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Issue #452: Why “Practice Makes Perfect" is Bad Advice For Travel Writer's
December 18, 2023
|Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!
. . . and WELCOME all new subscribers. Thanks for joining us.
EditorialAs I write this, we’re down to our last week in Danang, Vietnam. Our 3-month long-stay has been most enjoyable. On December 24, we board a flight to Korea and then back to Seattle. That’s a long haul — about 18 hours!
We’re looking forward to going home, seeing our friends and neighbors and catching up on some much needed sleep to get through the inevitable jet lag. We’ll miss Christmas celebrations but will be back on our feet to ring in the New Year with our friends.
I look back on my hundreds of trips to 50 countries in the past 17 years with fond memories. I’ve written more than 1,000 travel articles about 25 of these countries. My work has been published in more than 200 regional, national, and international magazines, newspapers, trade journals, custom publications, specialty magazines, in-flights, on-boards, and online travel magazines.
I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in 200+ press trips while on travel writing assignments, thoroughly enjoying the travel writers I’ve met on these tours. Yep, I’ve been around!
Yet, I’m always curious about other places that I’ve never been to. On my travel bucket list I still have many more places to visit: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Marakesh, Morocco; Brasov, Bucharest, & Transylvania, Romania; a Danube River Cruise; Sofia, Bulgaria; the Amalfi Coast & Positano, Italy; Zadar, Rovinj & Korcula, Croatia; Vienna, Austria; Santorini & other random Greek islands; Slovenia; the Galapagos Islands; Komodo Island; Cuba; and a Mississippi River Cruise. Will I get to all these places before I run out of time? I don’t know. But I’m going to go for it!
We'd like to thank you for reading this newsletter, taking our online and live classes and following my travels. It's been a pleasure working with so many of you and we’ll enjoy keeping everyone up-to-date on what’s new in travel writing.
We wish you good health, great happiness and much writing success in the new year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
END OF YEAR SALESWe have two big items for sale this holiday season:
First, we’re offering “The Big Bundle” — a bundle of all ten of our eBooks in one package. These eBooks range in price from $12.95 to $99 and normally cost more than $300 if purchased individually.
Now you can get all 10 of these eBooks in a bundle for more than 40% off the regular price when you use PROMO CODE TBB40. This means you'll pay $179 for the entire bundle!
This bundle is perfect if you’re a new subscriber and want to get our books at the biggest discount we’ve ever offered.
It's also a great deal for those of you who have only one or two of our eBooks and want to complete your set of with the entire bundle of ten books. Just click on the graphic below or this link for more information about The Big Bundle
Remember to use PROMO CODE TBB40 when making your purchase.
Next, we’re offering our Online Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class at $500 off the regular price!
If you want to get serious about travel writing from the comfort of your own home, this online course is for you. You'll receive:
Normally this course is $799 and we’re offering the biggest discount ever at $500 off.
This means you'll pay only $299 this holiday season when you use PROMO CODE twmc500 (lower case only)
It’s a perfect way to learn about travel writing. You'll learn at home, on your own schedule this winter — or anytime you want. The course doesn’t expire so you’ll have access whenever you’re ready to learn.
Click on the graphic below
or this link
for detailed information about all our course instructors and to register for the course. Don't forget to use PROMO CODE twmc500 (lower case) when you make your purchase.
Both offers expire at midnight on December 24th -- act now so you don't miss out!
Remember to use the promo codes mentioned above to get in on the big discounts.
500 Print MagazinesIf you purchased 500 Print Magazines That Want To Publish Your Travel Stories, the December issue (#4) became available on the 15th of this month. You should have received an email with a login link, but in case you didn't, you can access the login page and input your login credentials at this link
In the December list (Issue #4) you received another 50 magazines plus 9 bonus magazines — along with a wealth of information about each magazine. In total this month you'll have received 232 magazine listings so far, including bonus magazines! We’ve also included some introductory materials about pitching your story ideas to magazines. Be sure to download both files.
We're also including a Revisions document with a few updated links and information. This will be updated each month as needed, so be sure to download it to get the latest information on sites that have made changes.
If you have any problems downloading any issues, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you about which magazines you’ve pitched successfully and what stories have been picked up by the magazines on these lists.
PitchTravelWrite.com is in Writer’s Digest Magazine’s 2024 Annual YearbookWe’re absolutely thrilled and proud to announce that our website, www.PitchTravelWrite.com, is listed in the 2024 “101 Best Websites for Writers” in Writer’s Digest Magazine’s Annual Yearbook. This is our 5th consecutive year listed on this prestigious site — and we’re the only travel writing website on the list!
The 2024 Writer’s Yearbook is a comprehensive, all-in-one resource for writers who need a boost to finish the year on a strong note or start planning their new years’ writing goals. Featuring the top websites and markets for writers, plus articles on freelancing, creativity, writing book-length works, and attracting an agent, this special publication has something for any writer looking to get their work published. You can find details and order a copy of the Annual Yearbook at the links below:
Funds For Writers NewsletterI'm thrilled and honored to have guest posts published for two consecutive weeks in Hope Clark’s excellent “Funds For Writers” newsletter.
My first post, "How To Presell Your Travel Stories” shows how and why travel writers must sell their stories before they visit their destinations.
Here’s the link
Northwest Travel & Words Travel Writing ConferenceBack in newsletter #449, we introduced new freelance travel writer Bianca Dumas to our readers. She’s selling dozens of articles to a wide variety of magazines—and making it look easy.
Last month, Bianca was one of 30 travel writers invited by Allen Cox to attend the Northwest Travel & Words Conference.
Here’s Bianca’s report on how the conference went down:
On November 14, 2023, we wrapped up the 3-day Travel and Words conference, offered by Allen Cox of Northwest Travel and Life Magazine. The conference was held in downtown Missoula, Montana, co-sponsored by Destination Missoula. We were offered a discounted rate to stay at The Wren hotel, where we gathered daily for breakfast. I was an invited writer, and this was my first travel writing conference.
The array of writers and destinations was impressive. While the conference was focused on showcasing the Northwest, I was surprised at how broad this region is. It included destinations from the Washington and Oregon coasts, Vancouver and British Columbia, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana. Yuma, Arizona, though not part of the region, was also included. There were about 30 destinations in all.
I later realized that Allen had invited the number of travel writers to match the DMO’s (Destination Marketing Organizations) — there were about 30 writers, as well. This would matter later when we were paired up for meetings. Many of the writers at the conference publish their work in Northwest Travel and Life and come from that region; but New Mexico, California, and Arizona were also represented. I flew in from Utah.
The event opened with a welcome reception catered by area restaurants and held in the conference room of the Missoula Library. After the opening presentation, our table spent the time getting to know each other. The attendees were very open and supportive.
The first full day of the conference was held in the Missoula Community Theatre. After introductions, the writers began rounds of Destination-Journalist Meetings, which were patterned after speed dating sessions. These were 15-minute rounds in which the destination and writers would find out what aspects of their markets and magazines or specialties were a match. When I was first asked what I specialized in, I rambled. I’ve been published in a very broad array of magazines, on a very broad array of topics. For example, I’ve written about my favorite cookbook, the history of American women in Britain at the turn of the century, and the time I worked at the Indianapolis 500. I wasn’t sure how to present myself, so I found these early speed dating sessions mentally taxing.
That evening, the writers and destination marketers continued getting to know each other during a guided tour of Missoula’s new Butterfly House and Insectarium and later over dinner at the University of Montana’s Payne Family Native American Center. I was exhausted from hours of talking, so I walked back to the hotel after dinner, but a tour of the Montana Museum of Art and Culture was offered to those who wanted to keep going.
I was able to walk to The Wren, our conference hotel, on well-lit streets and pedestrian-friendly bridges. The Wren has been repurposed from what I’m told was a dark and dingy hotel that hadn’t been updated since it was built in the 1960’s.It was redesigned by a Bozeman-based group that focuses on transforming dated lodging and revitalizing the neighborhoods where these hotels are found. The Wren is now a basecamp for all the outdoor activity that Missoula has to offer.
On the second day of the conference we met again at the Missoula Community Theatre. A notable presentation was given by Tami Fairweather of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. Her topic, “Trends in Adventure Travel,” was very helpful. She defined adventure travel as travel that includes nature, physical activity, and culture, and said that 90% of tour operators now offer these three facets to guests. She also addressed the need for recognizing that sustainable travel goes beyond environmental concerns.
“Good places to visit are good places to live,” she said, meaning that good tourism ought to improve a place for the local residents, not deplete it. I was glad to hear that this is the new trend. I see tourism in Utah diminish the available resources and housing for locals, but as writers we can shift the way we promote tourism, and help make our communities more livable.
We continued with our speed dating sessions, and this time I really enjoyed them. The night before, I’d spoken to my husband, who has attended a lot of business conferences. He suggested I boil my work down into three categories. I could simply say that, for this audience, my specialties are RV Travel, Skiing, and Profiles. This simplified the conversations and allowed me to relax. It also made the sessions more fruitful. After that, the destinations did my work for me, offering me detailed stories that would be easy to pitch. I was also invited to contact them about upcoming press trips to their regional ski resorts and cross country ski trails.
Finally, Allen announced the location for the 2024 Travel and Words Conference. It will be held in Tacoma, Washington, in the first week of October. Matt Wakefield of Travel Tacoma shared a few proud words about his city, noting that it’s the hometown of glass artist Dale Chihuly, and that visitors can expect that influence to be prevalent throughout the city and Hotel Murano, the conference hotel. “It’s going to be awe-inspiring awesome,” Matt said.
Allen is from Tacoma and chimed in. “I still today see Mount Rainier and never get tired of it,” he said. “It alone is a reason to visit Tacoma.”
Most people went to the airport in the hours after the conference, but I was among the small group who stuck around for one more night in Missoula. Emily of Destination Missoula took me hiking up Pattee Canyon to support me in an assignment to cover Missoula’s cross country ski trails. After that, we went for a beer at Gild, one of Missoula’s ten breweries.
As I was walking back to the hotel, I saw travel writers Pam and Gary Baker sitting near the window of Pangea Bar and Restaurant. They waved me in, and we shared a bottle of wine and some dessert. They were friendly and generous, ready to share everything they know about travel writing. I came home full of ideas and new contacts. I also feel I’ve got a few new friends.
Have You Written a Travel Memoir?If you've written a travel memoir or compiled a travel anthology, please feel free to send me a PDF or kindle copy to review. Reviews will go out on my social media & in my monthly newsletter (2000 travel writers & bloggers.) Please send PDF attachments to me at roy_stevenson[at]hotmail.com
Why “Practice Makes Perfect" is Bad Advice For Travel WritingThe widely accepted idiom "Practice Makes Perfect" is accepted as the ultimate truth. It’s touted as the key to success in everything from sports performance to travel journalism.
The problem is, it’s terrible advice for travel writers!
The premise of this expression is the more we do something the better we get at doing it. On the surface, this seems to make sense.
Read on to find out why “practice makes perfect” is awful advice, and learn the best ways to improve your travel writing.
Upcoming PostsJan 15: Guided Tours for Travel Writers: What’s Good About Them
Feb 12: Building a Professional Website for Freelance Travel Writers
Mar 11: Writing for Regional Magazines: The Best Place to Start Your Travel Writing Career
Inspirational Travel Quote
Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links - Building Your Travel Writing PlatformFor the professional 21st century travel writer, a marketing platform is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ option—it’s become essential. Before the hordes of travel writers and bloggers entered the arena, you could slide by with just a decent story idea and a well-crafted query letter.
But now, sales and marketing skills have become increasingly important — critical even — to get your stories published in the highly competitive print media field.
What’s a marketing platform and what do you need to do? You’ll find all you need to know in these articles.
You need a marketing platform to stand out from the thousands of other travel writers and bloggers that have taken up the freelance game in the past few years.
MORE RESOURCES FOR TRAVEL WRITERS
Featured Book: How to Land Press TripsWho doesn't like press trips to exotic and exciting destinations?
Since starting my freelance travel writing career, I’ve been on more than 200 press trips & fam tours in 25 countries. Places like Belgium, Wales, England, France, Germany, New Zealand, Bali, all over the U.S.A., and many other exotic and exciting destinations.
I tell you this not because I'm showing off, but because you too can get regular press trip & fam tour invitations.
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 actually get these press trip 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, and how to organize self-guided press trips.
Get $10 off for the month of December when you use PROMO Code: HTLPT
“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.”
-Chris Backe, OneWeirdGlobe.com
At Your Service
PitchTravelWrite.com, 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.
Awards and Accoladeswww.PitchTravelWrite.com, our travel writing website has had a banner year! The accolades just keep pouring in!
Our website was selected for the 2023 Writer’s Digest Magazine’s “101 Best Websites For Writers” in the June issue. We’ve previously been chosen for Writer’s Digest Magazine’s 101 Best Websites For Writers in 2016, 2020, 2021, 2022. WD doesn’t bestow these awards lightly. We’re the only travel writing website on the lists!
And Writer’s Digest Magazine also chose our website for their “Best Genre/Niche Websites for 2023.” We’ve previously been listed in Writer’s Digest Magazine’s “Best Genre/Niche Websites for 2020, 2021, 2022, & 2023.”
A few months ago, our Online Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class has made Reedsy.com’s Best Travel Creative Writing Classes for 2023 list. There are only 21 travel writing courses on this worldwide list!
And, in December 2023 we were awarded the honor of being listed in the Writer’s Digest Magazine’s 101 Best Websites for Writers in their 2024 Annual Yearbook.
We at PitchTravelWrite.com are proud to announce that our website made TheWriteLife.com’s 100 BEST WEBSITES FOR WRITERS 2020 & 2021! thewritelife Best Websites 2021
Our Complete Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class is ranked #1 on TravelWritersExchange.com’s Top Ten Travel Writing Workshops.
Friend me on FacebookMy 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
That's all for now. Until next week - just keep pitching! Roy
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