Submitting to MR and MRC?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by TruckLover, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    hi guys, I have been thinking and, have any of you on here ever submitted anything to MR (Model Railroader) or MRC (Model Railroad Craftsmen)?

    I am thinking about submitting my plans from my M&ET modules and doing a sorta article that would have part 1 (plans), part 2 (some modules completed with pictures), part 3 (some more modules with pics), and part 4 (the final modules) This of coarse would be over the coarse of a couple years as i progress in building them....

    I have basically used Google Earth and Google Maps "Street View" to re-create the M&ET and some of the industries it serves using the prototype. These are my plans to build from.

    So anyone ever submitted to these mags before? Is it hard to get in? Do you think this plan could make it to the big mags and get published?
  2. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Good luck with that.
    Model Railroader does have a link on their website(, that'll tell what you need to submitt an article.
    Just a warning and personal experience..Been rejected from Model Railroader three times. Thats why I came up with the idea for the E-Mag. Others here have also been rejected(Not what we are looking for at this time).
    You could give it a shot, but I don't want you to get you're hopes up. I know of only a couple folks that were members here that actually have gotten published. Shamus(Paul Templar..RIP), and one other. But that was cause Paul helped him. I forget what the magazine was, but it definitly wasn't Model Railroader, or Model Railroad Craftsman.
  3. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks for the reply Ed

    i had a feeling it would not be an easy task to try and get in and get it published lol

    Ill give it a shot tho :mrgreen:
  4. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    This is what i will write and send to the staff at MR to see if they could use an article or 2 like this:

    Dear MR staff,

    My name is Josh Mader and i am in the planning stages of building Modules using the Free-Mo Module style. I am basing my modules on the Modesto & Empire Traction Company located in Modesto, California. The M&ET serves a 5 mile stretch of track in the Beard Industrial District between the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Mainline and the Union Pacific Mainline (within this 5 mile stretch of track is an additional 28 miles of yard tracks, sidings....). I have created plans for 24 modules (each of them being 60" long x 18-30" wide) which all connect together to make a layout to fill a 40' x 30' space if all connected together at one time. Of coarse, using the Free-Mo Module Style Construction Method allows you to not have them all connected at once and still operate sections of the layout at a time.

    I have created a trackplan for the M&ET using Images from Google Earth and Google Maps "Street View" to surf up and down the streets in the Beard Industrial District to get details of building placements, building names and companies occupying the buildings, street names and locations, M&ET tracks and yards, the Transload Facility that the M&ET serves, and also the BNSF/ M&ET Interchange Yard. I've done this all in a program called Empire Express (for Mac's). It uses a simple track design similar to articles in MR. I've drawn out buildings and roads in there prototypical locations and such. All buildings and roads are marked and labeled, and the use of different colors helps distinguish buildings, mainlines, yards, roads.....

    I have posted my plans on a few Model Railroad Forums and have gotten great comments on the plan, saying it would be worthy to give it a shot and see if i could get it into MR. I think this trackplan would be a great and useful resource to someone looking to model the M&ET, or just looking for an idea to model realistic operation based on a prototype Shortline Railroad.

    My plans for this article is to show the planning of the trackplan, and also building some Free-Mo Modules following the Free-Mo Module Standards. This would be article number one (1) If there is an interest and you guys could use something like this, i would continue to submit a couple more articles (was thinking part 1 - part 4 spread out over the coarse of a couple years) showing progress and completion of a few modules at a time, showing the operations and finished photos of the modules, connected and operating together showing details like up-close shots of details on select buildings, scenery, and switching operations.

    I have included a printout of the trackplan for the M&ET that i have come up with. is this something you guys would consider doing and publishing?

    Thank-you for your time and i look forward to hearing back from the staff at MR

    Josh Mader

    It says on the submission page that you should submit a "short letter of inquiry describing what you want to do." How does this inquiry sound?
  5. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I submitted a track plan for the Track Planning Contest to MRR. The deadline was October 31st and I won't know anything until they publish the May issue. Cross your fingers for me.
  6. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Crap lol, i think that would have been a good contest for me to enter lol

    anyways Good Luck Trainnut :thumb: :mrgreen:
  7. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Good luck guys! Hoping to see you in the model magazine pages!
  8. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    While I have no personal experience in submitting anything for publication in these or any other magazines, I do know that most publications have certain guidelines which you should follow. If these are not actually published in the magazine itself, I'm sure you can request them from the publisher.
  9. jesso

    jesso Member

    One of the guys in my club was published on Model Railroader. It was part of a contest and he had to submit pictures and the article. It was in the November issue.

    Here is the article info:
    Rebuild a scene after moving
    By James Harper
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I would recommend that you just submit part one as a track plan concept. I suspect that if you submit it as a possible 4 part article with parts 2,3,&4 being done as you get modules built, you can expect them to probably reject it without looking at it. The only way to get the 4 part series looked at or published is to submit all 4 parts completed at once. As was mentioned earlier, what they publish is determined by what they have decided they want to cover in the future. The magazines also pay $300.00 for each article published (at least they did 5 years ago, it may be more now). They won't pay for anything less than professional quality work. Make sure your spelling, grammar, and punctuation is perfect. Needless to say you will need to get the names of all of the industries you want to model, and it might be worthwhile to make a trip to Modesto to get photographs of the industries and locomotives and rolling stock. Not only will such a trip give you valuable insights on what to model and how to do it, but it will also give the magazine some pictures to go with the article. As you build the modules, you can photograph them and write future articles to submit. You might get the original article published in MR with the articles on building the modules published in RMC. Just remember that the modules and their photography as well as accompanying text must also be of professional quality standards. If you look at the photographs of model railroads in the magazines, you will notice that the pictures show either dedicated layout rooms, or the shots are so tight that nothing extraneous shows up in the picture. You won't see a window behind a scene, or a post holding up the roof of your house, or anything else that is out of scale in the pictures. When dioramas are shot out doors for "Trackside Photos", notice that any background trees are distant enough to look like background to the layout, not out of scale. Unless you are doing a scene where track workers are in the process of rerailing a locomotive or car, all of the wheels should be on the track. Photographs are very unforgiving. We may overlook flaws with the naked eye, but the camera will reveal every single flaw in a scene. The Gauge community is very forgiving of one another's pictures. We enjoy seeing the layouts that others are building, and if there are out of scale things like an air conditioner in a window, somebody's bedroom furniture, or other distractions in the pictures, we overlook it and enjoy the model railroad that someone is sharing with us. The magazines will not be forgiving. They want everything perfect for publication. Look at the pictures on the Gauge of scenes from Dr Wayne's layout. Go to the Academy and look at the pictures in "Shamus Narrow Gauge World". We may think those are outstanding pictures, but to the magazines they are not. For publication that sort of quality is the minimum required by the magazines.
  11. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks Everyone :mrgreen:

    Thanks for the advise Russ. I GREATLY appreciate it :mrgreen: I am going to edit my inquiry and take out the parts about doing parts of these articles. i think that is some good advise to submit all the modules at once, even though that very well may be a few years down the line :thumb:

    I read on MR that if they pay for your article, its $90 per column... and thats includeing pictures, thats pretty good lol

    Its becoming more and more of a necessity to get my butt down there and spend the day down there to snap off some valuable pics. It would also allow me to get those industries that i cannot for the life of me find the names for wall1 :rolleyes: lol

    That is some more excellent advise Russ, thank-you very much. I will most likely be taking the pictures of these modules outdoors in natural light. If not, ill have to do tight shots with eye pleasing backdrops...
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Another possibility doesn't pay anything, but does get you the credit needed for the published author certificate towards the Master Model Railroader award is to submit an article for Scale Rails, the magazine of the NMRA. It used to be little more than a pamphlet with a lot of advertising rather than a legitimate magazine, and when the NMRA gave members choice to opt out and save $12.00 per year I opted out. A couple of years ago, Steve Priest became the editor/publisher of Scale Rails, and it is now comparable to any monthly magazine on the market.
  13. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    If you're a first time contributor you need to have something finished to show them. They won't sign on for an article from an unknown, especially on model building. Your best bet would be to submit a finished plan with text for the first article. If they buy it and publish it then when you've made some progress on building the layout you can approach them again for subsequent articles. It would also help your cause to address the letter to the editor by name. What he's looking for in the letter is an explanation on why people would want to read your story, and there are any number of "right" answers for that.
  14. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks for the tip Russ, ill think about submitting to them :mrgreen:
  15. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    This is now what i plan on doing. Submitting a plan with text explaining the plan, the prototype, and some prototype pictures from the real M&ET.

    How do i know what the editor's name is? lol

    You've given me some good things to consider when writing the inquiry to them. Im going to revise my inquiry and talk more about why people would want to read more about the story and the plan....
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Couple more thoughts for you...

    If you submit anything anywhere, consider it gone as well. You will not be able to publish something in MR that was previously published, even if you didn't get paid. One, no one wants "old news", and two, your submission(s) may become the property of the organization you submitted it to. Photo-hosting sites have policies on this (don't know if the new owners of The Gauge do (, so you may lose or compromise your rights just by uploading.

    While The Gauge is a forgiving site, we will be critical if that's what you want...! ;) But you might be better to find a copy editor, or someone with a very critical eye to go over your text.

    While Russ' advice on the photos is generally correct, I do remember one specific one of Wayne and Bill Reid's N scale layout with a huge (i.e. full size) pencil in the foreground! :eek:

    Overall - get to know your target. If you don't know the name of the editor, or the submission process. go find out for yourself... Don't take our word for it, we've been known to be wrong...! ;) :D And look at a few years' worth of (recent) back issues. What MR wants these daysis quite different from the 1980s...

    If you plan to use company names, photos of their buildings, etc in any article, you would be best to get permission beforehand. So on your trip down there, stop in and tell them what you're up to. At least that way, their security won't want to "detain" you or your camera.

    Lastly, my friend Mike Hamer would say anyone can do it... He was in MR's MRP 2001, and GMR 2004.

    Good luck!

  17. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Let's take another stab at this.

    I left out a rather important point before. Do not tell him you've posted the plan online. You might even want to take it down. An editor doesn't want to pay you for content that's free elsewhere. That doesn't sell magazines.

    As for the editor's name, the obvious answer would be to look at the magazine itself. If you're not a regular reader it's very difficult to gauge what an editor will be interested in. You can always ask, but no diplomatic editor will ever turn away a submission. An editor would rather look at something he's not interested in and pass on it later than turn off a future author before he ever gets started. You have to watch the magazine with a discerning eye to know what he wants to run.
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You can find the editorial staff all named on the page listing editors and advertising execs. probably one or two pages past the table of contents in the magazine you are interested in submitting to. If you submit and are rejected, ask them for a clarification of ownership of the manuscript. If they reject it, does the ownership rights return to you, or do you relinquish all ownership rights by the act doing a submission. Also, you can inquire if they would be interested in the article you want to do before you do it. In effect "float" your idea for the article to them before you actually submit it. Have the material written and ready for them first, before you contact them. If they are interested, they won't want to wait for you to then do your research and write it up. If they are interested, they will want the material in hand by return mail asap.
  19. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

  20. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Wasn't too long ago, a member here(I forgot who) submitted some great pics for Model Railroaders Trackside Photos, and got rejected. Model Railroader is very descerning when it comes to who submitts. They seem to have a "exclusive membership" as far as folks they allow to submitt pics and articles. Granted, I consider it a class act as far as a magazine(Yeah, I said that. Even after being rejected three times), but not that classy that they can't have the "average Joe modeller" submitt something once in awhile
    But I do remember one Product Review on a loco they were doing. The pic they had published, one wheel was off the rail.(Ooops)

    So much for class.......

Share This Page