It’s 18 months since I decided to become a travel writer. From the very beginning, I saw this as being far more than a hobby for me. I wanted to treat it as a new business, building it up from scratch. First, though, I needed quality information from people in the industry. That’s what brought me to the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop.
In the week after the workshop, I put together my plan. Step one was obvious: I needed credibility, which meant collecting by-lines so I could demonstrate my competence and reliability. Unless I wanted to spend the vast majority of my time on marketing myself, I knew I had to build relationships with individual editors that would give me repeat business. Over the next year, I grossed all of $138… but collected 25 by-lines and some lovely testimonials to put on my new website. (I felt like Amazon during its first six years of existence. I was so empowered!)
Sending queries to all manner of publications to get assignments and develop some cash flow was next, but I also needed to get on FAM and press trip lists. I wanted to at least be considered before my 25 by-lines became old news. I wrote to the CVBs of every community in my state that had one. And, of course, I directed each of them to my shiny new website. They wanted to know how many monthly visitors I had on my website, what social media I used, and how many followers I had on Facebook, Twitter, etc. With the website up and running, social media now had to become part of my platform, too.
I admit I was a social media dunce and had been temporarily locked out of both Facebook and Twitter. Fortunately, the local library offered free social media classes, with one-on-one tutoring, and my instructor was a lifesaver. I still struggle with it, but I’m slowly learning how to make it work.
And the best news is that, in between classes, I started getting invitations to FAM tours! I could barely believe it. Everything I’d been told at the travel-writing workshop was working. People were contacting me and asking would I please come and be their guest.
As the slowest in the class, I’ve learned to be patient and not to compare myself with others. Persistence is important—doing the groundwork and going after the by-lines—so that, eventually, editors and FAM tour organizers are coming to you. Above all, hold on to the passion you have for what you do. Enjoy the journey, and the rewards will come.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Profit From Your Photos: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]