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Dear Right Way to Travel Reader,

Jennifer Blair, one of your fellow readers, attended our Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop last July in San Francisco. Ninety days later, she got published (and paid for her article) in Brave New Traveler e-zine. Even better… she used her travel writer status to score free entry for herself and a friend at a popular park in Vancouver, Canada.

You’ll find Jennifer’s story below with details on how you can do the same…

— Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

READER REVEALS: HOW I SOLD MY FIRST TRAVEL ARTICLE

An interview with travel writer Jennifer Blair

TRWTT: Jennifer, congratulations on getting your first article published in Brave New Traveler! Can you tell us how you found this publication and what drove you to send them your article: “Have You Found Your Soul Place?”

JENNIFER: I found Brave New Traveler while researching travel writing on the web and became intrigued with it, because it’s not a destination- or service-based travel website. Instead, it focuses on the spiritual, religious, and intrinsic issues of travel and dares to push into unknown territory.

I have discussed “soul places” with my friends for years, but only after reading several of the spiritual travel articles on Brave New Traveler did it occur to me to write about the subject.

In all honesty, “Have You Found Your Soul Place?” was the second article I submitted to them. Ian, the editor, rejected my first article, but gave me great notes on it. I tried to reformulate it, but was too committed to the piece as it stood.

Next, I submitted “Have You Found Your Soul Place?” Again, he sent it back to me with feedback. This time, I was able to encompass his suggestions, which made the piece much stronger. I returned it to him within a week and, not only did he compliment me on my follow-up, he bought the article!

TRWTT: You also write for Suite101.com. How did you get started in that, and how is it working out?

JENNIFER: Again, the first time I applied to Suite101, I was rejected. But I didn’t let that deter me. I quickly figured out that the articles I submitted were not suited to the style of the site and re-applied. The second time, I was hired within 24 hours. Researching the publication is very important — making sure the articles you are submitting are appropriate for the magazine or website.

Suite101 is a great venue for beginning writers. I can write about any subject I want, while learning the specifics of writing for the web. The commitment of 10 articles every three months is daunting, but it forces me to write every weekend. And I know that the way to break in to longer, more personal and intimate assignments is through “front of the book” pieces, like the articles I write for Suite101.

I have not been paid yet from Suite101, but I have only posted two articles. The more articles I get published, paid or unpaid, will build my credibility, thus improving my chances of getting discounted or free trips and paid assignments.

TRWTT: What would you say is the most valuable nugget of information that you took from the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop before you got published?

JENNIFER: It’s hard to narrow it down to just one! But I think that following the writer’s guidelines has to be the most valuable nugget of information. I also learned a lot about breaking into newspapers from Kyle Wagner (Travel Editor, Denver Post) and John Flinn (Executive Travel Editor, San Francisco Chronicle).

TRWTT: I hear you got your first travel writing “freebie” when you and a friend got free entry into Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge. How did you do it?

JENNIFER: I was very excited to get my first “freebie.” I got into the Capilano Suspension Bridge (an amazing park suspended high up in the treetops of British Columbia) for free by e-mailing the media contact and telling her that I’m a freelance travel writer interested in visiting the park. I referred to the sample letters in Great Escape Publishing’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program to formulate my e-mail.

The best reward, besides free admission for me and my friends, was sending a link to the article I wrote back to the media contact.

She was pleased with the piece and said that it really made her day. Well, it made mine, too!

[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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