Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Top 5 Sites for Science Fiction Writers

Updated 2/10/20

Originally published on Blogging Authors as "Top 5 Online Resources for Science Fiction Writers."

Of all the fiction genres, sci-fi – aka speculative fiction — stands as the one most likely to inspire devotion. Sci-fi buffs are die-hards. That’s because sci-fi authors are required not just to do world-building, but to do universe-building. That’s real escapism.

Traditionally, a background in science has been virtually mandatory for sci-fi writers, and there are still many sci-fi magazines that require a strong scientific element in their published stories. But, as the concept of “science” has marched on to include not just the “hard sciences” (notably, physics and biology) but the social sciences (anthropology, sociology, history, and, to a certain extent, linguistics), sci-fi has matched pace. At this point, the subgenres are almost too numerous to name: cyberpunk, steampunk, apocalyptic, dystopian, space opera, spy-fi, and “soft sci-fi,” which originally meant anything written by a woman. (For decades, sci-fi has been an all-male club.) Naturally, such a variety allows for considerable leeway, not just in what may be considered sci-fi, but how to write it. There is perhaps no other genre that has encompassed such a broad range of writing styles and voice.

How lucrative is the sci-fi market? It’s hard to say. Compared to romance novels, which generate a huge amount of revenue, sci-fi is a country cousin. But, what the sci-fi market lacks in big bucks, it makes up in sheer rebellion. As a case in point, Hugh Howey sold the print rights to his self-published underground sci-fi hit, Wool, to Simon & Schuster for a “mid-six-figure” advance. Howey had turned down “multiple” seven-figure advances because he’d already raked in over a million dollars of royalties from his eBook, and he was determined to keep electronic rights.

And Howey isn’t the only word-of-mouth wonder in the sci-fi world. This is a genre that thrives in the dark, subterranean alleys of the net, exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations, and boldly going where no man, woman, or cyborg has gone before.

These sites will help you on your mission.

As a bonus, here are some great publishing resources for speculative fiction writers:

Mega-List of Speculative Fiction Magazines Accepting Submissions

4 Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts from Writers

12 Scifi and Fantasy Review Sites for Self-Published Authors

1) Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction

There aren’t many institutions of higher learning that offer programs in science fiction. The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas is, to our great delight, one of them. Their vision is stated clearly and unequivocally on their home page: “We are working to save the world through science fiction! To help achieve this, we have built a comprehensive program to serve SF students, educators, scholars, and fans, and through this extend the influence of this literature of change and the human species onto the world at large.”

You may think it doesn’t get much better than saving the world, but it does. Their resources list is the most comprehensive I have ever seen. Here you will find websites for writers, teaching and scholarly resources, awards, magazines, review sites, anthologies, fandom, blogs, artists, conferences, author websites, and more. When you are done browsing this site, I guarantee you will feel as if you are not in Kansas anymore.

2)  Internet Science Fiction Database

This site is shamelessly geeky. However, it contains the most complete catalog of science fiction, fantasy, and horror you will find anywhere. It links together various types of bibliographic data: author bibliographies, publication bibliographies, award listings, magazine content listings, anthology and collection content listings, and forthcoming books. You can find a huge list of magazines and fanzines on this site if you are interested in submitting short work, as well as publishers, awards, and statistics.

3) Links to Science Fiction Websites

The University of Michigan's Fantasy and Science Fiction website features a list of sci-fi and fantasy sites, a library where you can read science fiction ebooks, films, a dictionary of symbolism and research tools. It is not as well organized, or as broad in scope, as the Gunn Center’s page, but there is a greater focus on contemporary sci-fi magazines, fan pages, and review sites, which makes this list quite useful to those trying to get stories published.

4) Top 50 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Novels Blogs

This is simply the best blog list out there. There isn’t a blog on this list you shouldn’t read. That being said, start at the top and work your way down. (You will notice that SFsite is at the top. There’s a reason for that.) The advantages of reading good blogs about your genre (and others) are almost too numerous to list - great writing tips, the latest news, reviews, entertaining stories, all the industry scuttlebutt - but essentially all these benefits boil down to one thing: you will not know what is going on in your field unless you read these blogs. Being up to date is something all agents and publishers expect of writers.

5) Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

SFWA is the professional organization for authors of science fiction and fantasy. Past and present members include Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, and Andre Norton. It goes without saying that if you join SFWA, you will be in good company.

In their own words: “SFWA informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members. We host the prestigious Nebula Awards, assist members in legal disputes with publishers, and administer benevolent funds for authors facing medical or legal expenses.  Novice authors benefit from our Information Center and the well-known Writer Beware site.

SFWA Membership is open to authors, artists, editors, reviewers, and anyone else with a professional involvement with sci-fi or fantasy. Affiliate membership is $70 a year. Professional membership is $90.

Additional sites of interest

Worlds Without End

WWE has everything about Speculative Fiction, including compilations of Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Clarke and Stoker Award lists, sci-fi classics, book reviews, author interviews, and a complete list of publishers of science fiction.

Locus Magazine

News about science fiction publishing and coverage of new science fiction books and magazines. The site also provides a chronological listing of upcoming science fiction, fantasy, and horror conventions, conferences, and symposia; author events; sci-fi awards database; and a huge sci-fi index (books, magazines, anthologies, collections).

Science Fiction Websites

David Brin's list of websites includes magazines, links to resources, books, centers and museums, podcasts, and a whole lot more.


  1. Thanks! There is a lot of good information here. :)

  2. Can any of you recommend a paid promotion site that has done well for you?

    It's a new year and I need to start the marketing machine back up with some new places to advertise.

  3. Thanks for sharing great websites.


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