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Issue #300: Five Surprisingly Simple Statistics to Improve Your Writing
April 13, 2020
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!

. . . and WELCOME all new subscribers. Thanks for joining us.

Editorial: What Lockdown is like in Danang, Vietnam

Many of you have asked us how the coronavirus is affecting us here in Danang, Vietnam. We’re currently on Day 13 of a 15-day lock down. It’s scheduled to end on April 15.

What does lockdown mean for us?

Officially, through April 15th, everyone stays home unless we need to go out for groceries or medical purposes. Only grocery stores & pharmacies are open. All other businesses are closed. So is the beach. We wear a mask out in public and also when inside the markets & pharmacies. And we stay 2 meters apart.

Our neighborhood, the An Thuong Tourist District, thrives and survives on tourism. The tourist district is, of course, deserted. We walk down the narrow, tree-lined streets that are usually bustling with South Korean, Japanese, Europeans, English, American and Australian tourists - and see just one or two people flitting around on the periphery, like wraiths. It’s an eerie feeling.

The dozens of coffee shops, souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels, resorts and spas are all closed. Fitness centers and swimming pools are closed.

Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open. Also one French bakery in our neighborhood. Taxis aren’t running so we can’t get to some of the larger supermarkets across town, but that’s not a problem.

We prefer to buy our groceries at the smaller shops which are in abundance where we live. They resemble 7-Eleven stores in the U.S. Our daily exercise route always includes stopping in at a few shops to get supplies we need. We’re avoiding our local wet market because it has too much foot traffic for our liking.

We haven’t noticed any hoarding. There’s a good supply of hand sanitizer, face masks, toilet paper, soap, food, and other products.

Shop fronts are shuttered like big sleeping eyes. It’s economically sad for the local residents, who rely solely on tourism for their businesses or for employment. But there’s a great sense of community and people helping each other. Everyone waves to us from their doors when we walk by and they greet us with “Xin chao” (hello).

One of our good friends & the owner of a local spa, Miss Dung Le, delivered a gift of face masks to us. She was concerned and wanted to make sure we were wearing good quality face masks.

Another friend, Miss Hahn, stops by every week or so to give us homemade yogurt and coconut jelly desserts. 

We miss our evening beach walks and watching the local Vietnamese families enjoying a swim or playing with their kids on the beach. We also miss massages, pedicures and the delicious restaurant food normally available in our area.

There are a few motorcycles (the universal Vietnamese mode of transport) zipping along the streets. But our neighborhood’s become so quiet we can hear the birds singing throughout the day - something we never heard with normal traffic.

Vietnam’s anti-coronavirus measures have been highly effective; there are 262 people who have had the virus in the entire country and more than half have already recovered. That’s extremely good considering that we share a border with China.

The most recent cases in Vietnam have come from western countries, when Vietnamese returned from holiday and from tourists who arrived before they stopped issuing visas.

The Vietnamese government has done an amazing job keeping the virus contained & tracked. Danang has had only six recorded cases (and five recoveries) so far. Even with such low numbers, we’re taking it very seriously and staying home.

Staying busy and working on a number of projects keeps us going. I’m reading 2-3 books/week on my iPad and from my small library of print books. I can stream movies, but I try to limit this as I don’t want to turn into a movie vegetable. (Sometimes I fail.) Linda has discovered the world of YouTube for music and entertainment. She puts on her Bose headset and ignores me for at least a couple hours each day.

Wherever you are, we wish you good health. We hope you’re finding ways to build some fun into each day. It’s tough to be isolated from friends and family. But this virus will eventually run its course, leaving a battered world to pick itself up, dust itself off, and move forward.

In the meantime, use your enforced down time to boost your marketing and travel writing brand. Practice writing. You can still come out of this ahead by staying active in the field. (See previous zines for several tips.)

We’ll keep producing this weekly newsletter to give you a break from the news and help keep you focused on travel writing.

This Week's Featured Post

Five Surprisingly Simple Statistics to Improve Your Writing

How readable are your travel stories and blogs? Do you know how can you find out?

Ten years ago, during the travel writing and blogging gold rush era, you could slap up a half-baked travel website or blog and you got lots of traffic. Multitudes of readers came like lemmings to the sea.

Today there are tens of thousands of travel writing sites. Your content needs to be differentiated from all the others. Higher quality writing is an important way to add value.

One way to stand out from the masses is by writing compelling and interesting travel stories that people will enjoy reading. If you have a blog or website, you want them to return.

If you write for print publications, editors expect good quality content from their writers.

How can you improve your travel writing? Getting feedback and adjusting your writing accordingly is one way. The best feedback is always from other human readers and editors.

But before you turn your travel stories over to someone else for editing, you should improve the readability of your story. You can do that by using software tools and apps to help you.

Here are five simple statistics that will help you improve your writing and the apps that will give you feedback . . .



Many of you have asked when we’re going to offer group coaching so we’ve been giving it lots of thought. We’re planning to make it affordable, fun, helpful and productive for you. Best of all, you can do it from home if you’re in lockdown or quarantine.

Everything will be done online with video training, a community of like-minded writers helping each other, a robust focus on the craft of writing and the art of selling, and lots of other resources at your fingertips.

Our BRAND NEW Group coaching program will be limited to the first 25 registrants. We'll be releasing the final details soon, and they’ll go first to the people on our coaching interest list.

Stay tuned – and put your name on the list below . . .

Click here to get on the Group Coaching Interest List

Upcoming Posts

April 20: Selling Your Luxury Travel Stories
April 27: Why Travel Writers Need Business Policies
May 4: Travel Magazine Lists: 18 Great Sources of Magazine Leads Success Stories

If you read our first travel writing success story, you’ll recall that we gained considerable momentum with Roy Stevenson as our coach. We made a strategic decision to extend our coaching contract with Roy – and we’re glad we did!

As a result, we’ve moved up the travel writing totem pole and started getting better paid assignments with print magazines. We leveraged those assignments for two memorable complimentary trips this past year.

Our success story continues.

Here’s our travel writing success story for the past 12 months:

Read the article: The Continuing Success Story of Pam & Gary Baker - Part 2

Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Creating Magazine Lists

Travel writers are always asking me to help them prepare magazine distribution lists so they can send out their queries. I’m not surprised that so many travel writers contact me with this request. I get it. Searching for target magazines is perceived as an onerous clerical task and can take many hours. Yet, it’s an indispensable step in getting your articles published.

After all, if you can’t find magazines to pitch, you’re not going to get your stories published.

But I wouldn’t be doing you any favors by doing this research for you. If someone else does your work for you, you’re not going to learn how to do your own magazine searches. And, this is such a crucial skill for freelance writing success.

You need to put in the time on the Internet, researching Writer’s Market, and checking out the magazine racks at your local bookstore.

There are some things you can do to enhance your magazine researching skills. The following articles cover the nuts-and-bolts of creating distribution lists.

This article shows you—step-by-step—how to create your magazine distribution lists, and where to look for them.
How to Build Magazine Distribution Lists

Here’s a summary of how to select magazines where you can pitch your stories:
Where to Pitch Travel Stories

You can use magazine vendor websites to find magazines. Here’s how:
Finding Travel Magazine Sales Leads on Vendor Websites

Here are six reference books that I use to find new magazine leads:
Finding Magazine Leads: The Best Print References on the Market Today

Inspirational Travel Quote


Featured Book of the Month: HOW TO LAND PRESS TRIPS & FAM TOURS

Who doesn't like press trips to exotic and exciting destinations?

In ten years of freelance writing, I’ve been on more than 100 press trips & fam tours. Places like Belgium, Wales, England, France, Germany, New Zealand, Bali, all over the U.S.A., and to many other exotic and exciting destinations.

You, too, can get regular press trip & fam tour invitations. All of my tips and techniques are in this book.

Books about travel writing might mention that press trips are available to travel writers, but they fall woefully short when it comes to telling writers how to get invitations. Most veteran travel writers keep this information to themselves.

My manual, How to Land Press Trips and Fam Tours, tells you exactly what you need to do to get invitations to press trips and fam tours. It also tells you how to organize self-guided press trips, which are the best kind of all.

Here’s what travel blogger Chris Backe( said about my manual:

“I was extremely impressed with Roy’s last book, so reviewing another of his books was a no-brainer. Roy takes a simple, logical approach to getting invited (or getting on the list) by the folks that have the budgets to offer them. Reality checks are aplenty, and he links to several excellent sites or conferences to stay in-the-know. There are also several sample letter templates to borrow from, along with an entire chapter on etiquette (which could easily be titled ‘How to ensure this isn’t your last fam trip ever!’)

At 75 pages long, the only thing it really lacks is fluff. You can breeze through the basics in a single sitting, but actually taking action will be your bigger challenge. The book does everything it can to offer tools and advice, but it’s still up to you to follow it.”


At Your Service

Coaching and Consulting
The Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers Travel Writing & Photography Retreat New Orleans 2020 Online Courses
Vietnam 1-1 Retreat & Consulting
Expat Consulting


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HERE., is our information-packed website for travel writers. This e-zine, a series of travel writing books and reference guides, coaching programs, and our workshops all work together to give you guidance in this field.

Our aim is to provide you with practical, nitty gritty information to help you gain entry the travel writing realm and all the enjoyment that comes with it, too. 

We're thrilled to announce that is on The Write Life’s 2020 list of 100 BEST WEBSITES FOR WRITERS! 

You can see the entire list by visiting their website - click on the graphic to view the list now.

Friend me on Facebook

My Facebook page is about freelance travel writing. I frequently post about:
• travel writing & blogging conferences,
• links to other well produced travel websites and blogs,
• links to my travel articles,
• travel writing themes,
• links to reputable travel writer’s groups, associations, and newsletters,
• magazine covers stories and back stories,
• links to resources pages,
• links to travel writing archives,
• links to coaching and mentoring resources,
• and plenty of other useful information to get you up to speed.

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That's all for now. Until next week - just keep pitching! Roy

Roy Stevenson
Pitch Travel Write

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