This article is very different, and I think you’ll find it a lot of fun. It’s a travel writing quiz!
You like quizzes, don’t you? I promise, you will love this one. It’s a multiple choice quiz so I made it easy for you.
It’s all about travel writing dilemmas you will face from time to time. Each travel writing quiz question involves some aspect of selling and marketing your story ideas to editors.
These situations have actually happened to me, and they happen to the writers I coach. So, it’s likely that they will happen to you, too.
Here are the instructions for the travel writing quiz:
1) Read each situation and then review the alternative courses of action. It’s your job to decide what you would most likely choose to do in the same situation.
2) More than one solution may be correct.
3) Decide on your answer before you read my strategies.
4) There's no grade for this travel writing quiz!
At the end of each situation I tell you my strategy, and then explain my rationale for taking that particular action. These strategies have worked well for me and are important ways to get published more often.
Some of my suggested solutions will surprise you, but you’ll learn some handy techniques to help you sell more of your stories.
You sent out simultaneous queries to ten different magazines two months ago. You haven’t heard back from any magazine editors.
You decide it’s time to …
(a) Contact the editors of the ten magazines that you pitched to ask if they’ve had a chance to review your pitch.
(b) Send out ten more queries to different magazines.
(c) Bag it—this story is a dog and you’re never going to sell it.
My Travel Writing Strategy #1:
I like to send simultaneous queries out to at least 20-25 magazines. In this case, for some reason I only sent out ten, so I would not hesitate to send out ten more. My strategy is (b).
If I don’t get a response after the second round of queries, I would place the story in a back burner file and revisit it later. Sometimes the timing isn’t right for a story idea, and an opportunity presents itself later.
You’ve just sent out simultaneous query letters to twenty magazines, pitching the same travel story.
The next day, two magazine editors respond within an hour of each other, indicating they would really like your story for their (non-competing) magazines. Their magazine circulations do not overlap.
One editor is offering to pay you considerably more than the other magazine. Neither magazine issues contracts for articles.
Do you . . .
(a) Try and get the lower paying editor to raise his offer, then play the magazine editors off against each other.
(b) Wait another 24-48 hours before taking any action, in case there is a 3rd magazine that is interested in the story.
(c) Sell the story to the first editor and decline the second editor’s offer.
(d) Sell your story to the highest paying editor, and offer the second editor another completely different story.
(e) Sell the exact same story to both magazines.
My Travel Writing Strategy #2:
Because the magazines are non-competing and have non-overlapping circulations, I would not hesitate to sell the exact same story to both magazines. I once sold a story about summer skin health simultaneously to a tennis, running, and golf magazine without any problems. My strategy is (e).
I sometimes like to wait a day or two to find out if anyone else is interested in the story. My strategy for multiple acceptances might be affected when there are more than two editors interested, so I also use strategy (b) so I can make better decisions.
If you are uncomfortable about selling the same story to different magazines, even if they are non-competing, then strategies (c), and (d) are also viable options.
You’ve just written an excellent and enticing query letter for an exciting travel story that you just know will sell. You’re in the process of selecting magazines to pitch and have a list of five publications that you think would be a perfect fit for your story.
What’s your next step?
(a) You stop your search for more magazines and send your query letter out to those five.
(b) You continue to search for magazines until you’ve found every potential magazine that you think is a good fit, and then pitch the whole lot.
(c) You continue to search for magazines until you’ve found every magazine that you think would be a good fit, and then pitch half of them. You can always pitch the remainder if you strike out with your first batch of queries
My Travel Writing Strategy:
I always pitch every magazine on my list, if I believe my article would be a good fit for them. Selling your articles to magazines is a numbers game. The more magazines you pitch, the more articles you’ll get published. My strategy is (b).
Selective pitching (or, just choosing a few likely candidates for your story) usually ends in disappointment.
You have two travel story ideas that you think are exciting and should sell easily. How do you go about pitching these stories?
You plan to …
(a) Write up one query letter that details both story ideas and then send the query out to every appropriate magazine you can find.
(b) Send out each of the two story ideas in separate query letters to every appropriate magazine you can find.
(c) Send a query for one of the stories to every magazine, and wait to hear back from each of the magazines before you pitch them your second story idea story
My Travel Writing Strategy #4:
Don’t hesitate to send two—or even three—story ideas out in the same query letter. This practice is called multiple submissions and it significantly increases your chances of getting at least one of your story ideas published. My strategy is (a).
But, a word of caution is important here. Do not send out more than three story ideas in a query letter unless you really know the editor well. Pitching multiple story ideas can be overwhelming to editors, and you want to keep your pitch to only two or three.
If you know an editor well and work with her regularly, then you might be able to break this rule. It really depends upon the editor and what they’re willing to accept. (Here's an article about pitching multiple story ideas and what editors say about it.)
You just completed an assigned article for a magazine editor and are ready to send it in.
What do you do next?
(a) Send your story to the editor, wait a week, and then pitch your next story idea.
(b) Send your story to the editor, wait a month, and then pitch your next story idea .
(c) Dream up another story idea and pitch it when you send in your story.
My Travel Writing Strategy #5:
I pitch new story ideas almost every time I send in my assignments, and have a high acceptance rate with this technique. My new story ideas are accepted for publication about 50% of the time, so my strategy is (c).
This is an easy way to get more work with very little effort. You have your editor’s attention because you’re submitting your assigned article.
It’s a no-brainer - just do it!
Simultaneous Submissions: Sell More and Do It Faster
Simultaneous Submissions: Strategies for Multiple Acceptances
Query Multiple Story Ideas and Multiply Your Sales
Getting Published: The Many Ways to Sell Your Articles
Do you want to learn about travel writing sales and
marketing techniques that work?
This manual has every tool and technique that I use to pitch and sell - and then resell - my travel stories. I hold nothing back. Reading this manual is like looking inside my marketing brain.
Roy Stevenson is a professional travel writer and the author of www.PitchTravelWrite.com. Over the past ten years, he’s had more than 1000 articles published in 200 magazines, trade and specialty journals, in-flights, on-boards, blogs and websites and has traveled on assignment around the U.S. and to dozens of international destinations.