Stories from the Fans: A Tom Petty Call for Papers

When I (Crystal) first found out that Tom Petty died, it felt like Elvis died. That was the only way I could articulate to other people what I was going through. I hoped it would help them understand, and I wrote about my heartbreak for Huffington Post. And, since Tom Petty died on October 2, 2017, my husband and I have listened almost exclusively to Tom Petty music, usually for hours and hours a day.

In the week’s after Tom Petty’s death, I kept telling my husband, “I didn’t know I couldn’t stand the world without Tom Petty in it, but it turns out, I can’t.”

And, here at Blue Moose, we know we’re not alone. Many people across the world have found themselves continuing to mourn the loss of Tom Petty as a singer, writer, musician, artist, and human being. I have been fortunate enough to secure a publishing deal for a book of critical essays on Tom Petty’s life and work. However, in order to be published in this critical collection, the essays had to lean academic and focus on critical analysis.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

But, in the submissions I received and in the communications I had with many Tom Petty fans during the proposal phase of the critical essays book, I saw the need for something beyond the academic.

I saw the need for the personal, for stories written by the fans and for the fans.

I thought to myself that it would be a very hard sell to get a book like this published. I knew what to do with a collection of critical essays. I wasn’t sure where to go for a book of personal essays.

Then, I remembered, “oh yeah, I have a publishing company.”

So, without further ramble, Blue Moose Publishing is pleased to announce its first call for submissions—a call for personal essays on Tom Petty.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

We’re looking for compelling writing and powerful essays about Tom Petty. Essays should be tight, well written, focused, and engaging. Thesis statements may be present or implied, but focus will be key.

Essays should be 750 to 2000 words and can focus on a variety of aspects of Tom Petty’s life and work from a fan’s perspective. Topics may include but are not limited to personal encounters with Tom Petty, concert stories, your personal experiences or connections to Tom Petty’s music, how Tom Petty’s music played a role in your life, for healing or celebration, or the personal impact of Tom Petty’s death.

Some sources may be used but are not required, and the personal is valued. Please note that Tom Petty lyrics cannot be used in the collection due to copyright issues surrounding lyrics.

Revised and updated blog posts are acceptable, as long as you are the only copyright holder of the work. Accepted authors will be expected to sign a contract verifying the work as either original to this collection or belonging solely to the author.

The essay collection will be organized into categories based on submissions, and we’re looking for diversity in topics. If you have an idea for a personal essay but are unsure about the focus, please do not hesitate to ask us.

Our aim will be to publish 25 to 30 well-written personal essays on Tom Petty by late 2018, early 2019.

All profits after costs and taxes will go to a Tom Petty supported charity. Authors selected for publication in the collection will help make the decision about which charity will receive profits, but, due to issues with a small accounting staff here at Blue Moose (just Ron and Crystal), we will ask contributors to vote on just one charity.

Please send completed essays or 150 word summaries (essays need not be completed at the time of submission) to by April 23, 2018. Authors will be notified of acceptance by May 15, 2018. Submissions will be acknowledged with a quick “Got it!” If your essay is not a good fit for the collection, you will also be notified with a kind “no thank you” by April 23, 2018.

Crystal’s Experience

I am a writing professor and coach and have been teaching writing at the college level, from freshman composition to graduate school, for 21 years. I have directed million dollar grants for the Kresge Foundation, and I have published 7 reference books, 3 textbooks, and currently work as a freelance writer for a Maine magazine. I am also currently the editor of a collection of critical academic essays on Tom Petty under contract from McFarland.

Most importantly, I am a Tom Petty fan. His music has helped me shape me into the person I am, and I am excited to be able to put together this collection to honor Tom Petty’s impact on us—his fans.

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