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 ten years (2007 – 2017) 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.
There were twelve newcomers added to this year’s list, all of them at the bottom of the page. Some of the journals were new, and some have been around quite a well and only now are being recognized by BASS.
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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.
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.
Best Literary Magazines Rankings:
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