Navigating the Genre: A Beginner’s Atlas

Last updated on January 19, 2021: Added IAFA Imagining Indigenous Futurisms award. Removed note for Fireside Fiction, which has now made staffing changes.

The genre industry can be difficult to get started in, especially for people who are marginalized in some way. In Navigating the Genre, I hope to provide resources and tips for beginning professionals and those hoping to break into the industry. Feel free to contact me or comment with topic suggestions!

This post is a very high-level atlas of genre. I hope it can serve as a starting point to finding places that are welcoming of your work and that align with your values. I haven’t personally vetted every institution, nor would I be able to, but I would be happy to add any caveats or additional notes. Additionally, I’ve focused on anglophone genre, as I have less experience navigating genre in other languages.

Table of Contents

  1. Professional Associations
  2. Resources
  3. General Reporting
  4. Grievances and Concerns
  5. Demographic-specific programs, awards, and grants
  6. Demographic-specific genre publications
    1. Accepts submissions not in English
    2. Region-specific
    3. Race, ethnicity, and/or diaspora-specific
    4. Gender-specific and sexuality-specific
    5. Disability
    6. Intersections

Professional Associations

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America
Despite its name, SFWA is open to people from around the world. Primary organization for genre within the anglophone world. Runs the Nebula Awards and is a hub for other resources.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association
Runs the Rhysling, Dwarf Stars, and Elgin Awards. Publishes Star*Line and Eye to the Telescope.

European Science Fiction Society
Promotes European science fiction, coordinates Eurocon, and runs the European SF Awards.

Horror Writers Association
Runs the Bram Stoker Award. Provides scholarships and other resources for horror writers around the world.

Australasian Horror Writers Association
Professional development, mentorship, critiques, news, and resources on the horror genre in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.

Australian Science Fiction Foundation
Promotes science fiction in Australia through awards, grants, and programming. Also features a library of resources.

Romance Writers of America
The main anglophone romance writers group, though the organization has recently faced instability and internal restructuring. Currently not recommended for people of color and LGBTQIA writers. Membership does not appear to be restricted by region.

Mystery Writers of America
Runs the Edgar Awards. Membership open only to mystery writers in the United States.

National Writers Union
Advocates for writers’ rights and safety. Includes a grievances and contracts committee. Does not appear to restrict membership by region.

The American Literary Translators Association
Provides resources, mentorship, and other professional development for literary translators. Membership does not appear to be limited to people in the US.

American Translators Association
Professional organization for translators and interpreters. Membership does not appear to be limited to people in the US.

Asociación Española de Fantasía, Ciencia Ficción y Terror (AEFCFT)
Spanish-language professional organization for fantasy, science fiction, and horror in Spain.

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Paid submissions tracker with robust publisher and agent search functions across fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art.

Submissions Grinder
Free submissions tracker and publisher search primarily focusing on genre fiction. May be lacking on poetry, literary, and nonfiction listings.
Lists only paying speculative fiction markets. Regularly updated and maintained.

The Short List
Directory of publications that accept microfiction and flash fiction.

Dream Foundry
Resources, contests, and support for beginning professionals.

Codex Writers’ Group
Active forum and critique group with regular contests for new professionals.

Authors Guild Writers’ Resource Library
Extensive resources and considerations for navigating publishing in general.

SFWA Contracts Committee
Contract help open to non-SFWA members.

SFWA Mentoring Initiative
Ongoing mentoring opportunities for writers entering the industry.

Manuscript Wishlist
Database of agents by genre with descriptions of what kinds of manuscripts they’re looking for.

Internet Science Fiction Database (ISFDB)
General speculative fiction database with lists of awards, magazines, and other information.

Chinese Science Fiction Database (CSFDB)
Chinese-language database of speculative fiction.

Hub for Black freelancers with training and resources.

Writers of Color
Database of writers of color. Their active Twitter account @writersofcolor retweets opportunities for writers as well.

Cartoonists of Color Database
Database of people of color working in sequential art and graphic novels.

Disability Lit Resources
Extensive list of opportunities and publications centering various forms of disability.

Melanin in YA
Resource for all things Black in YA, including a directory, news, events, and more.

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General Reporting

Locus Online
Regular news and updates across the genre, usually covering major events.

File 770
Extensive blog updates about genre, including reports from social media.

SF in Translation
Regular coverage of speculative fiction in translation.

Annual report on representation of Black writers among genre markets.

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Grievances and Concerns

Genre Grapevine
Regular newsletter compiling warnings and other whisper network information circulating through genre.

Writer Beware
Covers presses with bad business practices, suspicious publication offers, scams, contracts rights grabs, and other business-side concerns, primarily focusing on genre.

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Demographic-Specific Programs, Awards, and Grants

Carl Brandon Society
Awards and scholarships for people of color within genre.

IAFA Imagining Indigenous Futurisms Award
Recognizes emerging authors who use speculative fiction to address indigenous issues such as sovereignty and self-determination.

Writing workshops for Asian Americans.

Lambda Literary
Awards for LGBTQ writers across various genres.

The Nommo Awards
Awards for speculative fiction with origins in Africa.

Pink Door Retreat
Writing retreat for people of color who aren’t men.

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize
Award for underrepresented international writers.

The Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction
Award for speculative fiction with origins in Pakistan.

Speculative Literature Foundation
Offers six grants, including one for South Asians, one for writers 50 years of age or older, and one for working class writers.

Voices of Our Nations
Writing program for people of color.

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Demographic-Specific Genre Publications

Accepts submissions not in English

Accepts submissions in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Constelación: A Bilingual Speculative Fiction Magazine
Accepts submissions in English and Spanish.

Douglas Smith’s Foreign Market List
Compiles non-English markets for speculative fiction.

Fireside Fiction
Accepts submissions in English and Spanish.

Accepts submissions in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Night Picnic
Accepts submissions in English and Russian.

Accepts bilingual translations.

Three Crows Magazine
Accepts submissions in English, Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, and German.

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Djed Press
Centers Bla(c)k and POC Australians.

Eita! Magazine
Publishes Brazilian speculative fiction in English.

Finnish Weird
Publishes Finnish weird fiction in English.

Future Science Fiction Digest
Prioritizes genre submissions from regions where English is not the primary language.

Midnight Echo
Accepts only Australasian (Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islands) horror.

Centers Southeast Asian weird fiction.

Centers African speculative fiction.

Centers Asian-Australian voices.

Saffron Lit
Centers South, West, Central Asian and Middle Eastern & North African (MENA) work.

Sub-Saharan Magazine
Centers African work, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

Words Without Borders
Focuses on publishing and translating international fiction.

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Race, ethnicity, and/or diaspora-specific

Astral Waters Review
Only accepts submissions from people of color or LGBTQ+ writers.

Only accepts submissions from Black writers.

Kaya Press
Publishes work by the Asian Pacific diaspora.

Centers narratives about migration, diaspora, and colonization.

Only accepts horror submissions from Black writers.

Only accepts submissions from the Sino diaspora.

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Gender-specific and sexuality-specific

Astral Waters Review
Only accepts submissions from people of color or LGBTQ+ writers.

Centers asexual, aromantic, and agender voices.

Only accepts submissions from nonbinary and Two-Spirit writers.

Centers LGBTQ genre fiction.

Luna Station Quarterly
Only accepts submissions from women writers.

Centers women.

Only accepts submissions from LGBTQ writers.

Room Magazine
Canadian magazine accepting submissions only from women (cis and trans), trans men, Two-Spirit, and nonbinary writers.

Vulture Bones
Only accepts submissions from transgender and nonbinary writers.

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Breath & Shadow
Centers disability culture.

Open Minds Quarterly
For writers with lived experience with mental illness, neurodiversity, and other mental health challenges.

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Anathema: Spec from the Margins
Only accepts submissions from queer/Two-Spirit people of color/Indigenous/Aboriginal writers.

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