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Today:

*** April Means October: How to Turn Your Spring-Time Months into Saleable Articles this Fall
*** Electronic Guide: How to Find the Best Story Ideas and Where to Publish Them
*** Practical Writing Prompt of the Week: Writing Funny Travel Stories
*** Reader Feedback: Published in Common Ties

Dear Reader,

It’s April, but here at The Right Way to Travel we’re thinking about October.

Not just because I’m planning a walking tour of creepy graveyards and old churches for the attendees at our upcoming Charleston photography workshop, but because now’s the time to submit your end-of-the-year holiday pieces (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, etc.) to publications whose editors require a six-month to one-year lead time.

Folks at our Charleston workshop will be able to write about any number of the haunted places they’ll discover on our walking tour. And they can go back at night to get photographs that look like they were taken in October rather than April. (QUICK TIP: The best night photographs aren’t actually shot at night. They’re shot at twilight, just a few hours before the sky turns black.)

And even if you won’t be joining us in Charleston, you can follow our lead. Researching Halloween articles can be fun. And they’re not too complicated to write and sell. Everyone likes a good mystery and a scary story. Lead in with a campfire ghost tale — add some blood, a full moon, and the date the ghost was last spotted — and before you know it you’ll have a 500- or 600-word article.

And… if your idea is fresh enough, you’ll have little trouble finding a local editor to buy it. Editors love original, time-sensitive pieces.

Tomorrow, I’ll send you some advice from freelance travel writer, Jennifer Stevens, on how to pitch these (and all) articles to editors.

In the meantime, here are a few tips for digging up scary stories in your home town…

** Check the Events Calendar at your local Chamber of Commerce and see what events are planned for this year. Spark any article ideas?
** Does any inn, hotel, or street have a reputation for being haunted? Go check it out and see if you can interview the owners or neighbors for more fodder.
** Do old-timers or shop-owners know any ghost stories? Ask around.
** Check your local library to find out what weird tales lurk in the folklore section.

And remember…

OUR 300th ISSUE OF THE RIGHT WAY TO TRAVEL

In just over a month, we’ll be publishing our 300th issue of The Right Way to Travel. To celebrate, I’d like to include as many success stories from you and your fellow readers as possible.

If you’ve got a success story to share — an article published, a photo sold, or an import/export goal reached — and you’d like to be included in our round-up of stories, drop me a line here: lori@thetravelwriterslife.com.

Be sure to include your full name, email address, city, and state (in case I need to reach you — I won’t publish that information).

Thanks!

And don’t forget to scroll down to this week’s writing prompt on turning your travel misadventures into humorous articles you can sell…

— Lori
Lori Appling
Director, Great Escape Publishing

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

PRACTICAL WRITING PROMPT OF THE WEEK:

Humorous travel articles can be fun to write.

Freelance travel writer, Stan Sinberg, is known for his humorous tales, which have appeared in numerous publications from MAD Magazine to the Chicago Tribune.

How does he do it?

Well, for starters, he purposefully tries to make things go wrong when he travels. “More often than not, the best travel stories — and the funniest ones — come from trips gone awry,” he says. “So I often purposefully try to make something go wrong on my trips, just so I have something interesting and unique to write about.”

Stan wrote an article for us a few years back on how to write funny travel stories where he suggested:

* Arriving in town without a hotel reservation.
* Staying in two-star — or less — hotels.
* Avoiding tour groups.
* Getting lost… on purpose.
* Interacting with the natives.
* And scheduling a “fish out of water” experience by trying something that’s way out of your element (river-raft if you’re not typically adventurous… take tango lessons if you can’t dance, etc).

To read the full article, visit: How to Write Humorous Travel Stories

And if you have a funny travel story to share, spend some time this weekend getting it into publishable shape. Then, send it to the Travel Post Monthly. You’ll find the Writer’s Guidelines here: http://www.travelpostmonthly.com/writers_guidelines

READER FEEDBACK:

Hello Lori,

Success with one of your mentioned publications, and a tip!

I’m a well-established writer, and edit Canada’s national gay/lesbian travel magazine (I’m always looking for good, qualified writers!). I was quite skeptical a while back when you mentioned a “paying” website, Common Ties, but I took a look.

Within days I’ve been published by them, and payment is promised (you can see their payment terms on their website).

But here’s the interesting bit: my travel story was purchased for a completely different topic. Yes, I’m submitting travel stories for the travel-focused edition of Common Ties, but when I saw they were also soliciting for a gay/lesbian-focused edition, it was a jackpot moment. I happened to have several unpublished, gay, travel-focused pieces sitting around…and had never found the right outlet for them.

My point is this: we can’t all write travel for Conde Nast Traveler or Hemispheres, there just aren’t enough pages. But there are other outlets for travel-focused pieces, often with a specific demographic or slant, that may buy good work.

Thanks for the phone conference back in January. Very helpful. I couldn’t listen live, so downloaded it and listened on a flight from Inuvik (above the Arctic Circle) to Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. Ah, the life of a travel writer doesn’t get more glam than that (yeah, right, it was in the deep-freeze of January and I was interviewing oil workers).

I’m hopeful that your Portland event comes together; it’s quite likely I’ll attend.

Cheers,
Randall Shirley

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