Sometimes getting your pitches accepted and assigned feels like catching a great white whale – you go out with all the right tools, but it always seems to be just beyond your grasp.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Arm yourself with an arsenal of tips like these – and a healthy dose of persistence – and you’ll get your travel stories published (and regularly) before you know it.
Know the publication so you can craft a pitch that’s a good fit
It may seem obvious, but ask yourself, does your pitch really match the publication? Does your story idea match the types of stories your intended readership will want to read?
A good way to do this is read at least six back issues of the magazine you’re pitching. Get an idea of the tone, typical story angles, story length, and the sections of the magazine where your idea would fit, and shape your pitch accordingly.
Asking these questions as you look through the archives will give you a sense of the readership demographic, and that will come through in the query. And it will make an editor happy that you cared enough to figure it out.
Be clear, concise, and organized
Some editors get hundreds of pitches a day. The subject line of your email should be an attention-grabbing headline with the word “pitch” or “query” as part of it, so the editor understands that you aren’t sending them public relations materials.
Your pitch should be addressed to the correct editor (check the magazine’s masthead), and your idea should have plenty of lead time – editors often plan a year in advance.
And if you’re not interested in reading your pitch, an editor won’t be, either. Make the point of your story focused and clear, and get rid of the fluff. Your query should be organized with a catchy first paragraph, a meatier main section that fleshes out the big idea of your story, and a final paragraph telling why you should be the one to write it. Finish by mentioning some of your previous writing experience.
Treat your writing business like a business
Editors are in the business of producing readable content. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get a reply, or if you get a rejection. Simply move on to the next publication.
Follow up with editors (attaching the original query) a few weeks after sending – once. In addition, it can help to network with editors and other writers at conferences and social events. Keep meticulous records of who you have pitched, what you are working on, invoices, and copies of your work.
If you maintain an easy-to-navigate and easy-to-read website, it will allow editors to explore your body of work. Be professional in your interaction with editors – you’d be surprised how many writers send nasty emails and badmouth editors, and word gets out that those writers are difficult.
Finally, submit clean, error-free copy that you’ve self-edited thoroughly – and above all, adhere to your deadlines.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]