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Today:

  • Note from the World’s Worst Photographer
  • Do You Have What It Takes to Write for this Market?
  • Pampering Your Pets and Searching for the Fountain of Youth: How to Turn This Year’s Hottest Trends into Fast Selling Travel Articles
  • More Opportunities and Resources for Writers

Dear Reader,
Sometimes, when I’m up at 2AM signing hotel contracts, coding invoices, updating pages on our website, I wonder why I still love my job. Then I get emails like this…

“I am (or was) the world’s worst photographer… really… by a mile. Once I nearly lost a great friendship just by agreeing to shoot the pictures for a friend’s wedding. That’s how bad I was.

“Sure I had a camera, but I kept it hidden, in the back of the closet, as far out of my sight as I could.

“Then in San Antonio I had time to attend just part of one of Rich Wagner’s photography sessions. Three simple things I learned had a profound impact on my shots and my newsletter readers have noticed. I actually get raves from them about my pictures (even more so recently then I do about what I write)!

“More importantly I am finding it fun to look for good shots. I found myself this dawn hanging around the local Cathedral looking like a stalker or something. Actually I was just watching and waiting for the right person to step in front of the lens to create that special moment. I almost got a good one but not quite so. Tomorrow morning when the sun rises I’ll be back there. This has added a wonderful dimension to life! And using what Rich taught, I can even turn something as hard to photograph as a house into something much more interesting and appealing.

“I hope you’ll pass this note onto Rich. I know I get a kick when my newsletter readers tell me that something I said or wrote helped improve their lives as Rich has mine.” — Gary Scott

The truth is, I get notes like Gary’s all the time — and it makes me feel really good about the services we provide here. Take, for example, this note from Gisela Snyder…

“For months I’ve been reading your articles on travel writing and dutifully filing them for future reference. When I first signed up to join your newsletter, I was still a full-time student and mother — so writing about travel was something of a pipe dream.

“About a month ago, I decided to delve into this genre that has interested me so. I entered the 2006 Travel Writing Contest on Gather.com. To my delight, the article I submitted, “Farewell to Fursti” was selected for the top 20 out of hundreds of submissions. It is currently being reviewed by Peter Frank, the Editor-in-Chief of Concierge.com.

“I know that the countless tips and hints for success you’ve included week after week helped me to make it this far. Even if I don’t win the cruise, the honor of being recognized as a finalist in this contest has inspired me to pursue writing about travel. Thank you for all the hard work that you put into this service!”

Notes like those get me excited about our upcoming workshops — because I know that right after them I’ll get a flood of enthusiastic emails announcing this success and that. Attendees leave with so much positive momentum and they’re so excited about jump-starting their careers that they immediately land their first by-lines or they sell their first photos — often within a handful of weeks (sometimes just days) of returning home.

You’ll find an article from Jennifer Stevens below — a primer on some trends you may not be aware of and advice about how you, as a travel writer, can capitalize on them, starting now.

As always, remember to keep me up-to-speed on your success. If you have good news to share, send me a quick note at lori@thetravelwriterslife.com.

I hope you have a great week,

— 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.]

HOW TO TURN A PROFIT ON A FEEL-GOOD TREND
By Freelance Writer, Jennifer Stevens in Colorado Springs, CO

Some weeks back, at our Lucrative Traveler Conference in San Antonio, import-export gurus Gary and Merri Scott explored the importance of exploiting a trend when you’re targeting a market for profit.

In other words: Figure out what’s hot… and then “sell” to that trend. (It’s advice that makes very good sense when it comes to travel writing, too… and I’ll show you how to capitalize on it in just a minute.)

What’s hot now, according to the Scotts? Things that make people feel good. Items that make people’s lives the way they think they should be. People are stressed-out. They’re working long hours. They want an escape. Provide one, the Scotts say… and people will pay you for it.

(By the way, these guys should know. They’ve been reading trends accurately for 30 years now and bring home over $1 million in sales annually to prove it.)

FIVE TRENDS TO CAPITALIZE ON

So, more specifically, where does opportunity linger today, according to the Scotts? In —

1) Caring (Pamper their pets… are interested in educating themselves… want to age gracefully.)
2) Personal Discovery (“Who am I?” folks are asking themselves.)
3) Togetherness (People long for nurturing marriages… want strong family values… are searching for friendship and love.)
4) Peace of Mind (In an uncertain world, people are looking for inner peace.)
5) Health (Longevity is important, as is youthfulness. And people are looking outside the “mainstream” to find both.)

Now, the Scotts identified these markets in the context of import-export opportunity. Their message: Find (or create) products that feed those urges, and you’ll be well-positioned to profit.

But, as I said, that advice holds true in the travel-writing arena, too. Just take a look…

HOW YOU CAN TARGET THIS SAME AUDIENCE… AND SELL MORE ARTICLES

Take the idea of “caring.” Let’s use pets, which people certainly are pampering to a degree unheard of 20 years ago. I know here in Colorado Springs, we can take our dog for canine acupuncture, for instance. And you no longer just “board” your dog. These days, it goes to “camp.”

How can you capitalize on this trend? Well, ask yourself what folks who travel with their pets might need.

Answer: You could do a piece on traveling to a particular destination with pets. Your readers would want to know where to stay (hotels that allow — and maybe even cater to — pets), where to eat (are there restaurants with outside dining that don’t mind dogs sitting under the tables?), where to go for entertainment (are there dog parks, for instance?).

And where would you sell this piece? Well, I think certainly any number of pet-related publications or websites would buy a story like this. And quite possibly a regional or state magazine would, too.

Now, take the idea of “personal discovery.” How might you combine that with travel?

Answer: Think about what people might do to answer the question: “Who am I?” They might look for weekend retreats during which they explore their inner beings. I did a quick search on Google for “personal discovery retreats Colorado” and came up with, among the many thousands of results — Jesuit retreats, women’s adventure tours, yoga programs, New Age workshops, and more.

A link to Women’s Quest was among those my search turned up, and I clicked through out of curiosity. This outfit offers “Adventures for the mind, body, and spirit.” You can be sure there’s an article there — you could take one of their programs and write about your experience. Or you could make this one of maybe three such opportunities you profile in a round-up piece about where and how to pursue personal discovery. Either article might fit nicely into a health-focused publication, a women’s sports publication, or even a women’s magazine.

And what about “togetherness?” Ask yourself this: “Who’s getting together?” Seems to me, you could answer that question in many different ways. Grandparents and kids. Baby Boomers and their friends. Parents and children. Young, professional, unmarried women. You get the idea. And in each group, you’ll find an audience for an article about how and where these groups are cementing their relationships.

Let’s take the Baby Boomers, for instance. My mother is one, and last year, she and five of her college girlfriends got together to explore New Mexico, shop, and catch up. They had a wonderful time on their trip, and now they’re talking about a second one for sometime next year. Where should they go? Where should they stay? What should they do? If you can answer those questions, you’ve got the makings of a salable article.

Who would buy it? A great variety of publications might be interested — city magazines, in-flight magazines, the travel section at newspapers, even non-travel publications that enjoy a readership of female Baby Boomers — like Ladies Home Journal or Sunset Magazine, perhaps.

By thinking about articles in this way — as feeding into these “feel good” trends — you’re positioning yourself well. After all, editors want to print what their subscribers want to read. And right now, this is where the interest is headed.

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