Support Your Local Genre

Not all people who read fantasy and SF want to be writers.  But almost all people who want to write fantasy and SF also read the stuff.

And most people who want to write fantasy and SF also want to be able to sell their stories and novels when they are complete. 

So . . . why are subscription rates to the magazines that publish fantasy and SF stories falling off?  For a long time now, I’ve watched old magazines fail due to lack of subscribers, and new magazines (including e-zines) come into being, prosper briefly, and then fail.  Due to a lack of readership.

It is my opinion that if you want to sell your stories then you ought to be willing to buy other people’s stories.  It keeps alive the very markets that your career as a writer may depend on. My personal feeling is that short fiction is the cutting edge of our genre. Reading it is an important part of keeping up with the field as well as discovering wonderful new stories and writers for your own enjoyment.  If you want to be a writer of SF or fantasy, I think you need to read what others are writing,  if only to save yourself the trouble of reinventing the wheel!

Herewith, my suggestions for three magazines that I think every sf/fantasy writer, aspiring or proven, should subscribe to. 

Asimov’s Science Fiction  Why?  Because my taste in stories is very much in tune with what their editors choose to publish.  In other words, in almost every issue, I can find a story that makes me go ‘Wow.’  Or one leaves me pondering something.  It’s also where you can yearly find a Connie Willis Christmas story, and those my friends, are worth the price of a year’s subscription just by themselves!   Don’t be put off by the SF in the title if you are a fantasy only reader. They publish both on a regular basis.

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction  This magazine has a solid history of picking winners. Flowers for Algernon comes immediately to mind.  Stephen King’s The Dark Tower was first serialized in   Over my years of readingF&SF, I have watched writers appear in those pages, blossom and then become giants in the SF/fantasy field.  And I am always excited when one of my old favorites, such as Ray Bradbury, shows up on the cover.  Solid book reviews by Charles deLint are also in there.

Locus Magazine   Now this is the one that I view as indispensible for those with writing ambitions.  Locus Magazine bills itself as The Magazine of the Fantasy and Science Fiction Field.  Within its pages you will find reviews of forthcoming books and magazines, news of who is writing, selling or reselling what, thoughtful essays, coverage of conventions and, well, all the news of the SF/fantasy world.

Those are my three favorites.  I’ll freely admit that I’m a paper addict and do not know the online magazines as well as I should.  If you have a favorite magazine, paper or pixel, please feel free to respond here and let us know about it.  After all, it’s in all our own best interests as writers and readers to keep these story outlets alive.

And because I’ve had a lot of response to what I wrote about Writer Beware!, I’ll close with a couple of other links that can be of great use to aspiring writers.

The first is Duotrope.  To use it’s own words, this site is “an award-winning, free writers’ resource listing over 3550 current Fiction and Poetry publications.”  It’s a great resource for discovering new markets for your fiction and poetry. And dare I add, it’s a great resource for discovering magazines that you might want to subscribe to and support!

The second one is GilaQueen.    Gila Queen is currently on hiatus as they recover from Hurricane Irene, but we hope to see it back on line soon. And when it does come back, new subscribers would help keep it in existence.  Keep checking back there.



11 Responses to Support Your Local Genre

  1. Perhaps there is a more obvious reason: Do they advertise? Are they carried in any local retailers? I have been reading fantasy and science fiction my entire life and I never knew these magazines existed. Or if i saw them, I never noticed them for what they were. I certainly never had reason to go looking for them till now.

    Maybee they are falling in readership

    Have you ever appeared in one of these?

  2. Hi Christopher!
    I used to find them on newstands and in bookstores, back when bookstores carried a wide variety of magazines as well. So they can be found, if you know where to look for them. and they do advertise to readers of fiction magazines. For instance, if you were a mystery fan and a reader of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine you would probably see ads in the back for SF and fantasy magazines as well.
    Yes, I’ve been published in Asimov’s. I think if you look at almost any SF/fantasy collection or anthology, you will find that many of the stories were first published in a magazine and then went on to be republished in the anthology. When awards are given, such as the Hugos or the Nebulas, the stories that are winning have most often been published in one of the genre magazines.
    If you are just now discovering them, I envy you. I hope you sample several and find a favorite!

  3. P.S. to Christopher These magazines and others like them are also a market for artists! Cover art mostly, but Asimov’s uses interior art from time to time. And up and coming sf/fantasy artists need active markets, too. Nudge,wink.

  4. I’ll have to have a look. Back when i started reading fantasy/science fiction I’d have had little use for additional recommendations. All our books did the rounds past everyone in the house (All 5 of us) usually in order of reading speed, or depending on who purchased it).

    Most the time I didn’t have to look for new series, since there was always another R.E. Fiest book or A. McCaffrey that I hadn’t read. Along with so many series that I outgrew too quickly, Redwall, Goosebumps, Choose Your own Adventure, Rowin of Rin. It was a sad day when I began to catch up to all my authors, drumming my fingers for 4 years between books wondering what happens next.

    There is not much in this world that feels better than knowing you have more than 600 pages between you and the (usually temporary) end of the world you are reading about.

    These days I could really use something like that. Legends II was marvellous. That is how I came across George RR Martin. So I’ll have to make a reminder for later in the week.

  5. I would buy them if I saw them, but there aren’t even any bookshops around here, if I want a book I have to buy it off Amazon. I’ll keep a look out anyway!

  6. Hello Robin, I completely agree with your sentiments. As a new writer in the sci-fi and fantasy world, as well as a new subscriber to Locus, I am learning that there’s so much more involved than the simple buying and selling of books. I appreciate your continued effort to help others on their journey.

  7. The only one I hadn’t heard of was Locus, but Asimov’s is definitely one I’ve heard tons about, especially if you read SF/F authors’ websites as they often mention themselves as being previously published in that mag. Hoping maybe I can get these subscriptions as b-day gifts!

    The SF/F one that I really love is called On Spec. It’s based out of Alberta, Canada and primarily publishes Canadian work, but stories from the UK and USA pop up in there as well. It always has amazing work–both fiction and art–that’s really inspiring for myself as a writer or just creepy/awesome to read and enjoy. Here’s the link if anyone’s interested.

  8. Visi, that’s one reason I subscribe. In addition to giving a magazine a predictable income, the stories come right to my door . . . or to your e-reader if that is how you like to read.
    The links I included will let you read some of the stories on line, in the hopes that you will become a subscriber. Or push their traffic up to entice more adverising!


  9. I subscribed to F&SF and Asimov’s magazine for years. Should I admit decades? Now I prefer my magazines to be digital, and as neither of these are, I have allowed them to lapse. Surely magazines that deal with futuristic content can adapt to modern delivery systems, and must do so if they wish to survive!

    Now back to revisit my dog-eared copies of The Tawny Man. (Not everything must be digital!)