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Issue #314: Five Focus Areas for Success for New Travel Writers
July 20, 2020
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!

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

What We’re Doing:

We’re half way through our two week sojourn in Dalat, Vietnam, and finding the cooler climate so refreshing. We’re doing a little sightseeing but mostly chilling out.

Our first tourist stop was Hang Nga’s Crazy House guest house. What a perfect title for this attraction. If you hired a deranged Gaudi architect fueled with industrial strength LSD, blended with Dr. Seuss’s dreams, and throw in a dash of Alice in Wonderland, you'll get Hang Nga’s Crazy House.

This surreal edifice is a series of interconnected and outrageously sculpted rooms and “houses” that leave you slightly off-balance. Narrow, off-kilter sky bridges take you from building to building, each of which morphs into an entirely different organic theme.

Ms. Dang Viet Nga designed this uber-creative stucture as a fairy tale house, although she later adopted the Crazy House name. Inspired by Gaudi, the guest house has several psychedelic rooms where you can spend the night. If Disneyland is The Happiest Place On Earth, the Hang Nga Crazy House is The Funkiest Place On Earth.

We love staying in places with some history, so were thrilled to spend a few nights at the Ana Villas Spa & Resort. Situated atop a hillside overlooking Dalat, this resort is a relic of the French colonial occupation. Seventeen original villas from the 1930s sprawl across the rolling hilltop in a private village, linked by wide cobblestone roads.

Each villa has 3-6 enormous private suites complete with spacious ensuites. The vintage hardwood floors, shuttered wooden windows, antique paintings & original fireplaces make it easy to imagine colonial life here. This is where the French took their summer retreats, to escape Vietnam's heat & humidity. The villas are also fitted with modern luxuries, of course, so we were very comfortable during our stay.

Editorial: Five Focus Areas for Success for New Travel Writers

I make freelance travel writing look easy because I’ve had more than 1,000 articles published in 200+ regional, national, and international magazines, newspapers, trade journals, custom publications, specialty magazines, in-flights, on-boards, and online travel magazines.

But, I’m the first person to tell you that breaking into paying print media is way harder than it looks. The truth is I work really hard at it, as does any successful travel writer.

Where do you start? Here are five focus areas for success for novice travel writers:

Pay Attention to Every Step

To get your work published in print, you need to pay attention to every one of the steps in the freelance writing process.

From dreaming up a salable story idea to creating an enticing query letter and then writing a publishable article, you've got to do each step well.

Treat it Like a Business

It’s also important to treat your travel writing as a business. This means building structure into your approach every day. It means having the self-discipline to “go to work” each day. Without this trait, you’re not going to meet much success in freelance travel writing. It’s all about discipline!

It takes time to break into print media. Your success in getting your stories published is directly related to the number of pitches you send out.

Learn everything you can about selling your stories. Even today, I’m still picking up tips to further refine my marketing skills. There’s always something new to learn.

Many travel writers are hobbyists. It’s certainly okay to treat travel writing as a hobby, but your progress will be much slower. If you want to get published and earn money, you need to treat it like a business.

Continuously Upgrade Your Writing Skills

Your writing skills are as important as your marketing skills. But you need to know how to do more than write. Your writing must meet the magazine editor’s publication standards.

I’m still refining my journalism skills. This is a craft that we continuously develop. You’re never “done”. Keep writing and refining your craft.

Be Resilient

Travel writers also need a healthy dose of resilience. I’m always surprised when I hear about how downhearted writers feel when their queries are rejected.

Strangely enough, I’ve never thought it a big deal when I receive rejection letters from magazine editor. It’s not personal. I simply accept rejection as part of the freelance process, and doggedly send out more queries. I have a thick hide.

If you’re sensitive about rejection, just think of it as part of the process. Most of us get more rejections than acceptances. Welcome to the club!

Learn to Work Successfully with Editors

Finally, you need to be flexible with your approach to this whole freelance writing gig. You’re writing to serve the magazine readers, not yourself. I come across references to how freelance writers should always “be true to themselves and write about what they want to write about”. I don’t buy that for one second!

If you can’t dream up stories that other people want to read, you’re going to find it difficult selling your stories. It’s not all about you!

You also need to know the subtleties of working with magazine editors and how to get repeat assignments with them.

Editors tell me that some writers get upset when they request rewrites or changes their stories. Some writers are foolish enough to chastise the editor for this. (Not wise.) You want repeat work with editors! Even top-shelf journalists are sometimes asked to rewrite their work. Just do it and move on.

This Week's Featured Post

Found a New Magazine? How to Pitch the Editor & Get Your Stories Published

Getting published in startup magazines is a good bet for beginning and experienced freelancers alike. While start-up magazines have never been my primary source of outlets, I’ve managed to snag enough assignments from them to make it worthwhile. 

I’m still writing for a couple of magazines that I cold-called just after they started up, several years ago.

Here’s how to approach new publications . . .



Are you tired of talking, thinking, and dreaming of breaking into travel writing?

Are you ready to start writing?

Many of you have asked when we’re going to offer group coaching. So, we're working on it. We’re planning to make it affordable, fun, and helpful and productive for you.

Everything will be done online with video training, a community of like-minded writers helping each other, a robust focus on the craft of writing and the art of selling, and lots of other resources at your fingertips.

Here are a few of the things we’ll be offering through our Group Coaching Mastermind program:

A group coaching place where . . .

- you’ll get helpful critiques of your story ideas
- you’ll learn how to write successful query letters
- you’ll get solid advice about pitching your stories
- you’ll get feedback on your articles
- you’ll get photography tips for preparing galleries for editors
- you’ll have an opportunity to showcase your articles & photos

A safe and helpful community where . . .

- you can ask questions and get the answers you need
- you can gain the confidence to leap over roadblocks
- you can gain insight, encouragement, and support
- you can tap into for help when you’re stuck with your writing
- you can give and receive solid advice about problems
- you can celebrate your writing successes
- you can ask for help with magazine leads to pitch your story ideas
- other members can help with“in-the-trenches” perspectives
- everyone exchanges thoughts on story ideas and what works

A mentoring and resource place where . . .

- you'll receive marketing tips about selling your travel stories
- you’ll find new resources to boost your freelance travel writing knowledge
- you’ll get advice on the craft of travel writing
- you’ll have opportunities to fine-tune your photography skills
- you’ll get a chance to share your articles & best shots

You’ll get a writing community, group coaching and resources and content so you can succeed in travel writing - and have fun with other travel writers while you’re doing it.

Registration will open in August. Get your name on the interest and you’ll be the first to hear when it opens. This Group coaching program will be limited to the first 35 registrants.

Click here to get on the Group Coaching Interest List

Upcoming Posts

July 27: Four Reasons to Expand Your Writing Genres and How to Do It
Aug 3: Finding Magazine Sales Leads the Easy Way
Aug 10: Can Print Media Survive the Internet? Success Stories

Barb Harmon

“After the death of my youngest son, I sank into what appeared to be a dark, ugly, depression. I lost interest in everything, including a successful online business.

My grief counselor pronounced a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was shocked, but relieved when she assured me she could help me cope with the symptoms.

She asked, "What do you want to do with your life?" 

Without hesitation, I replied, "I want to be a travel writer."

The first step was to gently dip my toes in the water by creating a new blog. I was writing again and it felt good. I spent hours online reading masses of information on travel writing. I didn't know if anyone would be interested in my stories, but I was determined to write them. 

An editor mentioned she might like a roundup story about Guadalajara in the future. She asked if I was interested.  Of course, I said, "yes."  But what’s a roundup story, I wondered?”

Read the rest of Barb Harmon’s deeply moving and inspiring travel writing story here . . .

Read Barb's story

Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Press Trips

Once you’ve established your reputation as a prolific travel writer, and you have a good relationship with several magazine editors, you’ll find a whole new world of travel opening up to you - that of FAM Tours and Press Trips.

These press trips and familiarization tours will provide you with free or low cost travel, if you have assignments.

Our Press Trips Resource Page gives you 16 free, full length articles on how to land these free travel assignments and cushy press trips. They show you, step-by-step, how I’ve scored more than 100 press trips to 26 countries around the world.

Access our Resource Page about Press Trips

Inspirational Travel Quote


Featured Bundle: Advanced 2-Pack Reference Guides for Travel Writers

In How to Land Press Trips and Fam Tours you'll learn about how to use your assignments to request free and low-cost travel.  You'll also get all the resources successful travel writers have at their fingertips to network with the right people and have DMOs clamoring to invite you to visit their region.

If luxury is your preferred style of travel, our manual, How to Break into the Luxury Travel Writing Market will help you move quickly into this market. And it gives you a huge ready-made list of magazines and websites interested in publishing luxury articles. You can buy the books individually, or save 10% by grabbing the bundle.

Learn more and purchase the Advanced Travel Writing 2-Pack

Live Workshops

People have been asking when our 2021 workshops in the U.S. are scheduled. They're scheduled in June, 2021, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Here are the 2021 dates:
June 3-6, 2021, Travel Writing & Photography Retreat
June 8-10, 2021, Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers

We have had a lot of interest for these workshops 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’s Top Ten Travel Writing Workshops.

You can access the list of the top ten travel writing workshops at the link below . . .

Travel Writers Exchange workshop list: #1 Marketing Master Class

At Your Service

Coaching and Consulting
Online Courses
Vietnam 1-1 Retreat & Consulting
Expat Consulting


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HERE., 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 the travel writing realm and all the enjoyment that comes with it, too. 

We're thrilled to announce that is on The Write Life’s 2020 list of 100 BEST WEBSITES FOR WRITERS! 

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

Friend me on Facebook

My 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

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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