18 Influential Voices in Literature on the Internet

top5influencesSomeone put together a list of the 35 Writers who Run the Internet that had a bunch of us scratching our heads in puzzlement. We’d collectively heard of two or three of them, and most of us are very well read online, keeping up with the changes in the industry. So I challenged several disparate groups of people to nominate influential voices in literature. Who do we listen to?

I was looking for people who are respected, known for their positive contributions to discussions of writing and publishing, who nurture the current and rising generation of writers. I wasn’t looking necessarily for writers, but those who contribute to the internet’s depth of knowledge about good stories, and good writers.

Here’s the list, roughly ranked in order of number of times a name was suggested. I wound up dropping a few, who only received a self-nomination, or one vote, and I’m including links to blogs and sites so you can explore those who might be a new voice to you. Feel free to add in the comments, I don’t know if I’ll find time to update it, but later readers might be interested.

  1. Larry Correia
  2. Hugh Howey
  3. Sarah A. Hoyt
  4. JA Konrath
  5. Passive Voice
  6. Mad Genius Club
  7. John C. Wright
  8. Jerry Pournelle
  9. Baen Publishing (Toni Weisskopf)
  10. Brad Torgerson
  11. Kris Rusch
  12. Neil Gaiman
  13. Vox Day
  14. Mike Resnick
  15. Cory Doctorow
  16. Dean Wesley Smith
  17. Kevin J Anderson
  18. Laura Resnick

Runners-up include Chuck Wendig, Dorothy Grant, Ilona Andrews, Mike Caine, Daria Anne DiGiovanni, Patricia Wrede, William Gibson, Michelle Malkin, and Patrick Rothfuss (two self nominees were also in the comments, Stephanie Osborn and Misha Burnett).



48 responses to “18 Influential Voices in Literature on the Internet”

  1. I feel kind of silly nominating myself now. That;s a pretty high end group you’ve got there.

    1. Keep talking, you never know who’s listening, and they started out at one point, too!

  2. I don’t think you can discount John Scalzi or Orson Scott Card. Also, I think Prof. Reynolds…aka Instapundit…plugging of books is huge.

    1. Well, this is based on nominations and votes. Card was not mentioned at all, and Scalzi only by one person saying his contributions are not positive (a negative vote, I suppose). I agree with you, but it was interesting to see how the list came into shape.

    2. I really should have thought about Instapundit.

    3. The thing with Scalzi is writing online is about all he is good for anymore. His books have taken a nose dive after the second book in the Old Mans War series.

  3. Reblogged this on The Worlds of Tarien Cole and commented:
    I’ve heard a LOT more of these than the Times list. And I’m on the internet for hours a day. So it can’t be because I’m ‘isolated.’ Now admittedly the web is a big place. But these are bigger names, IMHO. And hence more influential.

  4. Instapundit does do book promotion, but honestly, I see him as political. And if I’m going that route (mainly political w/ an occasional lit bump), then you have to start saying Michelle Malkin, Ace of Spades, and the Other McCain as well. And then it starts reading like a Right-Wing blog roll instead of a literary alternative.

    So for me, the big choices missing would be Ilona Andrews and Jim Butcher. Not that Jim speaks about politics (though he has said he grew up Christian), but influential, writing, and his comments on forums and the internet are simply hilarious.

    1. I was trying not to influence the list, but yes, I didn’t want it to go all political. Ilona Andrews made the ‘one vote’ runner’s up. I suspect there are a lot of voices which get louder and softer in turns, I was hoping to capture an idea of who we think of when we think ‘positive movers and shakers’ rather than people who whine and are condescending.

      1. Yeah, so I would’ve said Ilona and JB are two names. Probably Neal Stephenson too, though him and GIbson not nearly as much now as 5 years ago even. Still, I see Neal on FB and Twitter all the time, and his interviews are fascinating, even if I haven’t really liked as much of his stuff lately as I did in the Cyberpunk through Baroque Cycle material.

  5. Dave Farland, about whom I didn’t think until just now, is a mentoring machine, I’m told. And his Kick In the Pants segments are solid writer training.

  6. Kris and Dean should literally own the list.

    1. Well, yes, probably… it was fascinating to see who people thought of first, and as second thoughts.

  7. Michael Stackpole and MadMike– Michael Z Williamson are both daily contributors to the internet and readers. First Mike with tech talk about odd things in the world (mostly via links and commentary). MadMike- hits hard with snark and no parties are safe if they do something stupid.

  8. I am proud to have been included on such an august list. Many of those people are my friends, my mentors, or my editors. Or some combination thereof. I think the literary crowd too often substitutes “Ought to be important to the discussion” for “actually is important to the discussion.”

    1. Yes, and I was casual about this at first, but gradually realized that this is important. Not that you *have* to listen to everything these people say, but they are valuable to have as mentors, advisors, and generally a good influence. I hope I’ve introduced a few people to one another today.

      1. It’s not that you have to listen to them. It’s that you should listen to them.

        At least, that’s my take.

  9. It is impossible for me to take any list seriously that includes a former pundit for the World Net Daily misogynistic homophobe like Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day). Unless by influential, you mean utterly wrong about nearly everything.

    1. It’s difficult for me to understand what you are suggesting. That I eliminate a name from the nominations and votes simply because he is disliked by some? I don’t play that way.

    2. sanfordbegley Avatar

      I see that by your choice of words that you have not been taught critical thinking. First lesson, anyone who uses words such as homophobe has shown themselves to be unable to think and simply attacks because their peer groups says to.

    3. The very fact that you have come here, to a blog I don’t ever remember you commenting on before, to voice your disdain shows how influential Vox is. Influential doesn’t necessarily mean everyone agrees with what a person says. I’ll add one more thing here. You comment also seems to suggest that you would have taken the list seriously if Cedar had ignored the number of nominations and tossed Vox off the list simply because he doesn’t meet your criteria for being “influential”. That smacks of double standard in and of itself.

    4. It’s virtually impossible to take anyone seriously who discounts a list of “influential” authors (meaning authors with significant influence) simply because it doesn’t conform to their own standards.

      So, tell me, where were you when this subject came up? Where were your nominations of influential writers?

      And, as for “utterly wrong about nearly everything”, clearly you misunderstand. This is a list of influential writers on the internet, not the Nebulas. I’m sure it’s a common misunderstanding. 🙂

  10. A much better list. I’ve at least heard of most of these people (unlike that other list). Thanks.

    1. You’re welcome, it was a pleasure to pull it together. Amazing what you can get when you ask people for their opinions 😀

  11. Agreed on the 35, no idea who they were, could have been the cast of Glee for all I know.

    1. I only know what Glee is because my daughter was into it for a while.

  12. daphnis Avatar

    Nobody is reading Vox Day’s blog for his opinions about literature.

    1. Really? You polled each and every person who reads his blog as to why they read it?

      Where can I read your published findings?

      1. daphnis Avatar

        Fact: People want to hear his opinions about non-whites and women, not craptacular stories set in generic fantasylands and thinly-veiled real world cultures. Vox couldn’t even be arsed to make vaguely French-sounding names and Roman-sounding names and just used real ones. That just shows how much effort he puts into his writing.

        1. Clamps, take it to his blog if you have a beef with him. Don’t make me ban you. Its late and I’m tired.

          1. Ah, didn’t realize it was him before I commented. Of course, he’s a sad little man. Always has been, always will be.

          2. daphnis Avatar

            Uhhh, because he stalks and doxes people who say anything negative about his crappy blog for jerks.

            1. Doxes people such as Andrew Marston, who in addition to trolling blogs also volunteers at the New England Wildlfe Center and recently had his telephone number in Marshfield, MA delisted? People like that?

              And you know, Andrew, constantly changing your name from Yama to Christine to Daphnis serves absolutely no purpose when you always write exactly the same thing everywhere you go.

            2. Seriously, you’d think someone who’s been trolling as long as he has would be better at it by now.

        2. First, putting “Fact:” in front of something doesn’t actually make it a fact.

          Second, you said no one went their for Vox’s literary works. “No one”. So, I ask again, did you poll each and every person who visits his site to determine why the go there?

          No? Kind of what I thought.

          1. daphnis Avatar

            Well, who actually did read Opera Vita Aeterna and thought “This Vox Day chap is a brilliant writer, maybe I should start reading his blog?”

            1. Don’t know. Haven’t read it. But I’ve heard a lot of people who liked it, and a lot who hated it.

              For the third time, have you actually asked everyone there why they go there? If the answer is “no”, then you’re talking out your nether regions.

  13. […] the Sci-Fi writing world’s rooting, tooting, gun shooting right wing authors to come up with an alternative list of writers that also look rather like the author’s friends on twitter. Hmmm…I sense a trend […]

  14. Given that I don’t even have a blog, being on this list suggests to me that my friends are correct when they tell me I tend to talk too much…

    1. I know I see you at Passive Voice, and on Facebook a lot. I did wonder why I couldn’t find a blog link, though!

      1. Overhauling my website (and including a blog) has been on my To Do list for two years. This is the pace at which I tend to accomplish things…

  15. I’m very surprised not to see David Gaughran on this list. I read everything he blogs, he does well-reasoned and well-researched pieces about complex publishing topics, and he has a big blog readership.

    1. There were a lot of names omitted which surprised me, but I was trying to just take what was given and not influence it too much. I should do a follow-up list, but I’ll wait until after the article that is scheduled for later today at PJMedia comes out, should be interesting to see that response as well. I was asked to write a follow-up with explanations and brief bio information for the top ten here.

  16. […] wrote a follow-up to my 18 Influential Voices article, and it was published over at PJMedia in the Book Plug Friday column. The follow up […]

  17. Kev McVeigh Avatar
    Kev McVeigh

    I didn’t see a call for nominations so couldn’t nominate people I think are important voices. I wonder how many people are like me?
    This is the problem with lists like this, they tend to self-reinforcing because your readership will overlap with a significant number of these bloggers but not perhaps with a number of other influential bloggers.

    1. Kev McVeigh Avatar
      Kev McVeigh

      It is I note a list that largely tends to the Right and Far Right politically.

    2. And, unlike the list this one was inspired by, it doesn’t claim to be all encompassing. Note the title: 18 Influential Voices in Literature on the Internet. It’s not “The 18 Most Influential”, just “18 Influential”.

      See the difference?