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Issue #290: How to Diversify and Thrive
February 03, 2020
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!

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

We're thrilled to announce that is on The Write Life’s 2020 list of 100 BEST WEBSITES FOR WRITERS! 
We're one of only four travel writing websites listed!

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

Our Travel Update

I write this from the Bagan Archeological Zone, a broad, dusty 26 square mile plain containing about 2,000 pagodas, stupas and temples.

We’ve just spent the past week in Mandalay, one of Myanmar’s busiest cities, and had a blast exploring a mind boggling variety of attractions. We hired a private tour guide to help us navigate the city during our stay.

The Royal Palace was our first stop where we explored the 19th century grandeur of its’ multiple lavish buildings. Later that day we enjoyed a spectacular sunset atop Mandalay Hill from the terraces of Schwenandaw Monastery.

A few days into our tour, by the time we arrived at Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 small whitewashed pagodas, we were just a bit overwhelmed. Each pagoda contains an alabaster slab inscribed with a page of the Buddhist Theravada canon. And each slab is proofread twice before inscribing so there are no errors.

Further afield, we walked across the world’s longest teak bridge, the U Bein. It stretches 1200 meters across the Ayeyarwady River. Among the dozens of other fascinating sights are the dazzling white Hsinbyume Pagoda, with seven wavelike concentric terraces that rise up to a sharp pointed pagoda.

Every day in Mandalay was full of sights we’ve never seen before. Next week I’ll share more about our tour of Bagan’s UNESCO World Heritage sights.

Editorial: How to Diversify and Thrive

I encourage all newbie travel writers to write in multiple genres to sell more articles. Here are three reasons why I recommend this approach.

1. Editors are more likely to assign topics to a versatile writer. Editors are impressed with a writer who can produce good copy on a wide variety of topics. If you look at my writer’s website you’ll notice that my portfolio indicates I can write in a variety of genres.

Besides travel stories, I also write about beer, wine, food, all things military, track and field, classic cars, gold mining history, luxury lodges, fitness & health, and much more. All these topics interest me.

2. Versatile writers get published more frequently, in a wider variety of (specialty) magazines and newspapers, and obviously make more money.

If you can write comfortably in multiple genres, your potential for getting your work published increases in tandem.

My work has been published in more than 200 different magazines, newspapers, in-flights, onboard magazines, and online travel magazines. This sheer variety is a clear indicator that I live by this rule - and it works!

3. Best of all, your chances of getting accepted for press trips increase significantly because you can write in so many different genres.

Because I regularly contribute to a variety of magazine genres, I’m in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose my press trips. I can usually find something to write about on any press trip itinerary. And — as you probably know — if you have those all-important assignments, you get the cool press trips.

Travel writers who only write general roundup stories are limited to magazines that publish those types of stories.

Versatile travel writers can produce stories for a variety of publications, which greatly increases their chances of being accepted for press trips.

If you want to sell more stories, get more press trips, and make more money, your goal should be to diversify your writing.

How can you diversify your freelance writing to enhance your bylines and improve your chances of landing those cool press trips?

Here’s an easy 3-step process to get started:

1. List all of your interests on a piece of paper.

2. For each area of interest, list some topics you’d like to write about in each of them. 

3. Then, send out your query letters to magazines in those genres. These are probably the same magazines you read and subscribe to because they’re your areas of interest. 

Follow these steps and before you know it, you’ll have multiple assignments in a number of genres.

It’s that easy!

Coming in 2020

We thought you’d like to know what plans we’ve got in the works for you, for this year.


Travel Writing & Photography Retreat, New Orleans, June 11-14, 2020. This year we’re giving you the opportunity to take this exciting, interactive & informative course in the U.S.

This unique destination writer’s retreat includes creative travel writing and photography workshops. You'll learn and practice the skills you need to be a successful travel writer including dozens of tips to make quick improvements to your writing.

You'll also learn how to produce quality photographs that editors will love. You’ll practice by making a photo gallery while you’re in New Orleans to help you sell and tell your story.  By the end of the four days you'll have a completed draft story with photos - ready to pitch to an editor!

Our popular Travel Writing and Marketing Master Class will follow after the Retreat on June 16-18, 2020, also in New Orleans. 

In this exclusive program we'll explore, in detail, every single step of my travel writing, pitching and selling strategy.  It's only offered once a year. If you want to learn how to break into travel writing, sell your stories to reputable paying print magazines, and get paid - you NEED to take this course!

If you haven’t taken our workshops, you can take both workshops, back-to-back, in New Orleans. You’ll spend the first 4 days working on your writing craft and then you’ll learn exactly what you need to do to sell your stories in the last 3 days of the week. It’s the complete package!

To ensure a personal, quality experience for everyone, registrations will be limited to the first 10 people to sign up for the Retreat, and the first 25 people to sign up for the Master Class.

New Orleans ranks as the most unique city in the U.S, so it will be an inspirational backdrop and give our participants lots of travel story ideas to work with during the retreat. We’ll spend time writing about New Orleans & learning ways to improve your writing craft.

We’ll offer our international Travel Writing & Photography Retreat in December in Vietnam. There’s nothing like being in the World’s Best City while taking the Retreat and enjoying this UNESCO world heritage site.

We’ll have more details for you in the coming weeks as we finalize hotel details, but here are the tentative dates. Mark your calendar NOW!

- Travel Writing & Photography Retreat, New Orleans, June 11-14, 2020

- Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class, New Orleans, June 16-18, 2020

- Travel Writing & Photography Retreat, Vietnam, December 6-12, 2020

If you want to get on our workshop interest list, you can sign up here. We’ll send you workshops updates when we finalize the details.

Workshops in 2020 - Interest List Signup

Group Coaching

Many of you have also asked when we’re going to offer group coaching. We’re planning to make it affordable, fun, helpful and productive for you. We'll be releasing the final details soon. Stay tuned!

Our BRAND NEW group coaching program will be limited to the first 25 registrants. Only people on the interest list will receive early signup privileges and discounts.

Click here to get on the Group Coaching Interest List

This Week's Featured Post

How to Build Magazines Distribution Lists and Sell More Travel Stories

The best query letter in the world won’t help you sell your travel stories unless you have a solid list of magazines to pitch them to. I call these "distribution lists". You can also think of them as magazine lists or sales leads. These are your customers.

Distribution lists let you unlock the sales potential of your query letter and sell more stories. Every serious writer needs these lists since they are your potential buyers. The more potential buyers on your list, the better.

Read the article to learn how to create your own magazine lists.


Upcoming Posts

February 10: Luxury Travel Writing: My Story and How You Can Do It, Too
February 17: Magazine Editors: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
February 24: Coping Strategies for Travel Writers: How to Be Calm in a World of Editorial Changes Success Stories

Chuck Warren Describes His Heady Freelance Writing Journey

My travel writing journey over the past two and a half years has been nothing short of incredible and I'm trying very hard to continue moving forward.

Here’s my story on how I made the transition from unpublished wannabe to regular freelance contributor . . .


Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Dreaming Up New Travel Story Ideas

To sell your travel stories, you have to be really creative to come up with unique story ideas that editors haven’t heard before.

It takes some groundwork to become savvy at recognizing and mining gold nugget travel story ideas. A huge factor in selling story ideas and getting them published is the quality of your idea. While this may seem self-evident, finding an interesting story to pitch is a daunting task for novice freelance writers. 

So where, and how, do travel writers start their quest for a salable story? Here are 6 Tips for Dreaming Up Better Story Ideas that Sell

For novice freelance writers, trying to figure out what story to pitch to an editor is a daunting task. Because of inexperience, you have no frame of reference.  Often, beginners lack confidence in their story ideas. So where do you start? If you want to boost your bylines, try my winning system. These seven techniques can be used to constantly generate saleable ideas.

The beauty of travel writing is that you can write an article about almost every aspect of your travels and find a home for it somewhere. Editors are looking for new ideas and fresh perspectives. This post will give you some idea of the types of travel stories you can write and sell.

The best travel story is a result of writing about your personal interests or passions. Anything that interests you will result in an article that has more meaning, more emotion and a deeper level of knowledge to share with your readers.  For me, this happens to be anything about military history, especially WWII.  Your interests will be different but the important part is that it is something you truly enjoy.
Writing Genres - Find Your Travel Writing Niche

Did these articles help you refine and define your travel story ideas?

Are you ready to go to the next level? Try our Travel Writing Creative Pack to get more in-depth information.

Our Creative Pack provides the first piece of the travel writing puzzle. These three eBooks give the starting point for every travel writer: dreaming up unique story ideas, finding the best writing niches for your interests, passions and experience, and the art & craft of travel writing.

The Art & Craft of Travel Writing is a handy reference guide to make your travel stories sparkle and help you become a more successful writer. The tips and techniques packed into the 170-page book will help you develop your craft, hone your skills, and work smarter.

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.  

You'll learn to identify the niches that are most interesting and meaningful to you. And you’ll find out 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!

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 you'll learn 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.

Purchase the Creative Pack

Inspirational Travel Quote



Our best-selling eBook, The Complete Guide To Query Letters For Travel Writers, shows you everything you need to know about crafting compelling query letters to sell your travel articles to magazine editors.

Well-written query letters convince magazine editors that you have an exciting travel story their readers will absolutely love.

In ten years of travel writing I’ve had more than 1,000 stories published in 200 magazines, journals, newspapers, in-flights, on-boards, specialty magazines, and travel websites – and they all started with a query letter.  I know how to write killer query letters that work, and I wrote this eBook to show you how to do it.

This is different from all other query letter books because you get 20 real query letters that worked for me. These are query letters I used successfully to get articles published in print magazines.

Each query letter comes with a clear explanation of the key things that sold the idea successfully. And you can use my samples to create a template for your own query letters, using similar words and layout.


Here’s travel writer & blogger Chris Backe’s review of my Query Letter eBook:

“Pitch letters can sometimes feel like the secret sauce of the blogging world. Many folks have a template or two they use, but few share them as openly as Roy has here. Call this what it is – a master-class of sales writing to get into magazines and newspapers.

The book itself is clean, complete, yet concise enough to be read in a single sitting. Roy’s real world experience and credentials underscore the opening chapters, which reads like common sense should – if it were still common sense. It’s up-to-date with the way things actually work here in 2015 (not the way we want them to work).

A two-page template is the appetizer, with twenty query letters written by him that resulted in an article placement as the main course. You’ll soon notice the patterns used, and feel empowered to try it yourself. Note that some lateral thinking is rewarding – and that tailoring your pitch to ensure that magazine’s angle is taken care of is paramount. Highly recommended.” 

And another testimonial from Australian writer, Jillian Huntley:

  “Dear Roy,

I want to thank you for the fantastic amount of information you so
 freely share with the writing community.

I have been published in the academic world but as yet, nothing other
than one small article in the Travel section of the Weekend Australian, although I am just starting out as a freelance writer.

I like the structure of your query letters (having bought your e-book). I have recently completed a Travel Writing course with the Australian Writers Centre, which was most helpful, however, I found that the structure of the pitch letters we wrote in the course were not as informative or as detailed as yours. This is not a criticism of their style as everyone does things differently but to me it make sense (again) to follow a format such as yours which is detailed and informative.

As I write my 
pitch letters - I have your e-book open as a guide!

 Again, thank you Roy for your generosity in sharing your experiences.”

Kind Regards
, Jillian Huntley


At Your Service

Coaching and Consulting
Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class
Travel Writing and Photography Retreat
Online Courses
Vietnam 1-1 Retreat & Consulting
Expat Consulting


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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

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

Roy Stevenson
Pitch Travel Write

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