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Issue #270: Do Editors Steal Your Story Ideas?
September 02, 2019
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers and Bloggers!

. . . and WELCOME all new subscribers to The Best Travel Writing Newsletter, ANYWHERE!!

Thanks for joining us.

Editorial: Do Editors Steal Your Story Ideas?

There seems to be a paranoid feeling among some novice travel writers that magazine editors will steal story ideas from writers when they send a query.

I do not believe this is an issue in freelance travel writing.

Why can I state with such certainty that magazine editors are not interested in knocking off your story ideas?

Apart from the obvious ethical issues, the one thing that prevents magazine editors from stealing freelancer’s ideas is that the editors are employees. If publishers receive complaints from writers that an editor is stealing story ideas, the publisher will simply fire the editor. Publishers hire professional editors and expect them to behave with integrity.

In my 13 years as a travel writer, I’ve never had a print magazine editor knock off any of my story ideas—and I've pitched more than 1,000 story ideas to thousands of magazines and journals. And, I’ve never heard of any other writers who’ve had their story ideas stolen.

But the myth persists. I once knew of a writer who was actually going to put a warning in his query letters that “editors were not to steal his story ideas.” I advised him that this was a great way to burn his bridges with editors and they wouldn’t consider working with him.

Editors may reject a query because they already have a similar story in the works. But, insinuating that an editor will pilfer your story idea exhibits distrust. It screams out, high maintenance writer and the editor will definitely avoid commissioning a story to that writer.

If the idea enters your head that an editor will steal your story, ignore it. Worrying about this is a waste of nervous energy and takes up your valuable time. Spend your time dreaming up new story ideas, researching them, and writing more query letters. 

Finally, if you think an editor has stolen your story idea, there’s nothing you can do. You cannot copyright ideas, and it will be impossible to prove. If you believe this has happened, erase that editor from your magazine list and never pitch the editor again. Redirect your focus into growing your freelance writing business elsewhere.

Travel Writing & Photography Retreat

December 8-14, Hoi An, Vietnam

Are you an aspiring travel writer?
Do you want to improve your skills at this enjoyable craft?
Do you need some practice using your camera to help you tell your stories?

There's only 1 week left to register for our Travel Writing & Photography Retreat in Hoi An, Vietnam, December 8-14th.

Join us for your chance to visit the Best City In The World for 2019 as voted by readers of Travel & Leisure magazine. And you'll brush up on your travel writing and photography skills while you're here.

We’ll spend time together inside the classroom learning about travel writing and photography, and ratcheting up your skills to the next level. 

Then you'll explore the ancient city, dreaming up story ideas and making photographs to help you tell your story. By the end of the week you’ll have at least one completed travel story and a gallery of photos to go with it, ready to sell to an editor.


”We loved every minute of this workshop! For those of you who are on the fence, you will thoroughly enjoy the workshop, the excursions, the dinners with the group and the friends you will make. Wish we could be there again this year!” Pam Baker, 2018 Hoi An Retreat Attendee

This retreat is open to writers and photographers of all skill levels.  The class sessions are designed to benefit writers and photographers of all levels. Whether you’re just starting out or if you’re looking to take your writing up a notch, the class sessions will help you.

The instructors are available for one-on-one sessions where you can focus on the things that interest you most. It might be help using your new camera, or advice about how to sell your story or snag a press trip – Roy & Linda will be there to answer your questions.

And don’t worry, we left plenty of time for you to explore Hoi An, relax, have a swim, enjoy the fabulous cuisine, get a foot massage, shop, write or take photos. Afternoons and evenings are your free time to do any of these things and more.

Skills You’ll Learn at the Retreat:

• Developing your personal travel writing voice
• Crafting a compelling story beginning or lede
• Tips and advice to write captivating stories 
• How to improve your story structure
• Expert tips to make your writing more descriptive
• Developing your story ideas to make them marketable
• Using photographs to create a sense of place
• Creating magical photos at dawn and dusk
• Photography techniques to help sell your travel stories
• Photo galleries editors will love
• Secrets to turn your creative sparks into exciting stories
• How to make your writing stand out & avoid the worst mistakes

• Important writing guidelines to ensure success
• Private feedback on your completed article & photographs – from the class and the instructors

”This is an investment worth making! Roy & Linda are a great teaching team. Roy’s method is like no other & with commitment to the steps, it works. Hoi An is knockout charming. I loved every minute, every raindrop, every mouthful of local cuisine & every morsel of education! Do not miss this!” Janet De Acevedo Macdonald, 2018 Hoi An Retreat Attendee

Here’s your chance to visit the Best City in the World for 2019 and brush up on your travel writing and photography skills, all in one exciting package.

We’ve still got a few seats remaining – BUT HURRY – REGISTRATION CLOSES SEPTEMBER 9TH.


Here's what Linda Blair said after the 2018 Retreat:

“Roy Stevenson gives you the whole package, nuts and bolts included. If you want a jumpstart to a successful travel writing career, Roy is your man. As a successful travel writer who has been published in numerous top shelf magazines, he will not only teach you the basics, but he’ll take all the guesswork out of the equation”.

You will learn how to avoid the pitfalls many beginning writers experience, and Roy will lead you to the right path for a successful travel writing career. With honest feedback, “how to” and “what not to do”, you will be able to go home and start doing what you love to do and get paid for it.

When I attended Roy’s Travel Writing & Photography Retreat in Vietnam in 2018, he taught me the skills I needed to get started and when I came home I had so much confidence and motivation, I could hardly wait to get started.

Roy’s humble and relaxed style of teaching is easy to understand, informative, and at times entertaining. I found this learning experience to be a most memorable one. I would highly recommend Roy Stevenson as a way to get where you want to be in the travel writing world. If you want the most bang for your buck, Roy Stevenson is your man.”
- Linda Blair, 2018 Hoi An Attendee

Read more testimonials and register

This Week's Featured Post

Choosing the Best Travel Writing Workshop for You

A good travel writing workshop can transform your travel writing and take it to the next level. For many aspiring travel writers, it could make the difference between breaking into this competitive arena and reaping the travel rewards, or dropping out.

There are at least two dozen travel writing courses sprinkled around the globe. Many of these travel writing workshops are excellent, full of useful, actionable content. 

But some are flimsy - high on hype and light on practical information. 

Before you spend your hard-earned money on a travel writing course, here are some things to consider:

READ THE ARTICLE: Choosing the Best Travel Writing Workshop for You

Upcoming Posts

September 9: Trip Planning For Travel Writers
September 16: Top Ten Travel Safety Tips For Travel Writers
September 23: Ten Things About Me That You Didn't Know

Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links Creating Your Magazine Lists

I get requests from travel writers every week asking me to help them prepare magazine lists where they can send their queries.

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 freelance articles published.

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

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.

How to build your magazine distribution lists shows you—step-by-step—how to create your magazine lists, and where to look for them.

Where to Pitch Travel Stories covers the basic approach to building distribution lists.

Finding Travel Magazine Sales Leads on Vendor Websites shows a little known place to find magazines.

Here's what I use to find new magazine leads:
Finding Magazine Leads: The 6 Best Print References on the Market Today

If you're looking for easy, here's a solution: Magazine Sales Leads to Create Fast and Easy Lists

To help novice travel writers expand their distribution list, I’ve published a reference guide to help you, 100 Print Magazines That Want to Publish Your Travel Articles

Inspirational Travel Quote


Featured Book of the Month: The Art & Craft of Travel Writing

The Art & Craft of Travel Writing will help your develop your craft, hone your skills, avoid mistakes, work smarter, and be more successful. It's a handy reference guide to have at your fingertips when you're writing your travel stories to make them shine.

What’s in our 21-chapter, 152-page book? The Art & Craft of Travel Writing has 5 sections:
1. The Craft of Travel Writing
2. Things That Go Wrong in Travel Writing
3. Keys to Success in Travel Writing
4. Working Smarter
5. Goal Setting for Your Travel Writing

Here are some of the chapters . . .
- Creating a Sense of Place and Ambiance
- Turning Your Destination into a Compelling Read
- How to Write Like a Seasoned Professional
- Five Travel Writing Blunders and How to Avoid Them
- Why Some Travel Writers Have More Success
- How to Plug into the Travel Writing Community
- Seven Ways to Take Control of Your Writing Time
- Set Up Systems to Create More Writing Time

This book will help you hone your travel writing skills and get more stories published. We’ll show you how to allocate your writing time for maximum efficiency, and exactly what you need to do to break into the competitive travel writing market.


We'd like to say THANK YOU to all our subscribers and social media followers. Running the PitchTravelWrite site would not be possible without your support. Thank you for following us, reading our posts, and emailing questions, comments, and compliments.

We value you more than you can know. Our goal is to help you break into travel writing, get paid for it, and land some cool press trips and free travel.

So keep emailing us - we love hearing from you!

At Your Service

Coaching and Consulting
Travel Writing Workshops
Travel Writing Retreats
Online Courses
Vietnam 1-1 Retreat & Consulting
Expat Consulting


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That's all for this week.

Until next week, just keep pitching!


Roy Stevenson
Pitch Travel Write

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