Dispatch #2: A New Way to Look at In-Flight Magazines
Dear Travel Writer,
It took me a while to wander through the maze of tables we had set up here for last night’s Publication Expo. And I enjoyed it just as much as our attendees did.
I chatted with many of the nearly 70 folks on hand here, and I thumbed through the same Market Resource Packs they were picking up (each a collection of insights from the editor, guidelines, and more).
It was like a job fair, and we were all collecting the information we’d need to land by-lines at the many publications featured.
And then, at table three, it hit me. Right in front of me were several in-flight magazines, and suddenly, as I looked through them, I realized: I’d been thinking about this market all wrong.
I’ve always considered in-flights to be prime targets for seasoned writers — not novices. These are glossy publications. And they’re some of the best-paying ones out there (most pay $1 or more per word).
Because of that, I’ve always encouraged new writers to look elsewhere for their first few by-lines. (I’m a firm believer in starting small, creating for yourself a track record in “lesser” publications, and only then making forays into bigger-market magazines.)
I still think that’s a sound strategy.
What I hadn’t considered until last night is that, given the sheer number of airlines around the world (each with its own in-flight publication), a “smaller-market” opportunity exists right there.
Sure, you’ve got the big boys — like United Airlines’ Hemispheres or British Airways’ Impressions or US Airways Magazine. And you’d be wise to have some clips under your belt before you bother approaching the likes of those.
But for each of the “big airline” publications there are probably three — if not more — “lesser” ones associated with smaller airlines. This is good news for you, because:
** 1) There the pay is often about the same as at the bigger in-flights (which is to say, quite good).
** 2) Your chances of landing a by-line are better as these smaller in-flights don’t have the “glam” appeal for freelancers that the bigger-name publications do (so you’ll face less competition from other writers).
** 3) Your clips will be certifiably impressive. These are four-color glossies, and they show well.
For example, here are three good-looking in-flight magazines for commuter airlines, which you should consider:
** SkyWest Magazine (for Delta Connection and United Express)
** Wild Blue Yonder (for Frontier Airlines)
** Hana Hou (for Hawaiian Airlines)
All take freelance submissions, and I’d encourage you to approach any one of them with a story well-targeted for the readership.
I’m willing to bet that, even as a relative novice, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the result.
We profiled three more airline in-flight magazines here at our Publication Expo… including one you’ve probably never heard of, which I’ve been writing for recently.
It’s Express Jet’s new magazine, ExpressLane, and the editor, Ann Silva, doesn’t have writer’s guidelines created or a website up yet. But I spent an hour on the phone with her picking her brain about what she’s after, the best way to break in, what she really wishes freelancers would do, and more.
Here’s a quick tip she shared, for instance. Her typical reader is a business traveler. And she told me, “As a writer, you should think like a business traveler. Are there recommendations you can make that will help your reader with his business? For instance, it’s one thing to recommend a restaurant. But it’s even better to say, ‘This is especially good for business meetings because it has great nooks and crannies that are quiet.”
All the secrets Ann shared — and others from editors at a whole array of publications — are included in the material our workshop attendees picked up at our Publication Expo last night.
Your Live Workshop Correspondent
[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.]