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Issue #363: Extracting Your Money from Deadbeat Editors
July 12, 2021
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!

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

Newsletter Update

We’re relocating back to the U.S. and will take a break from publishing this newsletter so we can pack up our lives in Vietnam and get settled back in the U.S. (and get vaccinated!)

This will be our last issue until August 23rd, when we’ll resume publishing.

See you then!

Expats in Vietnam: Interview with Roy Stevenson

We’re always thrilled when we receive nice publicity like this interview by Kirsten Raccuia, curator of, an Expat Lifestyle & Travel Blog.

In this interview, I spill the beans about our lifestyle in Da Nang, Vietnam. I discuss the best and worst things about our expat life, adjustments we’ve made, the quality of life here, the cost of living and the struggles we’ve had, and much more.

Because of recent visa changes, we’re returning to Seattle to plan our next slow travel adventures.

You can read the interview here

Editorial: Extracting Your Money from Deadbeat Editors

All travel writers discover some disheartening problems during their freelance writing career, including non-payment by publishers.

Although it’s never fun to read about this sort of thing, you need to understand this sort of misbehavior does exist in freelance writing, as it does in almost every other business.

If you know about it, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it when it happens to you. And if you can recognize the warning signs, you can take proactive measures to maximize your chances of being paid for your work, or just walk away from the magazine.

But, don’t throw your pen away just yet. These sorts of problems are rare exceptions and not commonplace events.

Here’s some data illustrating how infrequently editors and publishers welsh on their debts: I’ve written for more than 200 editors of print magazines, newspapers, e-zines, on-boards, in-flights, trade journals, and specialty magazines, at the regional, national, and international levels. Of these outlets, only five have made my “Duds and Deadbeats” list for unethical or dishonest practices.

This tiny percentage (2.6%) should reassure you that fraud and rip-offs in our industry very much are in the minority.

But rest assured, the longer you’re in the game, the greater your chances of meeting a deadbeat editor. It WILL happen to you eventually.

Certainly I’ve scrubbed several magazines off my master list because the magazine didn’t pay enough for my time invested, or because it was more trouble to work with them than it was worth. But these were through my choice, and not through any malfeasance on the editor or publisher’s part.

What exactly can you do when it’s clear that the editor or publisher has no intention of paying you?

Adjust Your Mindset and Emotions

When I encountered my first non-paying magazine I remember being reluctant to make a fuss about collecting the money — even though it rightfully and legally mine. I thought, “If I demand my money, that magazine will never let me write for them again.”

I was so emotionally involved that I couldn’t see how ridiculous this attitude really was. I wised up and adjusted my mindset to, “Why would I want to write for a magazine that won’t pay me?”

Newsflash! If a magazine doesn’t pay you for your story as promised, or is habitually late with your payments, you should cease writing for it.

You might be thinking, “I’d let them have a piece of my mind because they ripped me off.”

My advice is to avoid the temptation to send hateful rhetoric to the magazine, even if it’s justified. Move on. Why spend any further time and emotional energy on these dogs? Remove them from your list and move on to more reputable magazines.

With 17,000+ magazines and newspapers in the English speaking world, the freelance writing expanse is vast and practically limitless so why persist with the bad bets?

In my post Travel Writing Reality Check I give you a few insights into the less glamorous side of freelance travel writing.

This Week's Featured Post

Creating a Successful Travel Blog – 8 Things You Should Know

Many travel writers want to start a blog. But how do you create a successful blog — one that gets traffic and earns income? 

The travel blogging field is clogged with dewy-eyed writers who think creating, growing, and monetizing a successful travel blog will be easy. They think they’ll do it within a few months. When "instant success" doesn’t materialize, they abandon their blog, disillusioned. 

The percentage of successful bloggers who reach the top tier of the “influencer” pyramid is miniscule. There are icons and superstars like Johnny Jet and Nomadic Matt. And there are less famous successful bloggers.  

But these high flyers are among the top 4% - the successful bloggers earning a reasonable level of income from their travel blogs. The remaining 96% of blog and website owners don’t earn much more than pocket change. And the reality is that it takes most bloggers around four years to start earning any kind of substantial revenue.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog, here are eight things you need to know to successfully enter this highly competitive arena:


Upcoming Posts

August 23: Writing for Fitness Magazines
August 30: Up Your Travel Writing Game: Three Ways to Get Social
September 6: Dreaming Up Luxury Travel Story Ideas Success Stories

Pam & Gary Baker’s Remarkable Travel Writing Journey

Pam & Gary Baker from Sacramento, California, are creating quite a stir in the travel writing industry. Their breakthroughs into respectable glossy paying print magazines in the past three years prove that their rapidly accumulating bylines are no flukes. 

Says Pam, “Travel writing is not an easy field to break into. Gary and I have been working with Roy for one year and we are now gaining momentum. 

So far, we’ve had three articles published on international websites, had one story published in a Bay area newspaper (both print and online), and our favorite, a story about "Lady Bird" in Via Magazine online.  

We have another article just published as the cover story of the March issue of Lost Treasure Magazine; the cover story in the May 2018 Australia and New Zealand Magazine; two stories in a Canadian magazine scheduled for later this year; and another story in a Pacific Northwest magazine scheduled for Spring 2019. And, yes, these are paid assignments!”

You can read the rest of Pam & Gary’s inspiring story here

Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links About Creating Your Magazine Distribution Lists

I get requests from travel writers every week asking me to help them prepare distribution lists so they can pitch their stories.

I’m not surprised that so many travel writers contact me with this request. I get it. Searching for target magazines is perceived as an onerous clerical task and can take many hours. Yet, it’s an indispensable step in getting your articles published.

After all, if you can’t find magazines to pitch, you’re not going to get your stories published.

But I wouldn’t be doing you any favors by doing this research for you. If someone else does your work for you, you’re not going to learn how to do your own magazine searches. And, this is such a crucial skill for freelance writing success.

The good news is that once you’ve created a master distribution list, you’ve got it forever. It’s not going to disappear overnight from your laptop. All you have to do is update your list as you find new magazines, and keep the editors’ names and contact details updated.

There are some things you can do to enhance your magazine researching skills. The following articles cover the nuts-and-bolts of creating distribution lists.

This first article shows you — step-by-step — how to create your magazine distribution lists, and where to look for them.
How to Create Magazine Distribution Lists

Here’s a post on how to select the right magazines and pitch your stories:
Where to Pitch Travel Stories

This article shows where and how you can use magazine vendor websites to find magazines:
Finding Travel Magazine Sales Leads on Vendor Websites

Here are six reference books that I use to find new magazine leads:
Reference Books for Magazine Leads

Inspirational Travel Quote


Featured Book for July/August: Rock Star Travel Writers

This book helps travel writers learn how to get published in top shelf magazines!

Have you ever wondered how travel writers get their stories published in the top shelf travel magazines?

Our eBook, Rock Star Travel Writers, reveals — through a series of in-depth interviews — insider tips, techniques, and secrets that 10 leading travel journalists use to land assignments in the most prominent travel glossies, and be paid well for their efforts.

I wish I had this information when I started out on my travel writing journey!

If I’d known, early in my career, what the successful travel writers were doing to get published in top flight magazines, this knowledge would have sped up my entry into this competitive field.

This stellar lineup of highly respected travel journalists offers excellent practical advice and encouragement to help you move up the travel writing food chain.

See how Kimberley Lovato, Bill Fink, Mark Andrews, Irene Levine, Nick O’Connell, Allen Cox, Keith Lyons, James Ullrich, Pam & Gary Baker, Jessica Pickett, Chuck Warren, & Sandy Bornstein consistently get their travel stories published.

When you buy this book in July you can get $5 off the regular price if you use promo code JY5 at checkout:


Don't forget to use promo code JY5 at checkout to get your $5 discount.

Group Coaching Mastermind Community

Our 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 starting in the fall:

Learn more and get on the waiting list

Live Workshops

People have been asking when our 2022 workshops in New Orleans, Louisiana are scheduled.

Here are the 2022 dates:
June 17-20, 2022, Travel Writing & Photography Retreat
June 22-24, 2022, Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers

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’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

Online Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class

Now, you can study our Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers online for only a fraction of the price of the live class! We recorded it LIVE in Seattle, for aspiring travel writers who weren’t able to attend in person.

    Who's it for?

  • If you’re a novice travel writer, or you haven’t had much luck selling your articles to print magazines, this Online Travel Writing & Marketing Workshop is for you.
  • If you weren’t able to travel to our Live Master Class, here’s the opportunity to attend anyway - without any travel costs and at a substantially reduced cost!
  • If you work a full-time job and can’t get time off to attend the live class – you can still attend on your own schedule after working hours.
  • If you’ve wanted to attend our Live Marketing Master Class but can’t get your schedule to fit with the dates it’s offered – here’s your opportunity to attend at your own convenience.


At Your Service

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


If you know someone who will enjoy this newsletter,
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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 into the travel writing realm and all the enjoyment that comes with it. 

We're thrilled to announce that is once again on The Write Life’s 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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