1. Why are you called ‘Silkworms Ink’?

The marsh-folk of Benin, in the 1200s, paid respect to the silkworm as the bringer of good fortune; before a wedding, it was customary for the bride to bring the village’s silkworm colony a ceremonial yam. The role of the silkworm-shepherd, therefore, was prized indeed, though it carried a certain ominousness with it – if the shepherd, out of idleness, allowed his colony to be consumed by gulls, he would be ritually flayed with the hide of a puff adder. The ‘Ink’ part is a typo.

2. What high profile writers have you worked with before?

We aren’t all about seeking out big names – in fact, this website was built on the backs of unknown writers and their lovely unknown writing. However, in our short time on the literary landscape we have had the pleasure of publishing works by David Morley, George Szirtes, Todd Swift, Roddy Lumsden, Jon Stone, Luke Kennard, Jack Underwood, Sam Riviere, Tom Chivers, Liz Berry, Ahren Warner and Peter Blegvad.

3. Can I buy any of your chapbooks in shops?

At present, Silkworms is an exclusively online presence and our top priority is providing high-quality accessible content online at a low price. There will be certain bench-mark moments however, where we commemorate the progress of the site with anthologies and pamphlets which will be available in some sort of hard-copy form.

4. Will I make money by publishing online?

Online or otherwise, the amount of money made by poets is always exceptionally small (unless you manage to wangle your way onto the GCSE syllabus!) so please do not expect this to be the fast-track to your millions. We do, however, give you a very generous percentage of the net profits made on every copy of your book sold – if you sell well then you can expect a decent return. From this perspective, we recommend that you take an active part in marketing your work. For information regarding Live Events, please see our specific guidelines.

5. When will I know if my submission has been accepted?

As with any publisher, patience is key. We are a dedicated, hard-working team but please bear in mind that we get a lot of submissions every month and we have to read through them all outside of work hours. We aim to get back to you within 30 days of receiving your submission.

6. How long does my submission need to be?

Thanks to the wonders of online publishing, we can accept submissions of practically any length. Shorter pieces are likely to be published as part of a chapbook anthology while longer pieces or whole collections may well be published by themselves.

7. Can my submission have been published elsewhere?

We would rather that you didn’t submit to us something that is already available in its entirety elsewhere, but you are more than welcome to submit to us work that has been partially published before in anthologies and magazines. We certainly encourage the submission of selections from forthcoming full collections.

8. Can I send you a submission that I’ve also sent elsewhere?

We do accept simultaneous submissions, though we’d ask that you mention this in your covering letter and let us know promptly if you’re withdrawing your submission because it’s been accepted elsewhere. We do not always require exclusivity.

9. Do you accept speculative submissions?

Yes, depending on their validity and content. Initially, we expect all submissions of Live Events proposals, and probably Music As Reading projects, to be speculative.

10. Who owns the rights to my work?

In most cases you still own the copyright to all of your original work and are free to submit it/include it in other publications. However, we reserve the right to use your work in subsequent anthologies and re-issues on the website. For a more detailed breakdown, see ‘Terms & Conditions’.