Sunday, May 19, 2019

His First (and Maybe Last) Byline in Trains Magazine

It only took seven years (or more).

That was my first thought after reading the end of an article by William S. Kuba in the January, 2019 issue of Trains Magazine.

The article was about the time Kuba went AWOL from the army while watching trains.

At the end of the article, it was noted that Kuba, a railroad photographer and historian known for his photos of Iowa railroading, had died Nov. 23, 2012 at the age of 75.

It also said this was his first Trains byline.

That means it took at least seven years before his article was published.

So congratulations to Kuba—it isn’t easy to get published in Trains.

Too bad he isn’t alive to see it.

Cover of the January issue with
William Kuba's article.

Now, before anyone jumps up and down on the staff at Trains, as I have written about before (about the Model Railroader cover “curse”) there’s a perfectly good explanation for this.

Magazines like Trains, Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman and others can receive dozens of unsolicited submissions each year.

With just 12 issues per year, limited space in print, and commitments to columnist, regular departments and assigned articles, they can use only a fraction of them.

And so they sit—until there’s room, it fits a theme, there’s a page or space to fill, or an expected article drops out for some reason.

I have some experience with this as an author. An article I wrote about a scenery method for Model Railroader waited four years before being published.

On the plus side, it was paid for right away when the magazine accepted it.

In that time, anything could have happened to me or my layout. (Leading to speculation about the “curse.”)

I also know this from the other side, when I was Associate Editor at Canadian Railway Modeller. 

Since CRM was bi-monthly, that magazine had an even bigger challenge when it came to space. Articles could wait a long time before being published. (Although never seven years!)

Of course, that’s no consolation for poor William S. Kuba. (Although he at least got his payment before he died.)

Who knows? Maybe Trains has another article or two from him, waiting to be used. Maybe he will be published posthumously again.

At least he made it into Trains Magazine. And that’s not something most of us can say—dead or alive.

1 comment:

  1. I Know folks who waited years to get published in MR. I myself waited over 6 months just to hear that my article did not me their current needs.