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Issue #348: The Worst Travel Writing Advice I’ve Ever Received
March 29, 2021
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Editorial: The Worst Travel Writing Advice I’ve Ever ReceivedOver the years, I’ve received conflicting advice about how to break into travel writing. Here are two pieces of advice that I found to be especially poor:
Bad tip #1: Make your query letters short.
Why should you ignore this advice?
Editors want to know all about the story you are pitching to them. You can't get this message across effectively in 2-3 paragraphs.
When I changed to longer and more detailed query letters, I went from a very low response rate to selling 90% of my articles.
When the novice writers I coach beef up their query letters, they suddenly start selling their stories. I’ve worked one-on-one with more than 100 novice and intermediate level travel writers in my coaching and mentoring program. They consistently undersell their stories by using short query letters. When they add more detail, they sell their stories more successfully.
My book, The Complete Guide to Query Letters for Travel Writers, has twenty real-life query letter samples that landed me paying assignments in respectable print magazines. Every one of these query letters exceeds the standard ‘two to three paragraph’ length that the ‘experts’ recommend.
Bad tip #2: Start your travel writing career by writing Front-Of-Book articles
I’ve never bothered pitching FOB stories although I’ve had a few FOBs published as a favor to some magazine editors. But I find writing FOBs time consuming and a distraction, for very little pay. Writers are paid only $50-$150 for an FOB, and that's why this is bad advice.
Travel writers traditionally break into top shelf travel glossies and in-flights by pitching short Front-Of-Book (FOB) stories. FOBs are typically short, 100-450 word pieces towards the front of magazines. The theory here is that editors aren’t taking a big risk with a new writer by publishing a short piece. And, if you hand in sub-standard work, it’s easy for editors to dig out another short piece from their “slush” files to substitute in.
I know one successful travel writer who specializes in FOBs - it’s her niche and she’s good at writing these short pieces. It’s how she broke into the stratosphere, so there might be some merit to this advice if that's your thing.
But, if I have a good story idea, I'm going to pitch it as a feature. If you want to maximize your earnings, focus on feature articles, not FOBs - even if you’re a beginner.
This Week's Featured Post
Simultaneous Submissions: Sell More Travel Stories, FasterSome writers still follow the archaic process of writing a query letter to one editor at a time. If you’re still using this system, you’ll grow old and gray before your list of published articles reaches triple figures. And you’ll definitely not earn a livable income.
So how can you change the process and improve your chances of getting your story ideas accepted more quickly? Use simultaneous submissions.
With email queries, it’s not difficult to send your query letter out simultaneously to every relevant magazine on your distribution list. Hitting every editor on your list concurrently cuts your waiting time down from weeks to days or hours.
Using simultaneous queries is a vital cornerstone of my marketing platform. Using this technique has contributed to the 90% acceptance rate for my articles. Yes, you read that right: 90%!
If you don’t have a 90% acceptance rate for your story ideas and would like to significantly improve your
acceptance rate, this article will show you how to do it.
Upcoming PostsMar 15: Five Rules For Selling Articles And Getting Travel Perks
Apr 12: How to Sell Your Articles Without A Query Letter
Apr 19: Simultaneous Submissions: Strategies For Multiple Acceptances
PitchTravelWrite.com Success Stories
Barb Harmon: A Healing Adventure“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 inspiring travel writing story here . . .
Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about How to Sell Your ArticlesGetting published is the main objective of freelance travel writers. Every article you write needs to be published somewhere, so you need solid systems in place to do it quickly, efficiently, and successfully.
After all, if you can't sell your articles, you don't get to write them!
Here’s the link to our entire suite of articles on getting your stories published. It’s a gold mine of information. And, it’s free!
Inspirational Travel Quote
RESOURCES FOR TRAVEL WRITERS
Featured Bundle: Travel Writer's Beginner's 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 built-in, 10% discount when you buy this bundle:
1. The Complete Guide to Query Letters - Everything you need to know about query letters - and 20 examples you can start using immediately.
2. 125 Websites That Want to Publish Your Travel Stories - A list of 125 websites and including more than 50 paying travel websites where you can collect some bylines.
3. 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.
With this bundle you already get a 10% discount over the individual books. You can get an additional $5 off when you use Promo code
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 starting in May . . .
Live WorkshopsPeople have been asking when our 2022 workshops in New Orleans, Louisiana are scheduled.
Here are the 2022 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:
GET ON THE 2021 LIVE WORKSHOP NO-OBLIGATION INTEREST LIST HERE
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
Link to Roy's Personal Facebook page
That's all for now. Until next week - just keep pitching! Roy
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