During my first three months in the blogosphere, I’ve noticed horror writers, readers, and bloggers are a tight-knit community. They love what they do. They have to because they’re not writing all those stories and reading all those books for the money.
As a horror writer who started his website in January, I had no idea where to go to get plugged into the horror community. Where do I find markets for my novels and stories? Where do I go for advice and insight about the horror genre?
It can be a jungle or a desert out there for writers. But I’ve found a few oases that work for me.
Here are my five favorite watering holes where I go to sate my thirst for horror entertainment, insight, inspiration, and markets. The titles are linked to the websites.
- THE HORROR SHOW WITH BRIAN KEENE. I’ve been a fan of Brian Keene’s writing since I read GHOUL years ago. Keene writes gritty horror with an attitude. He brings that attitude to his weekly podcast, which is a mix of talk, news, and interviews in the horror genre. Keene is bold and unafraid to tackle sensitive issues. If he hears about a publisher screwing over writers, Keene investigates and reports on his findings. He does not hold back. Another thing I like about The Horror Show is its laidback format. It’s like Keene and his co-hosts are hanging out at the local bar on Friday night, shooting the breeze and/or venting after the workweek’s done. There’s some profanity – the f-bomb is dropped a few times – but when I’m talking about my workweek at my real job, I’ve been known to lob a few f-bombs myself. I’ve only started listening to The Horror Show this year, but the past 160-plus shows are archived, so I can find my favorite horror authors like Bryan Smith in the podcast descriptions and check out their interviews. One of my favorite shows is Episode 7 where Keene talks in depth about his experience with his novel GHOUL being adapted into a Chiller TV movie. The Horror Show is appointment listening for me every Thursday night.
- HORROR TREE. I’ve talked about this website before. It provides listings of anthology and publishing markets actively looking for submissions, including a convenient calendar view. Horror Tree also shoots an email blast every Friday with a list of the most recently added markets of the past week. But Horror Tree is more than that. The site has become a writing market itself, publishing short stories and drabbles (100-word shorts) every Sunday as well as showcasing independent authors with posted interviews. The site even plans to publish an anthology of short stories that appeared on the site in 2017. Horror Tree also plans to add book reviews in the future. I like Horror Tree because it feels more like a writing community than a website. The site runner, author-blogger Stuart Conover with assistance from other writers like Stephanie Ellis, are trying to develop a “home” for horror writers, not just a website.
- TWITTER. I’d never followed Twitter feeds before this year. When I started posting to my website in January, I started checking out Twitter. For independent horror writers, Twitter seems to be a helpful resource if you can pare down the list of who you follow to people, places, and things with an interest in horror. The biggest benefit for me is following these insanely dedicated horror book bloggers like @SadieLouWho. What a blessing to horror writers these folks are. These bloggers allow me to keep my finger on the pulse of what stimulates a reader. The best book bloggers are bluntly honest and tweet specifics. For example, @SadieLouWho will tweet a specific chapter she loved, which gives me a chance to check out that chapter and see what inspired her to love it so much. That’s the kind of in-depth research data that companies pay big bucks for. I don’t know how you use Twitter, but as a newbie, I’m finding the prolific book blogger tweets the most helpful as a writer.
- SCI-FI & SCARY. I don’t know who site runners Lilyn G. and Grace K are, but they produce a remarkable amount of fresh content. This is one of my favorite review websites because it goes above and beyond to support independent authors. For example, Sci-Fi & Scary posted an in-depth report on small press publishing titled “The Good, The Bad, and The Cream Filling.” The report provided detailed insight into the world of small press publishers by going straight to the source and interviewing the top dogs at a trio of small press publishers. Sci-Fi & Scary features reviews of book releases in their two chosen genres, but it also reviews movies, kids’ books, and graphic novels as well as featuring author interviews and guest posts.
- Brian Keene. It seems appropriate to bookend my list with Brian Keene websites. His author site is worth the price of admission (free) just to read Brian Keene’s History of Horror Fiction installments that he writes for Cemetery Dance Publications. It’s not only interesting but a must-read for horror writers, readers, and fans. Keene’s site is updated regularly, and the updates are not just about his latest releases. Links on his homepage today have Keene delving into the political polarization of America and offering his take on guns and morality. Oh, and if you want to pay a small price for admission and you’re a horror writer, you’re in luck. You can get guidance directly from the mind of the 2014 World Horror Grandmaster himself. For $2 per month, you can support his Patreon page and gain access to his monthly in-depth essays offering step-by-step advice for writers on finding an agent, outlining, pitching, staying focused, creating a literary estate, and other topics.
These are the places I go to for advice, inspiration, markets, and news. If you’re a horror writer and can add to my list, I’d love to hear your go-to sites.
LINKS TO SOME OF MY OTHER BLOG ENTRIES: