Reader Success: Selling a Travel Article to a Trade Magazine
Over the last two days, I’ve sent you notes from fellow readers, sharing tales of their success getting published and going on press trips, with tips on how you can do the same. If you missed them, you can read them in our archives, here:
As the last day in this week’s “Reader Success Series,” scroll down for one more reader success letter. This one’s from Rachel Christophe Baker, who used experience from her day job to sell a travel article to a nursing trade publication.
Director, Great Escape Publishing
P.S. You don’t have to quit your day job to start travel writing. In fact, a number of past workshop attendees have found success by combining travel writing with their other skills. Diane Simpson, who works in real estate, sold an article about “closing the deal” to an airline in-flight magazine. And Roy Stevenson, a fitness specialist and a hobby historian, has published hundreds of travel articles (he averages around 100 per year!) on running, exercise, and historical sites, among other things.
HOW TO SELL A TRAVEL ARTICLE TO A NON-TRAVEL PUBLICATION
By fellow reader, Rachel Christophe Baker
Maybe it was beginner’s luck. Or maybe I was right on target and pitched my idea to the right place at the right time. Either way, the first time I sent a travel article query to an editor, she published my piece and paid me $100… and it wasn’t even a travel publication!
My story, “Nurses in the City of Light: an art and healing pilgrimage to France,” along with a single photo, was published in the trade publication Advance for Nurses.
While I’m not a nurse, I am the Director of Educational Programs for a not-for-profit institute of medicine. Last year, I jointly organized and led an art and healing study trip to Paris for a group of 26 nurses. It was a pilgrimage to refocus on the important things in life and experience personal healing through the arts.
Since I’m an aspiring travel writer and avid reader of the Right Way to Travel, I was inspired to write about this tour by one of the e-letters. It recommended pitching a travel story to a non-travel publication as a way to sell multiple versions of an article.
In that issue, I learned that offering a travel article to a non-travel venue can be an advantage if your query catches the eye of an editor who is interested in publishing a different take on the usual topics.
In my case, the audience of my magazine was mostly nurses, and 90% of the participants in the tour were nurses. So, instead of concentrating solely on nursing, as a medical journal would, or solely on the sightseeing, as a travel magazine would, I pitched a story highlighting how the nurses’ experiences in France could help them in their profession.
In my query, I described how the finished article would focus on the activities on our tour which cultivated self care, such as journaling, storytelling, group song, sketching, meditating, and conscientious dining, as well as how various environments would stimulate reflections and discussions about patient care and nursing.
Each of these activities and discussions would be chronicled at a place of cultural or historical importance so that the reader would have an idea of our travel itinerary. Additionally, I mentioned I would interview some of the nurse participants and include some photos.
There are many trade magazines about nursing. I chose to send my query to Advance for Nurses because, two years ago, an editor there interviewed me for a piece she wrote about my arts in healthcare programs. We had a good enough rapport that, six months later, I pitched a story about an art and healing workshop.
The editor asked me to write 350 words about it. Although it wasn’t paid, I knew I had to make a very good impression in order to get future work from her. So I submitted a thoroughly proofread and edited article one week ahead of the deadline.
She was very pleased and made only minor edits. About a year later, inspired by my previous experiences with Advance for Nurses, I queried “Nurses in the City of Light,” and the rest is history!
[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.]