Bonnie Caton here again.

I’m writing to you this week with advice on selling your travel stories to magazines and newspapers to pay for your travel and help fund your next trip.

I got my first travel article published after attending The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop and following this exact same advice. You can, too.

Lee Harrison is doing it. He’s most recently been paid to snorkel in the Caribbean, hike on hidden beaches in the Galapagos, sample wine in Brazil, and visit ancient colonial cities high in the mountains of Peru. All of his trips were paid for by publishers looking for articles about these destinations. And Lee’s not a writer. He says his high school English teacher would never believe it if you told him that Lee makes a living writing about his travels.

If you missed my first two how-to steps on Wednesday and Thursday on getting your travel stories published, you’ll find them archived on our website here…

STEP 1: Pick a publication.

STEP 2: Read that publication.

Step three, which I’m going to talk about today, is the big one.

It sounds easy. And it is easy. But it’s a crucial step that’s often overlooked.

Travel editors who come to speak and mingle with attendees at our live events harp on this again and again because they say writers just don’t do it. And that’s a really good way to get on an editor’s bad side.

Make a travel editor love you and want to read your story by following…

STEP 3: Read the Writer’s Guidelines.

Reading a publication’s Writer’s Guidelines — and then following those guidelines exactly — will quickly push you ahead of the competition. After all, in a lot of cases, it’s not good writers you’re competing with. It’s hordes and hordes of bad writers who don’t follow the publication’s directions for submitting stories.

They are the ones who put the editor in a bad mood before getting to your piece.

And really, it’s such an easy thing to get right. Typically, you’ll find a publication’s Writer’s Guidelines on its website.

In my case, there weren’t any guidelines on Oregon.com, the publication I was targeting for my first travel article. So I wrote to the editor, told him that I was a travel writer interested in writing for his publication, and asked if he had guidelines he could send me. He did.

Once you’ve read and understood the Writer’s Guidelines for your target publication, go ahead and read them again. Then follow every suggestion, tailoring your article to the exact length requested, with a sidebar exactly as the editor wants (if they use sidebars in the publication you’re targeting).

Again, so easy. And yet, you’d be surprised how many writers don’t follow this simple step. Tonight, find and read the Writer’s Guidelines for the publication you picked on Wednesday, and use them to shape your travel article.

If you haven’t yet found the right publication for your story, check out the “Where to Sell Your Stories” link on our website.

[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.]

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