2017 sees me taking on a project of a different kind. After years of sharing stories and advice with other aspiring writers, I wanted to oversee a project that in turn could provide readers with something more than just a few words of encouragement. That project is The Railway Poets Collective, an open invitation not just to readers of my blog, but to poets around the world who would like to submit an original poem of their own work, with the theme of trains or train travel.
Having published four collections of my own poetry in between working on various other novels and non-fiction titles over the past decade, I know how hard it is to promote your own work, and how frustrating it can be when no-one seems to care about it. Especially when it comes to poetry. I've heard it said many times, that everyone has at least one novel inside them. When it comes to poetry however, I believe that everyone has a lifetime of poems just lurking in the back of their mind. Try publishing a book of poetry however, and unless you can find a way to excel at performing stand-up poetry or win a national award, no-one is ever going to hear of your work, and it will be left to family and friends to buy nothing more than a couple of dozen copies.
Originally I had planned to release a collection of my own railway poetry in 2017, but then I thought of how much even I would rather enjoy sitting down to read a compilation of railway poems penned by different poets offering different views of trains from around the world. The problem was, there isn't any such book that I am aware of. So I am going to compile my own, and you Dear Reader have the opportunity to have your name included on the front cover.
In submitting your poem for consideration, there are a number of points I would like to clarify. So please read the following points first, as submitting you poem for consideration will be a form of acknowledging that you agree to the terms.
- I can only accept works which are both 100% original and your own. The rights to the poem will remain 100% your property at all times, even after being published in this book, meaning that you are free to include them in any of your own published poetry books in the future.
- The poem must be to the best understanding of the reader, railway related and communicate the common theme of trains or train travel. Please keep the line length to between 24 to no more than 84 lines to help with book formatting.
- The submitted poem must be written in English. Australian poems will be kept in Australian English just as American poems will be kept in American English to preserve the theme of each individual work.
- The submitted poem cannot be one which has been previously published by a commercially or legally recognized publishing label, both small or otherwise. Previous independently published poems that have been released solely under your own name by means of Smashwords or any other self-publishing method, will however be considered. Please make mention of this in your submission and I can even give a free plug to where your other work is available within the book. It is after all, your poem.
- The submitted poem cannot be one which has already appeared in another poetry or writing anthology or magazine. If someone else has already been kind enough to publish your work, then please show them the respect by not submitting the same poem to another publication.
- The submitted poem cannot be one which has been the recipient of a major or commercially sponsored prize or award. Although the legal rights to the work in question may still legally be yours, my including it in this compilation aren't. If you are that talented and still would like to be included in this compilation, then please send me something fresh.
- Absolutely, positively no crude, suggestive, vulgar language or innuendo. You may use whatever language you'd like as an artist in your other work, but I'm looking for a collection of railway poems that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
- The finished book will be compiled and produced by myself before being published in printed form and distributed through Blurb, with each book being printed and shipped from either Melbourne Australia, San Francisco U.S.A., or The Netherlands. An eBook version will also be produced through Smashwords for upload through their premium distribution channel to the likes of Kobo, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes & Noble and Fnac.com in France. Unfortunately there is no guarantee which, or if any, of these channels choose to make the book available for sale. The author's name on this book will appear as Compiled by Phillip Overton, without this the book cannot be legally distributed through any sales channels. The names of each poet will appear on the front cover (shown above) in lieu of the words Your Name. For those unsure of the finished quality, please browse the Books page on this blog to sample the other eBooks and full colour print books that have been produced by myself.
- Unfortunately, no payment will be provided for any entry which is included in this compilation. A free code to download the eBook from Smashwords will be forwarded to each person whose work is included, and printed copies will be available for purchase online through Blurb. Submitting your poem also waives any right or claim to any commission generated from the future sales of this book. I'm envisioning sales of between 100 and 200 copies from this compilation with a projected retail price of between $5 and $6 AUD for, (at maximum), a 64 page 13 x 24 cm trade quality paperback book. (Believe me, I'm not going to get rich for the amount of time that this project will consume!). Any subsequent future compilations of The Railway Poets Collective may include a free printed copy mailed as a form of payment, pending solely on the success of this compilation.
- Email your poem for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org using the words Poetry Submission - (followed by) Your Name in the heading. Please attach your poem in word.doc format making sure the title and your name are at the top of the page. Using 12 point font will help greatly.
So, seasoned poets and first-time poets alike, I hope that the coming months see a flow of great railway poems arrive in my inbox. Please remember that this is not a contest. There is no First Prize, just the opportunity for 20 poets to be selected in The Railway Poets Collective. Those unsuccessful may be notified and kept on file in the chance that there is a second Railway Poets Collective published in the future. I'm sure that this book will become a highly collectible book by poets and railway enthusiasts alike. So best of luck, and get to it!