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Issue #341: You Can Chart Your Own Course
February 08, 2021
|Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!
. . . and WELCOME all new subscribers. Thanks for joining us.
Editorial: Chart Your Own CourseIf you ask ten successful travel writers what techniques they use to sell their stories, you’ll get ten different answers. Certainly they’ll give you common tradecraft elements such as choosing salable story ideas, writing enticing query letters, and making sure your writing skills are excellent.
But, on closer scrutiny, they’ll also present differing — even conflicting — approaches to their travel writing.
Some travel writers, for example, are big believers in sending follow up emails to magazine editors, after they’ve sent their pitches, while others don’t bother sending follow-ups.
Some writers will tell you they tailor their query letters to each publication, while others send out identical query letters to multiple publications.
Some writers believe that self-promotion through social media has played a large part in their success; while others seldom use social media.
You get the idea. The bottom line is that they’re all doing the things that work well for them. There is no single way to get to travel writing nirvana. There’s no one-size-fits-all method. The top writers have clearly built the foundation of their travel writing platforms using proven best practices, and then branched out.
I know dozens of well-published travel writers who have evolved their own systems and who are steadily forging ahead, consistently getting their work published. We’ve featured ten of them in our eBook,
Rock Star Travel Writers.
Through years of trial, error, guesswork, and hard work, I’ve managed to sell more than one thousand stories to 200+ regional, national, and international magazines, newspapers, trade journals, custom publications, specialty magazines, in-flights, on-boards, and online travel magazines. I’m considered one of the U.S.A’s most prolific travel writers and I make it look easy.
I'm lucky. My brain is wired for marketing and selling stories to publications. It’s in my DNA. Marketing ideas that seem like common sense to me have not even occurred to other travel writers.
And, I was also prepared to work 8-10 hours/day, seven days/week, for my first few years, because I truly wanted to break into travel writing. Work ethic is a “biggie” in this game.
Pam and Gary Baker, among the most successful travel writers I’ve mentored, have been published in numerous prestigious glossy print magazines. They've achieved a pitch acceptance rate of 60%, a phenomenal figure! Additionally, they’ve landed some spectacular complimentary luxury travel gigs that would make your mouth water.
Pam and Gary mastered the basics of freelance travel writing and were with me for two years. Although I have no doubts that they’ll continue to use my techniques, they’ll also evolve those techniques into what works best for them and their own personalities. They'll chart their own course.
Here’s my point: novice travel writers should use the demonstrated sales methods, tips and techniques that form the bedrock of our profession. But, after you've mastered those techniques, you should also branch out on your own. When you're getting your work published regularly, that's the time you should begin charting your own course.
This Week's Featured Post
9 Ways To Sabotage Your Query LettersYour query letter is one of the most important pieces of the freelance writing puzzle. It gives you the opportunity to sell magazine editors on your story ideas.
Without a first-rate query—also known as a “pitch”—you’re never going to sell your articles. And if you can’t sell your stories, you don’t get to write them!
Producing a good query letter is difficult enough. And, you can sabotage your pitch with ill-chosen statements and other inappropriate behaviors.
Here are nine of the creative ways that novice travel writers damage their own query letters. I’ve included my advice on countering these self-destructive sentences.
Are you making any of these query letter mistakes? Read the article to find out . . .
Upcoming PostsFeb 15: When Travel Writing Stars Align: Articles and Publications Destined for Each Other
Feb 22: A Query Letter That Landed the Press Trip of a Lifetime
Mar 1: Four Ways To Launch Your Marketing Platform
PitchTravelWrite.com Success Stories
Jessica Pickett: A Travel Writing Success StoryThis post will surely inspire you to try your hand at freelance travel writing. It tells Jessica Pickett’s story — in her own words — of how she launched her impressive travel writing career.
Hailing from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Jessica’s steady ascent through the travel writing ranks is a textbook example of what novice travel writers should be doing to break into this competitive arena. Novice travel writers can learn from Jessica’s trajectory into travel writing.
Here’s Jessica’s story . . . “While attending a Travel Writer’s Conference in San Diego in 2014, Roy and his wife Linda sat at my table and, to my good fortune, easily struck up conversation. After chatting with Roy, I immediately purchased his eBooks, even before hearing him speak on stage.
A few short weeks after the conference, I landed my first byline. Bolstered by the knowledge gained from Roy’s books and his PitchTravelWrite.com posts, I pitched a well-known regional magazine and blog. This regional blog and magazine is where I “started” my travel writing. After answering a “Call for Writers” post (which had been shared over 4,000 times by the time I saw it) I was invited to become a regular monthly contributor.
Upon submitting my first article they offered me a permanent contributor’s role. There, I published dozens of articles, both digital and print, in over a year of writing for them.”
Read the rest of Jessica’s steady rise into the ranks of professional freelance writing here.
Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Improving Your Travel WritingAs travel writers, we put words together to paint pictures of our destinations. Writing about a place we love seems like such an easy thing to do. From the readers perspective, we live a charmed life.
But, as you know, there’s much more to the travel writing craft: things behind the scenes that your reader doesn’t know about like . . .
There’s also a lot to learn about controlling your time and freeing yourself up from mundane tasks so that you can spend more time on the things you love to do – writing about travel.
This resource page includes information about topics that focus on your travel writing craft. How you can improve your writing and increase your productivity – and get those articles out to editors.
Inspirational Travel Quote
RESOURCES FOR TRAVEL WRITERS
Featured Book: 125 Websites that Want to Publish Your Travel Stories
Our BRAND NEW eBook, 125 Websites that Want to Publish Your Travel Stories, is a red-hot list of quality websites that are eager to publish your travel articles.
And, you can make some money while you’re boosting your bylines. Our new book includes more than 50 travel websites that actually PAY their writers!
This reference book for travel writers is one of the most valuable resources you can have in your toolbox. You won’t find a list like this anywhere else.
The list of 125 websites — and the advice in this eBook — is your short cut to success. It will accelerate your travel writing career by rapidly enhancing your online presence.
You can save $5 if you use PROMO code FE2021 at checkout.
Group Coaching Mastermind CommunityOur 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.
Live WorkshopsPeople have been asking when our 2021 workshops in New Orleans, Louisiana are scheduled.
Here are the 2021 dates:
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 TravelWritersExchange.com’s Top Ten Travel Writing Workshops.
You can access the list of the top ten travel writing workshops at the link below . . .
At Your Service
If you know someone who will enjoy this newsletter,
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.
You can see the entire list by visiting their website - click on the graphic to view the list now.
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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