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Issue #72: What Makes a Travel Story Hot, and What Does Not
July 27, 2015
|Greetings Fellow Travel Writers and Bloggers!
I’m back in Seattle, between press trips, and scrambling to catch up on some stories that I owe to several magazines. Next up in August are back-to-back press trips to Northwest Canada’s Yukon Territory, and Nashville, Tennessee.
These are all-expenses paid press trips: Airfare, hotels and resorts, meals, ground transport, entry to tourist attractions, guides, and private tours—everything.
In the past seven years I’ve been on more than 80 press trips like this. And you can do this too. All you need are assignments.
Assignments are the collateral you use to parlay for these cool press trips and to travel like the rich and famous—without paying for it!
To land these assignments you need to find interesting and exciting travel stories.
Many aspiring travel writers believe that all they have to do is pitch a story about any old tourist destination, and presto!—the editor will be begging them for it. It just doesn’t happen like this.
Your story needs to be marketable.
Some travel writers drool over my travel writing statistics. Ninety percent of the stories I pitch are published and I’ve had more than 900 published articles - all since 2007!
Much of my success is due to the ability to dream up and research hot travel topics that I’m confident will sell. That means I also drop a story idea if it falls short.
That's what this week’s featured article is all about - how to know when your story is marketable to print magazines — and just as importantly, when you should discard it and move on.
I’ve included an example in enough detail for you to get some idea of the inner workings of my marketing mind. After reading the article, you’ll walk away with a clear understanding of how to assess the marketability of your own travel stories.
What Makes a Travel Story Hot - and What Does NotI have a rigorous selection process where I scrutinize my travel story ideas closely before I pitch them. This means leaving many good travel story ideas on the sidelines. It hurts because sometimes I’m so smitten with a place I’m dying to write about it.
But there’s a reason I run at a 90% acceptance rate for my stories while most travel writers are lucky to have 25% of their stories published. No matter how much I love a place or how much it resonates with me, I spend time considering the feasibility of getting this story into print before I pitch the story idea to editors.
If my story idea doesn’t measure up, I won’t pitch it.
Many beginning travel writers think that any destination or tourist attraction is a travel story waiting to be published.
I wish it were this easy, but this is not the case.
The problem arises when novice travel writers visit a place, fall in love with it, and then want to tell everyone about it.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling compelled to write about a place. However, being enamored with a place usually doesn’t translate into a viable story.
Magazine editors are the gatekeepers to getting your stories into print. And unless you can convince them that your travel story will knock the socks off their readers, they’re probably going to pass on your pitch.
I spend a lot of time convincing my coaching clients that a place is not a story until they’ve uncovered something special, unique, or unusual about the place or destination. In travel writing jargon it's your “story angle”.
Please share this e-zine with friends, family or anyone who may be interested in travel writing and can benefit from some free marketing and travel writing information.
If you haven’t already done so, please ‘Friend’ me (Roy Stevenson Freelance Writer) on Facebook. My posts are generally travel writing-related and I try to keep it fun.
My Saturday morning ‘Where’s Roy’ Facebook post has been particularly popular! I post a travel photo—usually with me in it—and you have to guess where the heck I am. A few friends and subscribers have proved particularly adept at this.
Please note: Some products mentioned in this e-zine may result in my receiving a small referral fee if you decide to purchase the product. I only recommend products and services that I believe are high quality and can help you be more successful as a freelance writer. Please let me know if you have any questions.
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