Writers wanting a free ride

Ok, I won’t lie. This is an amazing idea. Amtrack is offering free residency for one of their long rides. It’s a program which on a rolling basis which accepts promising new writers! The form is quick and easy to fill out (yes I might be filling it out right now! ) so why not give it a try! Maybe you can be the next great traveling writer. ๐Ÿ™‚

* Note, as in the comments, it’s been noted that what you submit can be (though may not be) used by Amtrak. I always suggest writing pieces specifically for contests. In short, don’t give a piece that you are supper attached to/don’t want them using. ๐Ÿ™‚



24 comments on “Writers wanting a free ride

  1. Have they updated their submission rules yet? I think they were in process of doing so due to concerns about their original rights-grab of all written materials submitted to them (as in, if you submitted your writing, Amtrack could do what it pleased with it–including sell it–without paying the writer a thing).

    I, too, think it’s a great idea, but don’t wish to donate my writing to them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I wouldn’t think of it as a donation but rather as a business exchange, it’s pretty standard with most writing contests, though if you are worried, I’d write a piece just for them! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • It isn’t standard for a mere *submission* to become the company’s sole property. Under the current rules, anyone merely applying grants Amtrack complete, endless and irrevocable right to use any or all of the writer’s submission.

        It’s concerning enough that Amtrack has been urged by its employees to rethink the rights-grab.

        Here’s a good overview from an Intellectual Properties attorney:

        I know some writers are okay with handing over rights to their work I the hope of a chance for future compensation, but it’s a decision that should be made with full information. While it might be common for a certain type of writing contest to demand full rights-granting for mere applications, it isn’t true of most well-regarded ones. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Eh. We’ll likely have to agree to disagree then. I don’t submit to contests or publications that demand rights in exchange for nothing. I think it’s a poor business practice to encourage.

  2. I am so jealous of the writers living in the States. I posted a blog entry about this very same thing (I never promote my own blog in comment but rather than fill up your comment space with points I mentioned in my post it makes more sense to send you over to read if you like.)

    I hope you’re selected! It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck with your entry!

  3. I took a look at that application and a fellow blogger, Ali Trotta (http://alwayscoffee.wordpress.com/), brought an interesting aspect to my attention: The sample and information you provide may or may not be used by Amtrak or whatever “sponsor” is fronting this. Here are the official terms: http://blog.amtrak.com/officialterms/

    The wording is loose, and from what I gather, they can use that writing sample you submit as their own. As it states:

    “Applicant understands and agrees that Sponsor has wide access to ideas, stories and other literary, artistic and creative materials submitted to it from outside sources or developed by its own employees and agents (together, โ€œSponsor Creativeโ€); and, such Sponsor Creative may be competitive with, similar to (or even identical to) the writing sample/answers to questions created and submitted by Applicants; and, Sponsor shall have no liability to Applicant or any third party in respect to or in connection with the development, use, sale and/or commercial exploitation of all or any portion of Sponsor Creative by Sponsor and/or its designees and licensees, all of which liability, if any, Applicant hereby expressly and irrevocably waives, releases and discharges.”

    And check out how they can use whatever information you give them, which is clarified by Section 6: Grant of Rights: “In submitting an Application, Applicant hereby grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy Applicantโ€™s Application, in whole or in part, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing, and to sublicense such rights to any third parties.”

    • I assume from this, they could use this for promotional material or any releases to do with the product. It isn’t so much that Amtrak can use it as their writing but that you are giving rights to the work away. It is in a way a business exchange, free ride for writing. In short, I wouldn’t submit any writing that you are not comfortable with Amtrak using. It’s fairly standard with most writing contests (like in magazines) and if you aren’t sure, I’d write a piece especially for them!

      • Yeah, that’s true. It’s understood that I’d be writing for them. However, my old stuff is my old stuff.

        If I get a moment, I might just give them a ring, say hello, and see what’s up. Terms jargon.. sheesh.

        Hope all is well!

      • “It is in a way a business exchange, free ride for writing. ”

        But the contract applies to the *submissions,* not the winning submission.

      • To each their own. I understand many of my readers may not be willing to do this. But I want to put it out there. For a lot of magazine essay contest (not writing ones but essays on the topic) this is the norm, like I said, I find it best to write a piece for them. I personally like Amtrack, and think they are doing this to raise awareness more than trying to profit off of people’s writings. However, if it makes you uncomfortable, don’t apply ๐Ÿ™‚ we all have to follow our own writing paths.

  4. I applied and in response to those who suggest that it’s crazy to do so considering the rights you give up I said this: I’ve written over 50 short stories and two novels. So I give up the rights for one story? So what. The reward if I’m selected is most definitely worth it.

  5. I’d have to admit that this sounds like a great opportunity for someone. Sometimes you just need confirmation that you are as good as you think you are. Not too mention it can be used as bragging rights later.

    The most intriguing thing about this post is the comments. I have to admit that I’m quite tickled the same points are being brought up repeatedly just for the original poster to keep repeating herself LOL.

    If you are worried about them taking advantage don’t apply LOL

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