue that statistics gives us only a very limited view of the world, and one which necessarily skews “proper” knowledge.


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Let me be less philosophical and more practical: Please don’t overestimate the important of the list below. The list below does not tell you whether a literary journal is good or not, it only tells you whether the Best American Short Story editors happened to like the flavor of stories in a literary journal. That, necessarily, is entirely subjective, and I encourage you to discover for yourself the type of fiction each literary magazine publishes, as well as explore the many excellent literary journals that don’t appear on this list.

I dislike some “high” level literary journals and really love “low” level literary journals. So while my tastes are not necessarily reflected by the list below, that’s good, because it will force you all, my lovely, devoted readers, to form your own judgments.

For those of you already deep in the literary magazine world, I hope that this Best American Short Story list is one aid among many to help you figure out where to submit and subscribe.

I have a few other lists that might also be helpful to writers:

Beautiful-Sentences-2 Best Sex Scenes in Books Best-Flash-Fiction-Contests-212x300 Naming Your Cool Characters

Best Literary Magazines Rankings:

1.  The New Yorker 212
2.  Tin House 102
3.  Ploughshares 63
4.  Granta 48
5.  Glimmer Train 45
6.  McSweeney’s Quarterly 41
7.  Atlantic Monthly 39
Paris Review  39
8.  Harper’s Magazine   38
New England Review 38
9. Zoetrope All-Story  30
The Southern Review   30
10. American Short Fiction  27
One Story   27
11.  The Kenyon Review   22
12.  Virginia Quarterly Review   20
13.  AGNI   19
Narrative Magazine  19
Antioch Review  19
Conjunctions   19
14.  Yale Review   17
15.  The Iowa Review   16
16.  Subtropics  15
Ecotone   15
17. A Public Space   14
Five Points   14
The Missouri Review   14
18.   Georgia Review   13
19. Prairie Schooner  12
Epoch  12
Alaska Quarterly Review  12
Zyzzyva  12
20. Michigan Quarterly Review  11
21. Santa Monica Review   10
The Cincinnati Review   10
Harvard Review  10
West Branch 10
22. Idaho Review   9
23. Boulevard   8
Oxford American  8
The Gettysburg Review   8
StoryQuarterly  8
24. Crazyhorse   7
Black Warrior Review   7
25. Fifth Wednesday Journal  6
Mississippi Review   6
The Sewanee Review   6
Shenandoah   6
The Sun  6
Colorado Review  6
Hobart  6
Threepenny Review   6
The Normal School  6
Image  6
New Ohio Review 6
26. Fiction 5
TriQuarterly  5
Witness  5
Esquire  5
Byliner  5
27.  Commentary  4
Joyland Magazine 4
Orion 4
Daily Lit 4
Callaloo  4
Gulf Coast  4
Southwest Review 4
28. American Scholar 3
Meridian 3
Bellevue Literary Review  3
Commonweal  3
Massachusetts Review  3
The Common 3
Nimrod 3
29. Ninth Letter 2
Crab Orchard Review  2
New Letters  2
Confrontation  2
Tampa Review   2
N+1 2
30. Hayden’s Ferry Review  1
The Literarian  1
Greensboro Review  1
Carolina Quarterly  1
Coffin Factory  1
Little Star  1
Red Rock Review  1
Cutbank  1
Denver Quarterly  1
Alligator Juniper  1
Salamander  1
Unstuck  1
Able Muse  1
Pembroke Magazine 1
The Pinch 1
Event  1
Southampton Review  1
Cimarron Review  1
Sou’wester  1
Consequence  1
December  1
Isthmus  1
Blackbird  1
Hudson Review  1
New South  1
Sonora Review  1
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet  1
Western Humanities Review  1


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  • elizabeth winder noyes / January 22, 2013 at 6:07 am Reply

    Diving into the deep end of the pool after making handmade books for my own poems and artwork for years.

    Thanks for your work on this.

  • http://tinyurl.com/fredmode27750 / January 23, 2013 at 6:23 am Reply

    How did you end up getting the points to compose ““Ranking of Literary Journals | BookFox”?
    Thanks a lot ,Federico

  • Astounded / August 29, 2013 at 12:43 pm Reply
  • Jeff Limely / November 18, 2013 at 7:52 am Reply

    I like the Critical Pass Review poetry and fiction content at http://www.criticalpassreview.com.

  • Ben / January 26, 2014 at 11:29 pm Reply

    Great list. Downside? Always hard for new journals, like http://recommendedreading.tumblr.com, or budding guppies, like http://www.sequestrum.org, to be listed. A great list of the big-boys, however. Thanks

  • Leopold McGinnis / July 2, 2015 at 4:38 pm Reply

    This is an interesting list – must have taken some time to put together! The challenge is, I bet most of these journals get so many submissions the chances of submittors even getting a fair read could be daunting. In my mind I see the need for a few different lists (almost like spa packages, haha!): best places to submit if you want to be read (eg, ranked by readership, rather than awards), best places if you’re new to the game (highest ranked + highest publication ratio), etc. I could see that being very valuable to writers.

  • Kim Farleigh / September 22, 2015 at 6:06 pm Reply

    Be careful: Southwest Review takes your money but doesn’t let you submit.

  • Steven / October 29, 2015 at 10:39 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for compiling this list. What do you mean when you say, “One Story, Narrative, and American Short Fiction were all shut out.” ?

    • Bookfox / November 17, 2015 at 3:57 am Reply

      It means one of their stories did not receive a special mention or appear in the BASS collection.

  • Marion de Booy Wentzien / November 3, 2015 at 6:04 am Reply

    This is just great. Thanks for putting it together.

  • Lisa D. Stewart / November 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm Reply

    I cannot tell what date the article above was posted. Please advise.

    • Bookfox / November 17, 2015 at 3:55 am Reply

      It is updated every year to reflect the newest edition of Best American Short Stories.

  • Christopher / June 22, 2016 at 9:54 am Reply

    Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any suggestions for newbie blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

    • Bookfox / June 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm Reply

      I’m going to create a post in the next few months that will teach writers how to blog! Look forward to it.

  • Bobby / August 10, 2016 at 2:38 am Reply

    Can anyone give me advice on the journal Red Rock Review? Is it a solid respectful journal? Or just a decent low
    caliber one at best. I’m a poet and I’m just curious. Comments appreciated. Thank you.

  • Sally Anderson / September 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm Reply

    The NY Literary Magazine is a good one too. It’s free to submit poetry and short story submissions to them. They publish print and digital Anthologies and run monthly free to enter poetry contests as well.

  • Bob Loblaw / September 21, 2016 at 9:56 pm Reply

    1. Thank you for compiling this, it is far and away the most useful collection of such publications to rank in the top two of my Google search tonight. The pseudoscientific methodology gave merit to a subject that is so often drowned in the over-personalized ways that such subjective matters are measured.

    2. It’s going to sound like I’m more serious/concerned than I am with this comment, but I think it’s fair to mention that this measurement is not entirely statistical, and so I think it is fair that the (admittedly fair) statement on the importance of statistical measurements is out of place here. Because the formula is based on a point-system that is original (and not inherent to the database), it is not a truly statistical measurement.

    3. I cannot emphasize enough how aware I am of the pointlessness and general “who cares”ness of this comment.

    4. This is anonymous, so point #3 is largely irrelevant.

    5. Fish.

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