For freelance travel writers, getting published is an ongoing process. Every article you write needs to be published somewhere, so you need solid systems in place to do it quickly, efficiently, and successfully.
This page is written to lead you to a variety of articles on this website having to do with getting your stories published. The articles go beyond the basic query letter, although that’s certainly one of the topics.
Getting your articles published means learning about how to do certain things, like finding the right publications, and having strategies to get more sales leads.
Some articles are about expanding your territories, preselling and reselling – all important techniques for getting published more frequently.
If this seems like a lot of things to learn, take it one page at a time. Bookmark this page. Study one or two pages a day, try out the different techniques, and in no time at all you’ll understand what it takes to get your articles published successfully.
If you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, you need to understand the sales process. There are certain steps you need to take to sell a story. And, these steps happen each time you have a story idea and write an article if you want to sell it.
Here's some advice that I share with all my coaching clients. I call it Roy's Rules for Selling Articles and Getting Travel Perks. It sums up the five things I do (and my clients do) to sell their articles successfully, and to use assignments to get travel perks.
If you write for the luxury travel niche, here are the places to look for getting your luxury travel stories published.
Writing for newspapers is more difficult than it used to be, but here are some newspaper sales leads and advice about travel writing for newspapers.
New travel writers often begin by writing Front of Book (FOB) articles for magazines. This article explains what FOB articles are, along with my advice about writing these kinds of articles.
Another way to build your bylines fast is by getting published online, on travel websites. Here are four reasons why every writer should do this.
If you're looking for magazine sales leads, look at this post with some online resources you can use to build your lists. And if that's not enough for you, here's another article about finding travel magazine leads on vendor websites. These two articles will keep you plenty business building your distribution lists.
Here are the best resources for finding magazine leads.
For most publications, there are writer’s guidelines to follow if you want your work accepted by the publisher. These guidelines are important and can be found in a variety of ways. The important part is to read the guidelines and follow them for each publication who might be interested in publishing your story.
You also want to make sure your travel story is marketable. Here are the criteria I use to test marketability before I pitch an article to a magazine editor. I'm sure you'll find these criteria will help you, too.
As most writers know, the most important part of your sales process is your query letter. Your query letter is your sales pitch to an editor, and it needs to be as well-written as the article you’re planning to write.
I’ve written an eBook about query letters to help travel writers. The Complete Guide to Query Letters for Travel Writers, tells you everything you need to know about writing query letters. Plus there are twenty actual query letters that worked. Each query letter includes a 1-2 page summary explaining some of the nuances of what made that query letter successful.
Writing a query letter is not rocket science. Understanding what works and then using those ideas over and over again in your own query letters will help you to be successful in getting published.
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Once you understand the basics of how to get published, there are additional ways to sell your stories. You can learn five strategies to help you sell more articles at this link. There are some strategies beyond the query letter that can help you in getting published.
Targeting other English-speaking countries is another more advanced way to sell your stories. Selling your articles internationally is a way to earn more money on many articles – even reprints.
Using a technique called simultaneous submissions is a way I've used for years to get a higher rate of acceptances. This technique comes with some rules so that you don't harm your relationships with editors, and it comes with some strategies when more than one editor wants your story.
Writing for new magazines is one more way to get your stories published. It’s sometimes easy to get your foot in the door if you go about it just the right way. And often you’re able to sell a reprint to help out the editor of the new magazine. So you can build a new relationship without a lot of effort.
Travel writers also need to think seriously about preselling stories before they take their trip.
The idea behind preselling is to travel “on assignment”. That way, while you’re traveling, you have a purpose and can stay focused on what is important for the assignment.
If you don’t have an assignment, it’s possible that you won’t focus on the right things, visit the right places, gather photos where needed, and so on. You won’t be focused without an assignment. And you’ll be passing up a number of other important benefits. So, I recommend always preselling your stories before you travel.
Sometimes the story is closer to home. Lots of travel writers enjoy writing about festivals and special events in their home town. Before you do that, read this article about what sells and what doesn't.
I’d be missing an important topic if I didn’t address writing for free. Most freelance writers want to be paid for their articles, and writing for free is not something I recommend as a long term strategy.
And, this topic is highly charged, so I put together an article to discuss why it might be beneficial to write for free occasionally. You should be aware of what’s in it for you if you decide to give away an article and your time.
And, as a freelancer, you should have a strategy for deciding whether or not it’s in your interest to write for free (or a token amount). This article about writing for free will help you, even if you’re a beginner.
And I revisit "writing for free" in this article, from a different perspective and in response to an offer a fellow travel writer received from an editor.
There’s also the subject of selling reprints and rewrites – also known as “reselling” your articles. This topic is important to all writers. If you want to get the biggest payout for each article you write, reselling is an important technique.
And sometimes, once you're an established writer, an editor calls you and asks you to do a writing assignment. This is the mother lode.
If you deliver quality articles on time to an editor, or ahead of time, you'll find it's easier to get repeat business. Here are some ways to find editors and get to know what they want.
Getting to the point where editors call you saves you the trouble of the hunt. And, typically, these articles pay premium rates and might even come with a few perks. Here's how to handle it when the editor comes calling - from accepting the job to pricing and delivery.
Finally, you can't sell an article if you don’t have anyone to sell the article to. So I’ve written a how-to guide on creating your own distribution lists. Distribution lists are your target publications for any specific genre. And I tell you how to go about doing it in this article.
As you can see, getting published is a series of things you can do to improve your chances of getting into print or online media. I call it my "Links in the Chain" way to success.
Some people never get beyond the basic query letter, and then they wonder why they’re not successful. Although the query letter is still your most important tool, there are so many other things you can do to improve your chances to get your stories published.
Try some of the techniques called out in this article and find out how they can help you achieve your goals of getting published.
Other related topics that will interest you:
Finding Your Own Travel Writing Niche
A Fun Travel Writing Quiz: Marketing Dilemmas and Strategies
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