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Issue #350: Do Magazine Editors Steal Story Ideas?
April 12, 2021
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!

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

Editorial: Do Magazine Editors Steal Story Ideas?

Do you ever get the paranoid feeling that a magazine editor will steal your story idea? This is more common than you think - some travel writers worry that magazine editors will steal their idea from their pitch.

One new writer I know was actually going to publish a warning in his query letters that “editors were not to steal his story ideas.” I told this writer that this was a great way to burn his bridges before the editors even read his pitches.

I believe this is a non-issue in freelance travel writing.

In my 14 years as a travel writer, I’ve never had a print magazine editor knock off any of my story ideas — and I've pitched more than 1,000 story ideas to thousands of magazines and journals. And, I’ve never heard of any other writers who’ve had their story ideas stolen.

Certainly, editors may reject a query because they have a similar story in the works. But, to accuse — or even insinuate — that an editor is going to duplicate your story idea exhibits an automatic distrust. It screams to the editor, “Here’s a high maintenance writer — avoid at all costs.”

Why can I state with such certainty that magazine editors aren’t interested in knocking off your story ideas?

Apart from the obvious ethical issues, the one thing that prevents magazine editors from stealing freelancer’s ideas is that editors are typically employed by publishers. And, if publishers receive complaints that an editor is stealing story ideas, the publisher will simply fire the editor. Publishers prefer professional editors to represent them.

If the idea enters your head that an editor will steal your story idea, ignore it. Worrying about this is a waste of nervous energy and takes up your valuable time. This is time you should be spending dreaming up new story ideas, researching them, and writing new query letters. 

Finally, on the off-chance that you believe an editor has stolen your story idea, there’s nothing you can do about it. Ideas are not copyrightable. Erase that editor from your magazine distribution list and redirect your energy and resources into growing your freelance writing business.

Freelance travel writing harbors its fair share of myths. Here are six “biggies” . . .

This Week's Featured Post

The Best Way to Sell Your Travel Articles Without a Query Letter

The name of the game in freelance travel writing is selling your articles.  If you can’t sell your stories, you’ll never get to see your work in print or online. I’m obsessed with finding the best ways and most effective marketing techniques to sell what I write. To this end, I’ve experimented with dozens of pitching techniques.

I’ve read books and manuals about marketing freelance articles. I subscribe to e-newsletters about freelance writing and I read every word of them. On press trips I pester my peers about how they sell their stories to magazine editors. I’ve tried everything short of tattooing my query letters across my forehead.

I’ve experimented with my query letters and constantly tweak them.  I shamelessly steal query letter ideas from books and manuals and absorb them into mine. While most of these techniques have worked with varying degrees of success, one stands out above all the others as my most highly successful sales technique.

Read on to see what it is. . .


Upcoming Posts

Apr 19: Simultaneous Submissions: Strategies For Multiple Acceptances
Apr 26: The Art Of Reselling Your Travel Articles
May 3: Writing Museum Stories Success Stories

Rey Waters: With Travel Writing, My Life Cannot Get Any Better

“I enrolled in a travel writer’s course and published my first article in Travel Post Monthly.  

It was not long after, that I discovered Roy Stevenson’s travel writing books. 

His first book that I read was Get Published Now. It had a section that mentioned getting started in your own back yard. At the time we were living in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. My wife and I walked a two-mile hiking trail around a lake every day for our exercise.  

During these walks we met all types of very interesting people. I pitched a story idea to our local newspaper and I guess you can say the rest is history. 

That’s how it all began. And here’s Rey Waters’ success story about how far he’s taken his work . . .


Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Productivity & Goals

If you want to sell more travel stories, maximize your time, & wring as much money as possible from your freelance writing, here are three articles packed with advice and ideas to boost your productivity.

Seven Ways to Increase Your Travel Writing Productivity and Take Control of Your Time

Six Ways to Increase Your Travel Writing Productivity and Create More Time

It’s important to sell multiple story angles about a place. Here are four reasons it makes sense to do so.

Inspirational Travel Quote


Featured Bundle: Advanced Travel Writer’s Two-Pack Reference Guides

Take your travel writing career up a few notches with our advanced reference guides.

In How to Land Press Trips and Fam Tours you'll learn about how to use your assignments to request free and low-cost travel.  You'll also get all the resources successful travel writers have at their fingertips to network with the right people and have DMOs clamoring to invite you to visit their region.

If luxury is your preferred style of travel our manual, How to Break into the Luxury Travel Writing Market will help you move quickly into this market. And it gives you a huge ready-made list of magazines and websites interested in publishing luxury articles.

When you purchase both these books together, you automatically save 10% off the price of the individual books. And this month only, if you use Promo Code AP5 you can get an additional $5 off!


Group Coaching Mastermind Community

Our first Group Coaching Mastermind Community kicked off in October, 2020, and we’ve got a global group with members living in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Vietnam and the U.S. We're very excited about this group of writers and our new community! We added new members to our community in early January and they're getting to know the group and participate in writing activities.

If you missed out on the opportunity to join this session, you can get on the waiting list for the next session starting in June . . .

Learn more and get on the waiting list . . .

Live Workshops

People have been asking when our 2022 workshops in New Orleans, Louisiana are scheduled.

Here are the 2022 dates:
June 17-20, 2022, Travel Writing & Photography Retreat
June 22-24, 2022, Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers

We've had lots of interest already. You can sign up for our no-obligation interest list for these workshops and receive our substantial early bird discounts when we open registration:


Did You Know . . .

Our Complete Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers is ranked #1 on’s Top Ten Travel Writing Workshops.

You can access the list of the top ten travel writing workshops at the link below . . .

Travel Writers Exchange workshop list: #1 Marketing Master Class

Online Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class

Now, you can study our Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers online for only a fraction of the price of the live class! We recorded it LIVE in Seattle, for aspiring travel writers who weren’t able to attend in person.

    Who's it for?

  • If you’re a novice travel writer, or you haven’t had much luck selling your articles to print magazines, this Online Travel Writing & Marketing Workshop is for you.
  • If you weren’t able to travel to our Live Master Class, here’s the opportunity to attend anyway - without any travel costs and at a substantially reduced cost!
  • If you work a full-time job and can’t get time off to attend the live class – you can still attend on your own schedule after working hours.
  • If you’ve wanted to attend our Live Marketing Master Class but can’t get your schedule to fit with the dates it’s offered – here’s your opportunity to attend at your own convenience.


At Your Service

Coaching and Consulting
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 into the travel writing realm and all the enjoyment that comes with it. 

We're thrilled to announce that is once again on The Write Life’s 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:
• links to other well produced travel websites and blogs
• links to my travel articles
• magazine cover stories and back stories
• links to resource pages
• links to coaching and mentoring resources
. . .and plenty of other useful information to get you up to speed

Link to Roy's Personal Facebook page

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

Roy Stevenson
Pitch Travel Write

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