ZEAL IS CURRENTLY DEFUNCT. THE SUBMISSION GUDIELINES SHALL REMAIN OPEN FOR ARCHIVE PURPOSES, HOWEVER, CONTACT INFORMATION HAS BEEN REMOVED.
Due to the number of submissions we receive, can’t always reply to or accept every submission we get. Our apologies! We often will work with writers on pitches, especially if we like your work, but responses are not a guarantee of publication. Please check these guidelines thoroughly, as we’re much more likely to respond if we can tell you read them and are on board for what ZEAL is all about.
And for extra credit, be sure to check out our Strategy Guide for articles from ZEAL editor J Bearhat.
What does a good pitch look like?
All pitches should describe the full scope of what you’d like to do (especially if it’s beyond what we usually do — but we absolutely love stuff like that so we encourage you to pitch it!) and why it would be interesting to readers and a good fit for ZEAL. If you’ve done some writing before, we’d love to see a link to it, too! Pitches should be no more than a paragraph in length, and let us know what is new and original about your topic, what your angle is, and what’s interesting and exciting about it!
We like to hear about comics and games that are rarely discussed, but we’d also like to hear you discuss them in ways that are fresh and new too. ZEAL’s had highly analytical features on Sonic Adventure’s broken geometry and level design, and lyric essays on Tove Jansson’s Moomin comics combining biography, personal reminiscence, and the author’s own drawings.
We’re really open to working with people who are new to writing or don’t consider themselves writers, but we do want you have an idea of substance you can execute on. Familiarity with our magazine is a must for knowing what would make a good fit, so please at least skim through to get a sense of it.
If you’re a bit unsure, or want to make sure you avoid common issues with pitches, we’ve put together a handy “strategy guide” for developing a good piece, complete with heavy links to comics and articles that touch on what we love to see at ZEAL!
What makes a good fit for criticism on ZEAL?
ZEAL does what other games criticism don’t. We’re interested in writing on games that are not generally the target of serious criticism; games that are too weird, too bad, too forgotten, and too anime. We’re also into writing that doesn’t fit in the bounds of what’s normal for games criticism — we like revisionist fanfiction and close readings of art and design by people who know what they’re talking about. We’re less stoked, but potentially still interested, in literary analysis of games or personal narratives involving games, because those forms of writing are well represented in many other places. We love to have personal angles, but we love those best when they’re informed by understanding of artistic work too.
What makes a good fit for comics on ZEAL?
ZEAL loves anything short and oddly shaped that might have a hard time finding a home anywhere else. We love comics about games, but aren’t only interested in that. We want comics that feel the same way ZEAL does; sustainable, diverse, smart, and extremely powerful.
What stipulations do you have for work that is published on ZEAL? Do I retain copyright?
We publish original work only (if it’s previously published on your blog, it’s not eligible unless you’ve done substantial revision). We retain no rights to it unless specified; we just ask we get to host it exclusively for a month, and to continue to host it on ZEAL’s website.
We publish all of our work on Medium, so you’ll need a Medium account to submit, which is free and easily obtainable. After your submission is accepted, we’ll ask you to submit a draft that we will edit on there (while jumping through a few of Medium’s annoying hoops).
What do you pay?
We pay $100 for 2–3k words of writing (negotiable).
We pay $100–150 (negotiable) for original illustrations for promotion or article illustrations depending on your rates and our budget (we don’t currently have open submissions for original art).
We pay $150-$200 (negotiable) for comics depending on your rates and our budget.
If you’re doing something high ambitious and original (or would like to illustrate your own article) we can discuss applicable rates. If you’re making something REALLY big, we’d prefer to scale down work or put that work in installments so that we can work within our monthly patreon budget (and give you a fair cut!).