Submission Guidelines

First, make sure you want to submit to the Worm

What is this?

The Inflated Graveworm is a quarterly zine centered on "dark" fiction. It has limited print distribution centered in Lakewood, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland). The zine is available free in select stores in Lakewood, Ohio, and issues can also be purchased online in print or as an epub file. Current print/distribution run is 400 (200 copies in print and 200 copies as an epub file).

           

What does it pay?

A nominal fee and 2 print copies of "your" issue: Fees are paid upon publication in USD using Venmo. Copies of "your" issue are mailed to you via USPS.

What rights do you acquire?

First North American serial rights, including limited digital rights to produce a finite number of epub copies of each issue. All rights revert to the creator upon publication.

What's your circulation?

Issues are currently limited to 200 copies in print and 200 copies distributed digitally in the epub format. Issues are not reproduced online as part of the content of a website.

Do you accept simultaneous submissions?

Yes, but if your work is accepted by us, it must be removed from consideration for other publications. Similarly, if your work is accepted by another publication, you must remove it from consideration by us.

Do you accept reprints?

No. Unless your work has only appeared in printed, self-published collections of your own work. We will never reprint anything that has appeared, or is otherwise available, online.

What about AI?

Do not submit AI-generated or AI-assisted work. It will be rejected no matter how good it is. And yes, there are plenty of tools to help us check human origin. If your work is rejected for concerns of AI-generation and you know it to be 100% human, take that as feedback that you need to develop a more original voice or vision that doesn't seem like AI.

Do I need a cover letter?

No. In fact, please don't include one at all. Honestly, we don't care who you are, what awards you've won, or where you've been published before. We care about content. If we like it, we'll publish it, regardless of who or how awesome you are. But do make sure your contact info is on your submission (and be sure to include an email address).

How long will it take to hear back?

Honestly, as soon as possible... but it could be up to 2 months. It depends how big our backlog is. We review submissions on a first-in/first-out basis. If the backlog gets too big, we will temporarily close to new submissions so we can clear it out.


Submit to the Worm

When in doubt, send it anyway. The worst thing that can happen is we don't want to use it.

How do I submit?

Submissions are accepted electronically by uploading the appropriate file to our Dropbox. Details are in the specific guidelines below.

Include the following info on the first page of text submissions, or as a clearly legible watermark on artwork:

Click the corresponding button to save your submission to our Dropbox.

Fiction guidelines

Fiction must be 4500 words or less. It must be dark fiction. "Dark" is ghost stories and tales of unexpected or supernatural things. Think less blood and gore, more mood and atmosphere. If the point of your story is people dying, we probably won't like it. But if your story is about how people deal with being dead, that could interest us. We're fans of HP Lovecraft and The Twilight Zone, if that helps.

Compensation: $40 flat fee per story (paid upon publication)

Accepted file formats: RTF (rich text format). Include your byline and the title of the work in the file name.

Include your byline and email on the first page of your submission.

Art guidelines

At this time, we are only interested in cover art. The zine cover size is 5.5" x 8.5".

Black-and-white artwork ONLY. No AI art. If we suspect AI was used, we won't accept it. We want art made by humans. Artwork has to be "dark" and it also has to be captivating enough to make someone pick up the zine. Think less blood and gore, more mood and atmosphere.

Compensation: $30 flat fee per cover (paid upon publication)

Accepted file formats: JPG or PDF. Include your byline and the title of the work in the file name.

Include your byline and email as a clearly legible watermark in a corner of the image (if we accept your image we will request a new file that meets our print specs).

Non-fiction guidelines

Non-fiction must be reviews of books, music, art, internet channels, or other indie media that will appeal to a "dark fiction" audience. We do not accept interviews at this time because we cannot authenticate facts and quotes. Word counts are 900 words or less, but it will be easier to convince us to print it if you stick to 450 words or less. Reviews should be positive, but that doesn't mean you can't provide constructive criticism. Keep in mind that we not only have to like your writing, we also have to want to promote the thing you're reviewing.

Compensation: $20 flat fee per article (paid upon publication)

Accepted file formats: RTF (rich text format). Include your byline and the title of the work in the file name.

Include your byline and email on the first page of your submission.

Poetry guidelines

Poetry should be emotional and pensive, not socio-political. Our favorite poets are Wayne Dodd, Ellen Bass, Rilke, and Baudelaire. Submit up to 3 poems at once, but no more. If you submit more than 3 poems, we will only consider the first 3 poems.

Compensation: $10 flat fee per poem (paid upon publication)

Accepted file formats: RTF (rich text format). Include your byline and the title of the work in the file name.

Include your byline and email on the first page of your submission.

Issues

Current

Winter 2023 (#25)

Summer 2003 (#24)

Spring 2003 (#23)

Winter 2003 (#22)

Autumn 2002 (#21)

Submit to the Worm!

Send us your dark fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and artwork and we may print it!

submission guidelines