Railroad Publishing Fiction—Three Stories From The Trenches

For Tracking the Light, I thought I’d prepare some practical tips on how to improve your odds of getting photos published.

As a prelude, I wrote these three short fictional episodes. The characters are all completely made-up, and the scenarios are all imagined. However if you read between the lines, you might find useful a hint to the reality of the matter . . .

Episode 1


In the Editorial Offices for Über-Art & Railway Journal, the phone rings:

Editor-in-chief, Hello production office, ÜA&RJ enterprises.

Contributor 1, Yo! You need rail pics? I’ve got tons of rail pics.

Editor, Well, we only do one issue a year, and we’re all set through 2018, but what do you have in mind?

Contributor 1, I’ve got lots of wedgies! Every kind of wedgie you’d ever want from the greater Tri-State area!

Editor, Which states are those?

Contributor 1, What? You don’t know? I thought you guys knew it all! The three Biggies! If you want wedgies from the Biggies, I’m your guy.

Editor, We really haven’t had a lot of call for that sort of thing. Maybe you have some glinting rails at sunset?

Contributor 1, Hell no! Don’t waste pixels on that sort rubbish!

Editor, Ok, well, maybe some abstract architectural images?

Contributor 1, No way. Just Wedgies Mac. Three-Quarter Wedgies. That’s what I’ve got. Only the best.

Editor, Right, right, ok so, maybe some pastoral scenery in the background?

Contributor 1, Nope. I crop that stuff out.

Editor, Hmm, well, I think we’re all set. Lots of photos here already. And did I mention, we’re all set through 2028? Oh my, look at the time! Thank you for calling ÜA&RJ enterprises!

 Episode 2

CV Ry Alco S4 at Palmer Jul 13 1986 loco enroute to Boston for NRHS convention Brian Solomon 662720

At the Paste-up desk for All-Engines Magazine.

Art Director, We’ve got issues here! Page 67 needs an effin’ picture and alls we got here is words!

Junior Assistant Editorial Intern, I’m on it boss. I’ll get you a picture right a way. What do you want.

Art Director, Don’t be pestering me with trivia Boy! Just get me an effin’ picture, pronto!

Junior Assistant Editorial Intern, On it boss! Not to worry.

Assistant Layout Artist, Try calling that guy that was around last week, he has all kinds of pictures.

One minute later, down the hall, phone wedged in his ear;

Junior Assistant Editorial Intern, Hey Bud, are you the fellow that has all the Engine-pics?

Contributor 2, Um, well I prefer the term Photographs, but yeah.

Junior Assistant Editorial Intern, Great! Well Bud this is your LUCKY day. Here at A-E Magazine we are looking for your shi . . I mean Photographs. Can you Email me a photo of an engine ASAP. Might use it . . . like on the cover, or something.

Contributor 2, Really? Wow! That’s great! I’ve a shot of an old Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 making lots of steam in front of the Strasburg depot, will that do?

Junior Assistant Editorial Intern, Hold the line Bud, lemme find out . . .

Hand covering phone, the JAEI shouts down the hall, I’ve a got a guy with some-kind of steam engine pic near a station someplace, will that work?

Assistant Layout Artist, See if he has a diesel. Something a bit wedgie-like.

Junior Assistant Editorial Intern, Hey Bud, that steam ain’t gonna cut it, got any diesels?

Contributor 2, Diesels. Oh yes, I’ve got those. A great shot of a Conrail C32-8 bursting out of the State Line . . .

Junior Assistant Editorial Intern, He’s got a Conrail!

Assistant Layout Artist, Get it here, like yesterday!

Junior Assistant Editorial Intern, Hey Bud, that Conrail, that’s what we here at A-E Magazine are looking for. Send that over ASAP! Thanks Bud!

  Episode 3

An Email Exchange:

From: AspiringTrainPhotographer671@SuperRwyDude.dpn

To: Editorinchief@railwayremember.publishing

Dear Sir,

I’m inquiring as your needs and requirements for submission to your publications. I have in my collection a wide range of railway images from across South America, Mongolia, and Iceland, plus a complete photographic roster of every extant railway bridge on the former Cork, Bandon & South Coast. I love your magazine. Last month’s article on the Mallets of Mexico was by far the best treatment on the subject I’ve ever read! Kudos on a job well done. I look forward to hearing from you.



From: Editorinchief@railwayremember.publishing

To: AspiringTrainPhotographer671@SuperRwyDude.dpn

Cc: Editorinchief@SouthernHemisphereRails.publishing

Dear ATP,

You timing is perfect. We are preparing a story on railway bridges in Cork for our September 2016 issue. Please send a sample of your material as soon as you can. If you have any vertical views of the Chetwynd Viaduct please send them along, we might find space for those. Also, I’ve forwarded your contact details to the editor of our sister magazine, Southern Hemisphere Rails. You may wish to send them a sample of your work at your leisure.

Yours Truly,

James P. Ledger, Esquire.

The Chetwynd Viaduct, Cork.
The Chetwynd Viaduct, Cork.

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