THE HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION (HWA) is a nonprofit organisation 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 1250 members in countries such as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Honduras, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, United Kingdom and the United States — it is the oldest and most respected professional organisation 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 Convention.

Also to that end, we sponsor the annual Bram Stoker Awards for superior achievement in horror literature. Named in honour 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.



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 Programme, and access to some of their favourite horror writers via a private message board.



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 organisation dedicated to horror.



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.”

    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 professionals.
    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.
    Members can place free notices about new publications on our site and in our member’s only monthly newsletter and twice-monthly Internet Mailers.
    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 industry news.
    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.



    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 Programme. Participating professional horror writers are paired with Affiliate and Supporting members who wish to learn a little or a lot about everything from the craft of writing to the pitfalls of contract negotiations.
    HWA helps writers find agents by providing comprehensive contact info for agents who specialise in horror.



Michael 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 publishers.
    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 reviewers
  • Our database of libraries
  • An online version of the HWA Handbook
  • Our HWA message board provides a constantly-available forum for networking with colleagues
  • And, finally, through the HWA Internet Mailer, members receive optional late-breaking email announcements between issues of our monthly HTML

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.
    In the past, HWA has worked with literacy programs to provide books and guest authors at various events.

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.

    For the mediation or settlement of complaints arising from generalised unfair or unethical behavior on the part of individuals or organisations with whom HWA members regularly do business.
    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 version:


    Anyone with an interest in horror may join as a Supporting member. There are no requirements for this level.
    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 qualifying material.
  • Sell one short story of at least 500 words, for payment of at least $25.
  • 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 in advances and/or royalties or earnings within two years of publication from self-published work 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.
    Non-writer professionals associated with the Horror and Dark Fantasy field, including but not limited to agents, artists, editors, packagers, producers, and publishers.
    Individuals with an academic interest in the genre demonstrated through writing, research, or teaching done in a professional capacity.
    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 word.
  • Sell one book-length manuscript for a minimum payment in advances and/or royalties or earnings within two years of publication from self-published work of at least $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 $2,000.
  • 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.
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.


  • 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 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 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 per year.

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.

To apply for membership, simply move to the Application area of the main site.

Thank you for your interest in HWA!
Write to [email protected] if you still have questions about HWA.