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Issue #236: Twelve Query Letter Mistakes & How to Fix Them
December 17, 2019
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers and Bloggers!

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

It’s been a fun year as Linda and I continue with our slow travel through S.E. Asia. Here's our 2018 recap:

We started the year off at our home base in Da Nang, Vietnam. We’ve been here since February 2017, and have put down roots in the An Thuong tourist district. It’s like living in a village. We have expat & local friends that we see most days, and a fun social life. We’ve found a perfect apartment only three blocks from the famous 6-mile long My Khe Beach (known to Americans as China Beach), frequented as much by the locals, as by tourists.

In late January we left for Bali, Indonesia, on assignment for some luxury travel websites and magazines. Our mission: stay at ten of Bali’s high end luxury resorts and report back on our experiences.

We stayed a total of 30 nights, spending 2-3 nights at each resort or villa. I promise you that a good time was definitely had by all! This is how travel writers roll, and for one opulent month we lived like rock stars!

Barely recovered from our Bali gig, in April we did the long haul flight back to Seattle, our home town, in Washington State. Here, we hosted and taught our third annual Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class. I enjoyed teaching the 17 enthusiastic attendees everything I know about marketing and selling freelance travel stories. It was fun catching up with my friends and neighbors in Seattle. 

From Seattle, we popped over to Ohio, to stay at Linda’s ancestral home with her sister. We squeezed in a road trip to Auburn, Indiana, to tour the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum on assignment for a classic car magazine. A couple of days later, I flew across to Boston to tour the Larz Anderson Automobile Museum on another assignment for the same publication.

In June and also in early September we especially enjoyed our two-day visits to the World Heritage town of Hoi An, only a half-hour drive along the coast. We loved Hoi An so much, we hosted our Travel Writing & Photography Retreat there in December 2018!

In September, we flew to Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, for a visa run and to assess its’ potential for a future long stay. Georgetown, well settled by expats, is very much on the digital nomad map.

Georgetown is a big draw for me because of its unique Nyonya cuisine. Known in Penang as Jawi Peranakan, it’s a delicious blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Thai flavors. Peranakans are the Straights Chinese who settled in Malaysia, Singapore and a few other places in SE Asia. Last week, from December 9-15, ten aspiring and published writers (including two couples) descended on Hoi An to attend our Travel Writing & Photography Retreat. We held class sessions in the mornings. Then the afternoons and evenings everyone explored this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage City, went on photo shoots, or simply relaxed and enjoyed the ambiance of this magical place.

Our Retreat writers learned the seven trade secrets for writing a good travel story, how to develop their story angles to make them marketable, how to craft compelling ledes, how to write active and compelling stories, and how to make their travel writing more descriptive. They also had a crash course on the worst and most common travel writing mistakes and how to avoid them. Our goal is to help our travel writers bring life to their stories and bring their stories to life. There’s never a dull moment as a travel writer! 

What travel do you have planned for 2019?

What travel stories are you going to pitch in 2019?

This is our last ezine for 2018. We’re taking a break to work on our other projects, relax a little and prepare for the new year.   We’ll be back on January 7th, 2019.

Happy New Year! 

Coaching Registration is Open

I can teach you how to sell your travel stories. My specialty as a marketing coach is showing my travel writers how to get their stories published in print media, and then capitalizing on these on these assignments for complimentary travel.

My clients have had tremendous success! Ninety-five percent of them have had at least one story published, and most have had multiple stories published in print media. They've also used their assignments to score complimentary travel. Often the comps were beyond their wildest dreams!

Twice a year I open registration for 5 new coaching clients. Registration opened a few days ago and we'll keep it open until five people sign up - then it closes until mid-2019. I'll start working with my new clients January 1.

If you're ready to move forward with your travel writing career, sign up now while there are still spaces available!


This Week's Featured Post

Twelve Query Letter Mistakes & How to Fix Them

A query letter can showcase your very best side to an editor. But if you make query letter mistakes it shows your worst side. 
A successful query takes your compelling story idea, your solid writing background, and persuasive prose and convinces the editor that you have what it takes to provide an exciting and interesting story for the readers. 

Being a few inches off the mark with your query is as bad as missing the target completely.  This is unfortunate, but it’s the way it is.

If you’re a beginning freelance writer, this list of query letter mistakes will help ensure you won’t develop bad habits and make common beginner errors.


Upcoming Posts

January 7: Why Write For Free?
January 14: Barb Harmon: Another PitchTravelWrite Success Story
January 21: Initiative and Travel Writing
January 28: Break Into Travel Writing With Stories about Vehicles

Pitch Travel Write: Most Popular Links

Pitching Comes Before Writing

A classic novice travel writer’s mistake is to write your story and then try to sell it.

I've written three articles about why you should never do this . . .

Five Tips for Why You Should Pitch Before You Write Your Article
Presell Your Travel Stories Before Your Trip
Travel Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Inspirational Travel Quote of the Week

Featured Bundle of the Month


The Creative Pack includes 3 eBooks that are the starting point for every travel writer: dreaming up unique story ideas that you can sell, finding the best writing niches for you based on your interests, passions and experience, and the art & craft of travel writing.

They’re the pieces of the puzzle that come before you ever write a query letter to sell your articles to magazine editors.

Story Ideas that Sell guides you along the highly creative path of inventing and discovering potential travel stories to pitch and sell to travel magazines. Conjuring up viable story ideas are the very bedrock of every successful travel writer today.

In this 76-page book I outline my winning system to generate story ideas that sell. Master this first step - and combine it with a great pitch - and you’ll soon find yourself immersed in exciting experiences with fascinating people.

In Find Your Niche you'll learn why it’s important to write in a variety of genres. It explores the multitude of opportunities available to travel writers and other freelance writers.

It will help you identify the niches that are most interesting and meaningful to you. And you’ll learn how to hone in on the most profitable niches.

Full of tips, advice and inspiration, this 85-page book will help you find your niche!

And when it's time to write your articles, The Art & Craft of Travel Writing will guide the way, helping you develop your craft, hone your skills, work smarter and be more successful. This 170-page book is full of ideas, tips and techniques - and it's a handy resource to have by your side to make your stories sparkle.

Buy the Creative Pack and save more than 10% off the individual prices of the books!


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.

Link to Roy's Personal Facebook page

Please share the e-zine with friends, family or anyone you know who's interested in travel writing. They can sign up for the newsletter and get free marketing tips each week at this link:

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That's all for this week.

Until next week, just keep pitching!


Roy Stevenson
Pitch Travel Write

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