Navigating the Genre: A Beginner’s Atlas

Last updated on September 17, 2020: Added Speculative Literature Foundation.

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
https://www.sfwa.org/
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
https://www.sfpoetry.com/
Runs the Rhysling, Dwarf Stars, and Elgin Awards. Publishes Star*Line and Eye to the Telescope.

European Science Fiction Society
https://www.esfs.info/
Promotes European science fiction, coordinates Eurocon, and runs the European SF Awards.

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

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

Australian Science Fiction Foundation
https://asff.org.au/
Promotes science fiction in Australia through awards, grants, and programming. Also features a library of resources.

Romance Writers of America
https://www.rwa.org/
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
https://mysterywriters.org/
Runs the Edgar Awards. Membership open only to mystery writers in the United States.

National Writers Union
https://nwu.org/
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
https://www.literarytranslators.org/
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
https://www.atanet.org/
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)
https://www.aefcft.com/
Spanish-language professional organization for fantasy, science fiction, and horror in Spain.

↑ top

Resources

Duotrope
https://duotrope.com/
Paid submissions tracker with robust publisher and agent search functions across fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art.

Submissions Grinder
https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/
Free submissions tracker and publisher search primarily focusing on genre fiction. May be lacking on poetry, literary, and nonfiction listings.

Ralan.com
https://www.ralan.com/index.htm
Lists only paying speculative fiction markets. Regularly updated and maintained.

The Short List
https://dlshirey.com/the-short-list/
Directory of publications that accept microfiction and flash fiction.

Dream Foundry
https://dreamfoundry.org/
Resources, contests, and support for beginning professionals.

Codex Writers’ Group
https://codexwriters.com/
Active forum and critique group with regular contests for new professionals.

Authors Guild Writers’ Resource Library
https://www.authorsguild.org/member-services/writers-resource-library/
Extensive resources and considerations for navigating publishing in general.

SFWA Contracts Committee
https://www.sfwa.org/member-links/committees/contracts-committee/
Contract help open to non-SFWA members.

SFWA Mentoring Initiative
https://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/mentoring-initiative/
Ongoing mentoring opportunities for writers entering the industry.

Manuscript Wishlist
https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/
Database of agents by genre with descriptions of what kinds of manuscripts they’re looking for.

Internet Science Fiction Database
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi
General speculative fiction database with lists of awards, magazines, and other information.

BlackFreelance
https://blackfreelance.com/
Hub for Black freelancers with training and resources.

Writers of Color
https://www.writersofcolor.org/
Database of writers of color. Their active Twitter account @writersofcolor retweets opportunities for writers as well.

Cartoonists of Color Database
https://cartoonistsofcolor.com/
Database of people of color working in sequential art and graphic novels.

Disability Lit Resources
https://nicolemelanson.com/disability-lit-resources/
Extensive list of opportunities and publications centering various forms of disability.

Melanin in YA
https://melanininya.com/
Resource for all things Black in YA, including a directory, news, events, and more.

↑ top

General Reporting

Locus Online
https://locusmag.com/
Regular news and updates across the genre, usually covering major events.

File 770
http://file770.com/
Extensive blog updates about genre, including reports from social media.

SF in Translation
https://www.sfintranslation.com/
Regular coverage of speculative fiction in translation.

#BlackSpecFic
https://www.fiyahlitmag.com/blackspecfic/
Annual report on representation of Black writers among genre markets.

↑ top

Grievances and Concerns

Genre Grapevine
https://patreon.com/jasonsanford
Regular newsletter compiling warnings and other whisper network information circulating through genre.

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

↑ top

Demographic-Specific Programs, Awards, and Grants

Carl Brandon Society
http://carlbrandon.org/
Awards and scholarships for people of color within genre.

Kundiman
http://www.kundiman.org/
Writing workshops for Asian Americans.

Lambda Literary
https://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/
Awards for LGBTQ writers across various genres.

The Nommo Awards
http://www.africansfs.com/nommos
Awards for speculative fiction with origins in Africa.

Pink Door Retreat
https://www.pinkdoorretreat.com/
Writing retreat for people of color who aren’t men.

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize
https://www.wasafiri.org/new-writing-prize/
Award for underrepresented international writers.

The Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction
http://thesalamaward.com/
Award for speculative fiction with origins in Pakistan.

Speculative Literature Foundation
http://speculativeliterature.org/grants/
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
http://vonavoices.org/
Writing program for people of color.

↑ top

Demographic-Specific Genre Publications

Accepts submissions not in English

Arsenika
https://arsenika.ink/
Accepts submissions in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Constelación: A Bilingual Speculative Fiction Magazine
https://www.constellationmagazine.com/
Accepts submissions in English and Spanish.

Douglas Smith’s Foreign Market List
http://www.smithwriter.com/foreign_market_list.htm
Compiles non-English markets for speculative fiction.

Fireside Fiction
https://firesidefiction.com/
Accepts submissions in English and Spanish.

microverses
https://microverses.net/
Accepts submissions in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Night Picnic
https://www.nightpicnic.net/
Accepts submissions in English and Russian.

Samovar
http://samovar.strangehorizons.com/
Accepts bilingual translations.

Three Crows Magazine
http://threecrowsmagazine.com/
Accepts submissions in English, Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, and German.

↑ top

Region-specific

Djed Press
https://djedpress.com/
Centers Bla(c)k and POC Australians.

Eita! Magazine
https://eitamagazine.com/
Publishes Brazilian speculative fiction in English.

Finnish Weird
http://www.finnishweird.net/
Publishes Finnish weird fiction in English.

Future Science Fiction Digest
http://future-sf.com/
Prioritizes genre submissions from regions where English is not the primary language.

Midnight Echo
https://australasianhorror.com/midnight-echo/
Accepts only Australasian (Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islands) horror.

Ombak
http://www.ombak.org/
Centers Southeast Asian weird fiction.

Omenana
https://omenana.com/
Centers African speculative fiction.

Peril
http://peril.com.au/
Centers Asian-Australian voices.

Saffron Lit
https://www.saffronlit.com/
Centers South, West, Central Asian and Middle Eastern & North African (MENA) work.

Sub-Saharan Magazine
https://subsaharanmagazine.com/
Centers African work, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

Words Without Borders
https://www.wordswithoutborders.org/
Focuses on publishing and translating international fiction.

↑ top

Race, ethnicity, and/or diaspora-specific

Astral Waters Review
https://www.astralwatersreview.com/
Only accepts submissions from people of color or LGBTQ+ writers.

FIYAH
https://www.fiyahlitmag.com/
Only accepts submissions from Black writers.

Kaya Press
https://kaya.com/
Publishes work by the Asian Pacific diaspora.

khōréō
https://www.khoreomag.com/
Centers narratives about migration, diaspora, and colonization.

NIGHTLIGHT
https://nightlightpod.com/
Only accepts horror submissions from Black writers.

sinθ
https://sinetheta.net/
Only accepts submissions from the Sino diaspora.

↑ top

Gender-specific and sexuality-specific

Astral Waters Review
https://www.astralwatersreview.com/
Only accepts submissions from people of color or LGBTQ+ writers.

AZE
https://azejournal.com/
Centers asexual, aromantic, and agender voices.

beestung
https://beestungmag.com/
Only accepts submissions from nonbinary and Two-Spirit writers.

GlitterShip
http://www.glittership.com/
Centers LGBTQ genre fiction.

Luna Station Quarterly
http://lunastationquarterly.com/
Only accepts submissions from women writers.

Mantid
https://www.mantidmagazine.com/
Centers women.

Prismatica
https://www.prismaticamagazine.com/
Only accepts submissions from LGBTQ writers.

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

Vulture Bones
https://www.vulturebonesmag.com/new-page
Only accepts submissions from transgender and nonbinary writers.

↑ top

Disability

Breath & Shadow
https://www.abilitymaine.org/breath
Centers disability culture.

Open Minds Quarterly
https://www.openmindsquarterly.com/
For writers with lived experience with mental illness, neurodiversity, and other mental health challenges.

↑ top

Intersections

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

↑ top

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *