What Is The Horror Writers Association?
THE HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION (HWA) is a nonprofit organization
of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated
to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write
it. HWA was formed in the late 1980's with the help of many of the
field's greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe
Lansdale. Today, with over 1200 members around the globe, it is the
oldest and most respected professional organization for the
much-loved writers who have brought you the most enjoyable
sleepless nights of your life.
One of HWA's missions is to encourage public interest in and
foster an appreciation of good Horror and Dark Fantasy literature.
To that end, we offer the public areas of this web site, we sponsor
or take part in occasional public readings and lectures, we publish
a blog and produce other materials for booksellers and librarians, we facilitate readings
and signings by horror writers, and we maintain an official
presence at the major fan-based horror and fantasy conventions,
such as the World Fantasy Convention and the World Horror
Also to that end, we sponsor the annual Bram Stoker Awards® for superior achievement in
horror literature. Named in honor of the author of the seminal
horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented for superior
writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of
various lengths, poetry, screenwriting, graphic novels, young adult, and non-fiction. In addition, HWA presents
an annual Lifetime Achievement Award to a
living person who has made significant contributions to the writing
of Horror and Dark Fantasy over the course of a lifetime.
Who Can Join HWA?
HWA's Active (voting) members are all published professional writers of horror. But you needn't be an established professional writer to join HWA. Your demonstrated intention to become a professional writer is all that's required to join HWA at the Affiliate level, because we know the first professional-level sale is often the hardest. To demonstrate your intention, all you need is one minimally paid publication in any of several categories. (This might be something as unassuming as a 500-word story for which you've received $25 or more.) Non-writing professionals with an interest in the field (such as illustrators, librarians, booksellers, producers, agents, editors, and teachers) can join at the Associate level without any publications. Check our Membership Rules to see which level you qualify for.
HWA also offers a Supporting Membership for non-professionals who would like to share and explore their interest in horror. Supporting members receive HWA's monthly newsletter and our internet mailers, have the opportunity recommend works for the Bram Stoker Awards®, and the opportunity to be involved with HWA's chapters, Mentor Program, and access to some of their favorite horror writers via a private message board.
How Can Joining HWA Help You?
Whether you're an aspiring writer working toward your all-important first pro-level sale or a seasoned novelist with a dozen books to your credit, HWA can help further your career through networking, mentoring, information trading, and promotional resources. If you're a producer, publisher, editor, or agent, you'll find our networking resources invaluable for finding dedicated, productive writers to add to your stable. If you're a librarian or bookseller, you'll have an inside track on talented writers, hot new books, and likely award winners. And if you're a fan, you'll have access to the writers you love and will get to be an important part of the oldest and largest organization dedicated to horror.
Marketing and Promotion
Do editors care if you're an HWA member? Here's what Martin H.
Greenberg, bestselling editor of over 100 anthologies and winner of
the coveted Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award has to say:
"When I see that a writer is a member of HWA, I know he takes
his work and his profession seriously."
- PROMOTIONAL RESOURCE LISTINGS
Members can access our regularly updated lists of complete contact
information for libraries, bookstores, and reviewers as well as
HWA's directory of members -- nearly a thousand names and addresses
of dedicated horror readers, writers, and industry
- BOOKEXPO APPEARANCES
Every year, HWA exhibits on the main floor of BookExpo America, the nation's largest gathering of booksellers, librarians,
and publishers. HWA members have the opportunity to promote their books at BookExpo by appearing at HWA's booth and/or by supplying
promotional materials that HWA will distribute at the event.
- FREE WEB AND NEWSLETTER PUBLICITY
Members can place free notices about new or upcoming publications
in our both our public "Dark Whispers" blog and our member's only monthly newsletter and
twice-monthly Internet Mailers.
- TIMELY MARKET REPORTS AND INDUSTRY NEWS
Each edition of HWA's monthly HTML newsletter is packed with
valuable horror publishing and market news, and includes a timely,
comprehensive listing of horror, dark fantasy and related markets
assembled exclusively for HWA by Kathryn Ptacek, editor and
publisher of Gila Queen's Guide to Markets. Between
newsletters, members can access our online version of Kathryn's
horror market news in the Members Only area of HWA's web site.
Members also receive regular email bulletins offering market and
- HWA MEMBERS-ONLY MARKETS
The "Horror Writers Association Presents"
anthology series is open only to members. Our most recent books, the three-volume Blood Lite
anthologies edited by Kevin J. Anderson, have attained bestseller status and paid royalties to those HWA
members who were contributors. Our non-fiction book On Writing Horror, edited by Mort Castle, has become
an accepted standard guide for writing in the horror genre.
- THE HWA MENTOR PROGRAM
We feel strongly that one of the best ways we can contribute to the
health of the horror genre is by helping to educate beginning
writers in the ins-and-outs of both the craft and the business of
writing. Yet writing courses are expensive, never last long enough,
and rarely deal with the practicalities of establishing a career in
writing. For that reason, we've created the HWA Mentor Program.
Participating professional horror writers are paired with Affiliate
members who wish to learn a little or a lot about everything from
the craft of writing to the pitfalls of contract negotiations.
- FINDING AN AGENT
HWA helps writers find agents by providing comprehensive contact
info for agents who specialize in horror.
A. Arnzen, author of the Bram-Stoker-Award-winning Grave Markings,
notes, "Being a member of HWA is like attending the best
professional conference all year round. Not only do you get to keep
your fingertips on the quivering pulse of the horror writing biz,
but you make plenty of important contacts -- and perhaps more
importantly, friends -- as well."
The Horror Writers Association is represented at numerous events throughout the
year, including genre conventions, book festivals, trade gatherings and local literary
events. Plus, HWA holds an
annual business meeting and Bram Stoker
Awards® Banquet which includes plenty of opportunities to meet
and get acquainted with fellow writers, editors, agents, and
- ONLINE RESOURCES
HWA's award-winning web site is a well-known resource for Horror
aficionados on the Internet. But members gain access to additional
invaluable tools through the Members Only
area of the site.
- A complete online roster of members
- a listing of Horror agents
- frequently updated market and industry news
- Bram Stoker recommendations
- the HWA's database of Horror bookstores and
- our database of libraries
- an online version of the
- our HWA message board provides a constantly-available forum for networking
- And, finally, through
the HWA Internet Mailer, members receive optional late-breaking
email announcements between issues of our monthly HTML
- REGIONAL CHAPTERS
Regional HWA chapters meet for workshops, group readings and
signings, special projects, and social functions. To reach one of our active chapters, look for the list here.
HWA also works to expand appreciation of the genre and literature in general by promoting education. We've donated memberships to writing workshops, and worked with
universities to provide genre experts as guest lecturers. We're always looking for ways to expand our educational outreach.
- LITERACY PROGRAMS
In the past, HWA has worked with literacy programs to provide books and guest authors at various events.
In Times of Trouble
There are times when writers must pull together to solve mutual
problems or come to each other's aid. HWA can be a friend to turn
to when things get rough. Here's how we can help.
- HWA GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE
For the mediation or settlement of complaints arising from
generalized unfair or unethical behavior on the part of individuals
or organizations with whom HWA members regularly do business.
- HARDSHIP LOANS
The writing life can be difficult. Established HWA members
experiencing financial distress are eligible to apply for small
safety net loans under this program.
HWA's complete Membership Regulations
are available elsewhere on this web site, but here's the short
- SUPPORTING MEMBERS
Anyone with an interest in horror may join as a Supporting member. There are no requirements for this level.
- AFFILIATE MEMBERS
Beginning horror writers with a demonstrated intention of
establishing a professional writing career. Minimal publication is
required, and only works of Horror or Dark Fantasy can be used as
- Sell one short story of at least 500 words, for payment of at
- Sell one non-fiction article, role-playing supplement, comic
book script, computer gaming script, or theatrical play for payment
of at least $50.
- Sell one book-length manuscript (40,000 words or more) for
payment of at least $200.
- Sell a screenplay or an option on your existing screenplay for
payment of at least $200.
- Sell three poems for total payment of at least $15.
- ASSOCIATE MEMBERS
Non-writer professionals associated with the Horror and Dark
Fantasy field, including but not limited to agents, artists,
editors, packagers, producers, and publishers.
- ACADEMIC MEMBERS
Individuals with an academic interest in the genre demonstrated through writing, research, or teaching done in a professional capacity.
- ACTIVE MEMBERS
Professional writers of Horror and Dark Fantasy. There are a number
of ways to qualify as an Active member. (Only works of Horror or
Dark Fantasy can be used as qualifying materials.)
- Sell three or more short stories, articles, or reviews
totalling 7,500 words or more, for payment of at least 5¢ per
- Sell one book-length manuscript for a minimum advance and/or royalties of $2,000.
- Sell a 90-minute TV movie, or two
30-minute teleplays for at least WGA minimum rates.
- Sell one theatrical film script for at least $5,000.
- Sell three full-length comic book scripts at professional rates
and/or with professional print-run and distribution levels.
- Sell three 10,000 word Role-playing Game project or one 40,000
word project for a payment of at least 5 ¢ per word.
- Sell a script for a computer game or a single work of
interactive fiction intended for electronic media for at least
- Sell a computer game for a minimum payment of $2,000,
regardless of length or memory usage, or create a piece of
shareware or other work produced without payment in advance, with a
paid circulation exceeding 1,000 copies.
- Sell 10 poems at 25 ¢ per line or $5 each, or sell a
poetry collection for an honorarium of at least $50.
Please note that sales may only be used to qualify for membership if payment has been received. Also, self-published works may not be used to qualify, with the exception of self-published comic books that meet special criteria.
All applicants may be asked to provide documentation of their qualifying sale or sales to complete the application process. Documentation may include scans of a contract, proof of payment, written confirmation from a publisher, or similar items.
HWA's memberships all of which include the basic benefits mentioned above.
- INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIPS
Dues for individual Affiliate, Associate, Academic, and Active members are $69.00 per year; members joining at these levels receive one listing in the directory and one userID for access to HWA's Members Only website. Dues for Supporting members are $48.00 per year; Supporting members receive one userID for limited access to HWA's Members Only website.
- CORPORATE MEMBERSHIPS
Corporate members receive one Directory entry (status is
automatically "Associate") and up to 10 userIDs for access to HWA's
Members Only website. All official street mail is sent to a single
specified address. Dues for businesses are $115.00 per year.
- FAMILY MEMBERSHIPS
Family membership holders (up to three members of a family, whose
status will vary according to their individual qualifications) each
receive separate listings in the Directory and separate userIDs for
access to the HWA Members Only website. All official street mail is
sent to a single specified address. Dues for families are $89.00
HWA's dues year is the same as the calendar year, running from
January 1 through December 31. If you join between March 31st and
November 30, your dues will be prorated by a specific amount,
depending on the date of your application. However, prorating
applies only to individuals, businesses, and families who have not
been members of HWA at any time in the previous two years.
Applying for HWA Membership
To apply for membership, simply move to the Application area of our web site.
Thank you for your interest in HWA!
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if
you still have questions about HWA.