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Issue #310: “No Rules” Travel Writing
June 22, 2020
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!

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

Editorial: “No Rules” Travel Writing

A mantra you’ll often hear me repeat in PitchTravelWrite posts and at my Travel Writing & Marketing Master Class is, “The only consistent thing about freelance travel writing is its complete lack of consistency.”

What I mean is, there are no rules or standards in freelance travel writing:

- There’s no set pay rate for our articles. Some magazines don’t pay for articles while others pay $1/word or more

- No two magazine’s writer’s guidelines are the same

- There’s no standardization or consensus on how editors assess our queries

- Some editors prefer articles written in the first person, while other editors will not accept first person stories

- Some editors issue contracts to their writers, and many do not

- Some editors prefer to work with a “stable” of established writers, while other editors are open to work with beginners and freelancers

- Some editors pay for photos; others don’t pay but still expect high quality photos

- Some editors require photos to accompany your story; others don’t want your photos & procure their own

- Different Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) have different criteria to qualify writers for complimentary travel assistance

And these are just a few of travel writing’s inconsistencies. It’s no wonder novice travel writers are so bewildered about what they “should” be doing. There are no rules!

To add to this confusing milieu, contemporary travel writers are faced with a turbulent ever-changing field, much like rafting on whitewater rapids. We can be floating gently along on calm waters one day, and the next, our regular magazine clients have disappeared and we’re tossed into chaos.

Editors move on, magazines and publishers fold, and the Internet continues to push print travel magazine publishers to find ways to turn a profit.

As advanced sentient beings, we crave stability and consistency. I get this. This is a normal reaction to the rapidly changing world around us.

But, if you become a freelance travel writer and expect it to be uniformly packaged, you’re going to be disillusioned.

It won’t all go your way. You won’t immediately bring in a regular and stable income. If you expect these things, you’ll quickly become disheartened.

If you’re expecting your queries to be snapped up as soon as you fire them out, you’re in for a shock. Editors make their own rules. Some never reply to your queries. Even elite travel writers have low acceptance rates (25% - 40%) for their pitches.

So how do you overcome these inherent inconsistencies?

- Be prepared for inconsistency. You’re on a learning curve that could take you several years to ascend.

- When an editor expresses interest in your story, politely ask what they pay before you write the article. Same goes for photos - are they required and will you be paid?

- Enter the mysterious world of freelance travel writing with your eyes wide open. Expect the unexpected.

- Read the writer’s guidelines and confirm with the editor whether writing in the first person is preferred or not.

- Deal with each problem rationally and professionally as you encounter it.

- Over time you’ll find editors who are easy to deal with and pay their writers promptly, and you’ll pursue repeat business with them. Conversely, you’ll drop the editors who treat you poorly.

- Pitch articles and secure assignments before you travel. Then request complimentary travel assistance from the DMO. Having an assignment before you travel makes DMOs more likely to work with you than if you don’t have one.

If you have the patience to persevere, along with a healthy dose of flexibility and creativity, you’ll find a whole universe of mind-blowing travel opportunities opening up to you.

I’ve been on more than 100 press trips and Fam Tours to hundreds of wonderful destinations in 25 countries spread around the world, and not for one moment have I regretted my decision to become a travel writer!

Getting to this level isn’t easy. But I’m sure glad I stuck with it! I urge you to stick with it too. Don’t be impatient. Give it a chance. But don’t bother looking for consistent standards - you won’t find them.

This Week's Featured Post

16 Places Travel Writers Can Look for Sales Leads

If you look at the most successful travel writers, you’ll find one major factor behind their success: their stories are published in many different magazines and a variety of other print and online media.

Travel writers who make the mistake of establishing relationships with only a few “regular” magazines and then cease to look for new markets will eventually get into trouble.  

What happens when one of your ‘regular’ magazines shuts down?  You panic because a steady source of revenue has suddenly vanished.

Here are 16 places where you can get published, starting at the top of the pile.



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

June 29: Where to Find Outlets for Your Luxury Travel Stories
July 6: 6 Reasons to Presell Your Travel Stories and How to Do It
July 13: Repurposing Your Travel Articles Success Stories

Jessica Pickett

Jessica Pickett’s travel writing journey will surely inspire you to try your hand at freelance travel writing. I’m particularly impressed with her story. 

I first met Jessica at a travel writing conference in 2014. Since then, she’s made a steady ascent through the freelance writing ranks. Hers is a great example of how a novice travel writer can break into this competitive arena. 

Jessica’s trajectory is enviable, and it shows how much is achievable even for complete beginners.  

There were five particular things she did well to succeed in travel writing, right from the start. 

If you’re a novice writer, you can do these things, too. Read this post to learn from Jessica as she tells how she launched her freelance writing career . . .


Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Getting Published

Here's practically everything we’ve ever published about getting your travel stories published!

Getting your work published is the main objective of freelance travel writers. Every article you write needs to be published somewhere, so you need a solid system in place to do it quickly, efficiently, and successfully.

After all, if you can't sell your article, you don't get to write it!

Here’s the link to our entire suite of 30 articles on getting your stories published.

It’s a gold mine of information!

Here’s the link to our entire suite of 30 articles on getting your stories published. It’s a gold mine of information!

Inspirational Travel Quote


Featured Bundle: The Beginner's 3-Pack

If you're just getting started in travel writing, try our Beginner's 3-Pack—the perfect way to kick-off your travel writing career. You get a 10% discount with the bundle.

The Complete Guide to Query Letters
Everything you need to know about query letters - and 20 examples you can start using immediately.

50 Websites That Want to Publish Your Travel Stories

A list of 50+ quality travel websites where you can collect some bylines.

100 Print Magazines That Want to Publish Your Travel Articles
A list of 100 print magazines that want to publish your travel articles. These lists will save you hours of time researching and creating lists yourself. They give you a foundation of sales leads you can use and build upon. You can buy the books individually, or save 10% by grabbing the bundle. Learn more and purchase the Beginner's 3-Pack Reference Guides

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:


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:
• 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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