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Issue #327: The Best Way to Sell Travel Stories without a Query Letter
October 19, 2020
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!

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Editorial: Beware of Outdated Travel Writing Advice

Freelance travel writing has evolved rapidly since I first put pen to paper in 2007. Since then, I’ve seen many excellent travel writers fall by the literary wayside. They’ve been unable to adapt their writing and sales techniques to the ever-changing travel writing landscape.

One of the “immutable” rules that can be a barrier to getting your stories published is the Writer’s Guidelines. Some of the guidelines tell us that we must follow them exactly.

But, here’s what I say: they’re called “guidelines” for a reason. If these were named “Absolute Writers Rules” then sure, we would have to follow them exactly.

Beyond my first month or two of writing, I’ve seldom bothered reading the writers guidelines. Yes, I know this is considered heresy. But I haven’t had any problems selling 1,000+ stories. 

In my experience, if you pitch a good story idea, the editor will get back to you and tell you exactly what he or she wants. Length, tone, and style take a back seat to a good story idea! You can always sort out those details later, after the editor shows interest in your idea.

If you’re a beginner, you’re probably wondering if you should study a magazine’s writer’s guidelines before pitching a story. My advice: scan through them after an editor expresses interest in your story idea.

Once you start poring through magazines’ writer’s guidelines, you’ll find that they’re all different. You can waste days studying the writer’s guidelines.

I’ve known novice writers who have tied themselves up in knots obsessing over all the conflicting information in the writer's guidelines, and never get around to putting pen to paper. It’s a common problem with the 100+ newbie travel writers that I’ve coached.

Don’t get caught up and overwhelmed by this trivia!

The experts also insist that your queries must be tailored to each individual magazine. This is also poor advice. I've never bothered tailoring my queries to individual magazines - except to change the editors’ and publications’ names.

Despite this unorthodox approach, I’ve never had any problems selling my stories. Tailoring each query beyond basic information takes far too much time. Once again, editors will never throw away a good story idea if the timing is right!

I’ve had dozens of instances where several different magazines around the globe have purchased my articles when I’ve used the exact same query letter. And, when the writers I coach send out the exact same query letters to multiple magazine editors, they’ve had no problems selling their stories.

Don’t internalize outdated advice about writer’s guidelines and customized queries. We can’t be all things to every magazine editor.

Generate new, exciting, and unique story ideas - and produce well-written queries - and you’ll sell your stories.

This Week's Featured Post

The Best Way to Sell Your Travel Articles Without a Query Letter

The name of the game in freelance travel writing is selling your articles. If you can’t sell your stories, you’ll never see your work in print or online. I’m obsessed with finding the best ways and most effective marketing techniques to sell what I write. To this end, I’ve experimented with dozens of pitching techniques.

I’ve read books and manuals about marketing freelance articles. I subscribe to e-newsletters about freelance writing and I read every word of them. On press trips I pester my peers about how they sell their stories to magazine editors. I’ve tried everything short of tattooing my query letters across my forehead.

I’ve experimented with my query letters and constantly tweak them. I shamelessly steal query letter ideas from books and manuals and absorb them into mine. While most of these techniques have worked with varying degrees of success, one stands out above all the others as my most highly successful sales technique.

Read on to find out what it is. . .


Upcoming Posts

Oct 26: Special Report: Are Travel Blogs and Websites Becoming Irrelevant?
Nov 2: Five Ways to Sell Your Travel Articles More Successfully
Nov 9: White Paper: How Big Is The Print Media Industry? Success Stories

Chuck Warren’s Exciting Freelance Writing Journey

Breaking into freelance magazine writing is something many people aspire to do but never quite figure out.

Here’s how Chuck Warren used his knowledge and experience in the boating industry and made it look easy.

It’s an inspirational read for anyone thinking about entering the competitive field of freelance magazine writing.

"My travel writing journey over the past two and a half years has been nothing short of incredible and I'm trying very hard to continue moving forward.

Here’s my story on how I made the transition from unpublished wannabe to regular freelance contributor . . .


Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Preselling Your Articles

A classic novice travel writing mistake is to write a story and then try to sell it. This is a backward approach and it’s a waste of your valuable writing time. Inevitably, it ends in disappointment.

Here are three articles about why you should always sell your stories before you write them . . .

Pitch Before You Write: Five Tips for Your Sales Pitch

How to Presell Your Travel Stories

Seven Travel Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Inspirational Travel Quote



Our best-selling eBook, The Complete Guide To Query Letters For Travel Writers, shows you everything you need to know about crafting compelling query letters to sell your travel articles to magazine editors.

Well-written query letters convince magazine editors that you have an exciting travel story their readers will absolutely love.

In ten years of travel writing I’ve had more than 1,000 stories published in 200 magazines, journals, newspapers, in-flights, on-boards, specialty magazines, and travel websites – and they all started with a query letter. 

I know how to write killer query letters that work, and I wrote this eBook to show you how to do it.

This is different from all other query letter books because you get 20 sample query letters that worked for me. These are actual query letters I used successfully to get articles published in print magazines.

Each sample query letter comes with a clear explanation of the key things that sold the idea successfully. And you can use my samples to create a template for your own query letters, using the same words and layout.


Group Coaching Mastermind Community

Our Group Coaching Mastermind Community kicked off on October 1st 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!

Last week we studied "How to Write a Compelling Beginning to Your Travel Story" and this week we'll be discussing my Marketing Mastery system and how it works.

If you missed out on the opportunity to join this session, you can get on our no-obligation interest list for the next session starting in January.

Be among the first to hear when we re-open registration in early 2021. Learn more about what’s included and sign up for the interest list here . . .

Group Coaching Mastermind Community Interest List

Live Workshops

People have been asking when our 2021 workshops in New Orleans, Louisiana are scheduled.

Here are the 2021 dates:
June 3-6, 2021, Travel Writing & Photography Retreat
June 8-10, 2021, 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

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 into the travel writing realm and all the enjoyment that comes with it. 

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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