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Issue #287: Do You Need a Strong Social Media Presence to Get Your Stories Published?
January 13, 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.

Editorial: Do You Need a Strong Social Media Presence to Get Your Stories Published?

It’s easy to get swept up in the “I must use social media to be a successful travel writer” hysteria. Some ‘experts’ are claiming that magazine editors always look through a writer’s social media before accepting their article for publication. They say that a high social media following is an absolute must.

A few magazine editors might prefer travel writers with a strong social media presence. This is because when their story is published the writer can broadcast it to his or her social media followers and link to the story, if it's online. It's an advertising mode and editors hope this will boost their readership and sell more subscriptions.

A few editors are starting to adopt this as a guideline for their writers, even releasing preferred figures for the writer’s social media.

But, most editors would not decline a good story pitch from a writer solely because that writer does not have a substantial social media presence. Writers are spread all along the social media spectrum, some with thousands of followers, while other equally talented writers only have a few dozen.

More than 100 of the novice writers I coach and dozens of writers who have attended our workshops have had their articles published in print media without a strong social media presence.

My point is, if editors hold the writer’s social media presence as the primary factor for commissioning an article, they’ll be missing out on some good stories from developing — but talented — writers. And editors know this.

A social media presence is not absolutely necessary to convince an editor that your story is worth buying. A good story angle, a well written query letter, and good writing skills remain paramount.

I believe an extensive social media presence belongs more under the ‘nice to have’ category at this point in time. Especially when you consider how time consuming and distracting it can be. I know many novice writers who never get past social media posts into solid writing. This is primarily because social media is so much easier to write, and self-gratifying. Social media is fun and freelance writing is work!

By all means, develop your writer’s website and social media platform as your bylines increase, but not at the expense of your principal mission—pitching, selling, and writing good stories.

You need some writing accomplishments to boast about, and if you’re preoccupied with building a social media platform — without a substantial number of respectable bylines — it will look hollow to magazine editors. Concentrate on building your bylines first.

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 7-10, 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 12-14, 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 7-10, 2020

- Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class, New Orleans, June 12-14, 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

No Bylines? Five Ways to Pitch Stories When You Don’t Have Writing Clips

Are you an unpublished writer trying to break into travel writing?

Beginning travel writers frequently ask me, “I don’t have any bylines or writing clips. What do I say to an editor in my query letter when I’m just starting out?” A lack of bylines feels like an insurmountable obstacle to a new writer. But remember, every experienced writer had to pitch their first article at some point in the past – we’ve all been through it. And it’s not as much of a disadvantage as you think.  There are plenty of ways of dealing with this.

Here are five pieces of advice on how to handle a lack of published bylines:


Upcoming Posts

January 20: 5 Marketing Mistakes that Travel Writers Make
January 27, 2020: The Best Query Letter Books to Improve Your Travel Writing Pitches
February 3, 2020: How to Build Distribution Lists To Sell Your Travel Stories Success Stories

Pam and Gary Baker: A Remarkable Travel Writing Journey

We’ve got two overachieving travel writers in Pam & Gary Baker! In their two years as travel writers, Pam and Gary Baker have become an inspiring testament to how hard work can lead to spectacular success in our highly competitive field. I worked with Pam & Gary as coach & mentor since they took our 2017 Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class. They’ve gone from strength to strength and demonstrated that it's possible for beginners to move into the top shelf travel glossies if you stick with it and follow the system.

Here’s this delightful couple’s story, in their own words.

A Remarkable Travel Writing Journey by Pam & Gary Baker

Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Getting Press Trips & Complimentary Travel

Getting press trips to interesting and exotic destinations is a major incentive for travel writers. It’s the primary reason so many of us stay in the game. Solid assignments play a major role in helping travel writers get press trips.
Read: How Assignments Can Help You Fund Your Travels

What exactly do tourist and PR agencies expect of you after you’ve been wined and dined at their expense?
Read: Quid Pro Quo - Press Trips and Travel Writers

How to stop dreaming and take steps to get successful press trip invitations. I’ve listed out the five things key to making it happen.
Read: Press Trips for Travel Writers: What You Need and 2 Stellar Sources

I’m frequently asked how I get invited to go on so many of these trips and FAM Tours. There are three ways to do this:
Read: How to Get Invited on Press Trips and FAM Tours

My eBook, How to Land Press Trips and Fam Tours, tells you exactly what you need to do to get invitations for Press Trips and FAM tours.
Read: How to Land Press Trips

Inspirational Travel Quote



If you can’t sell your travel stories, you don’t get to write them.

My guide shows you EVERYTHING you need to know about selling your travel articles.

My manual, The Complete Guide to Marketing and Selling Your Travel Articles tells you how to select saleable story ideas, how to write first class query letters, how to pitch your ideas the right way, how to find magazines that will be interested in buying your story, and how you can start selling your travel articles to magazines immediately and reap the fantastic travel benefits.

Here’s what professional travel writer, Mike Gerrard, said in his review of my marketing manual:

“I bought this book direct from the author's website and even though I'm a full-time travel writer myself, I learned a heck of a lot from it. We all have our weak spots, and mine is definitely pitching and writing query letters. This book pushed me into action, showed me lots of the author's own query letters that worked, and has now given me a 'to do' list for pitches I want to send. Just reading it reminded me of trips I've done in the last year or two that I could sell more pieces from, and also stuff that's on my own doorstep that I could and should be pitching.

Whether you're a professional or a complete beginner, I highly recommend this book.”
-Mike Gerrard

Learn more and buy the book

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

Roy Stevenson
Pitch Travel Write

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