The two most common variants of fiction magazines are print magazines and online magazines. Within those two categories, the fiction magazines may be broken down by genre, location, audience, or even the writers featured within the magazine. The stories may be thematically similar, or they may be a collection of stories about a particular region of the world. Magazines seem to exist for just about every genre or topic, and a writer seeking to place his or her work may do so by determining what his or her story is primarily about and finding a magazine that focuses on that genre or theme.
Some fiction magazines will pay writers for their work, while others may only pay in copies of the magazine itself. Others may simply allow a byline, and consider that enough. In the past, a writer could make a modest living publishing stories in fiction magazines, which deal exclusively with stories that are made up rather than true stories. Most magazines preferred writers keep their stories to fewer than 8,000 words, which would allow the magazine to run several stories in one issue.
The advent of the Internet changed the publishing world, and many fiction magazines are only available online. Some still produce print magazines as well, though producing digital content is cheaper for the publisher and easier to access for consumers. Pay for writers has generally declined, fairly drastically in many cases, to the point that making a living off of publishing in fiction magazines is extremely difficult for writers, and in many cases impossible.
Some fiction magazines focus exclusively on a particular genre. Horror magazines were exceptionally popular throughout the 20th century, as were science fiction magazines. Magazines that feature literary fiction were often read by more scholarly readers, which is not to say that genre writing was any less skillfully crafted. The audiences did tend to differ by genre or theme, however, and many magazines produced issues entirely devoted to one theme. An issue might, for example, focus entirely on family fiction, vampire stories, or stories about food.
In the past, it was not uncommon to find magazines that printed fiction as only part of the overall magazine. A specific section of the magazine would be devoted to fictional stories, and writers would often covet these slots because the writer was given more of a distinct spotlight for his or her writing.