Want to earn an extra $300-$1,300 on every article you write? Here are two things you can do with practically no added effort…
Director, Great Escape Publishing
Want a few dollars more? Then call me Madam (not Ma’am)
By freelance travel writer, Steenie Harvey, in Ireland
Things are going great. You’ve just been paid a fistful of dollars for your article on Miss Hattie’s Bordello: The Best Little Whorehouse Museum in Texas.
But why stop there? Unless you’ve sold all rights to the original U.S. publication, there’s nothing to stop you pitching this same story to foreign editors. (And getting paid again.) It’s exactly the kind of quirky piece that could find a market in Britain…in Australia…in New Zealand…in Ireland.
If you’ve got photos to illustrate your article, even better. That means more bucks for your bang (so to speak).
Now the bad news. You’ll not place your Texan whorehouse piece in the UK’s Times newspaper. The story about Miss Hattie and her clients appeared in their travel section in October 2005. So if your special interest is bordellos, you’ll have to find another one.
Even though living in Ireland, I still read British travel publications. And I know editors love stories about the United States. Road trips and rodeos; skiing in Vermont and fall colors in New England; surfing in Hawaii and communing with wolves in Colorado; country and western music in Nashville.
Here are some recent titles from the Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian – three broadsheet UK newspapers with extensive weekend travel sections…
* Where to Star in Your Own Western (A guide to America’s best ranch holidays)
* Still Waters (Cracking crabs and shucking oysters on Chesapeake Bay.)
* Brooklyn – Survival of New York’s Hippest
* Sand and Dollars (Atlantic City)
* Raising Arizona – Shamanic America’s Most Eccentric State
* Lust in the Dust (Las Vegas)
* Buffalo Bills in Yellowstone National Park
* Myth America (Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard)
* Hungry Traveller: the best places to eat in Miami
They accept freelance contributions, so why can’t you write for them too? And the pay rates aren’t to be sneezed at…
Wanderlust, a UK travel magazine, pays £200 ($348) per 1,000 words. Depending on the length of the piece, the quality UK newspapers can pay up to £500 ($872) for travel articles.
What you’re selling to the above publications is First British Serial Rights. And you can resell your article – and photos – to Malta, Australia, South Africa, etc. You can sell it to the German-speaking world – for example, Spotlight takes freelance travel articles written in English. And if such a thing exists, you can even sell First Egyptian Papyrus Rights.
Photos are often paid extra (though not on Egyptian papyrus or Assyrian clay tablets). The last time I wrote for the Telegraph, I got £800 ($1,394) for a 1200-word travel article and 2 photos. Depending on size, rates per photo in UK national newspapers are from £65 to £210 ($113-$366). These freelance fees come from the National Union of Journalists at www.londonfreelance.org There’s lots of pay rate information on this site that’s worth looking at.
I’m not up-to-date on Australian freelance rates, but a few years back I got checks for upwards of $100 from a national newspaper, The Melbourne Age. This was for reprints of Irish-related travel articles that had earlier appeared in Britain and the U.S. They still have an extensive travel section. Recent articles include ‘My, What Big Teeth You Have’ (gator encounters in Florida’s Everglades) and one about Lubbock, Texas – the town where Buddy Holly grew up.
Now, the practicalities. You might have to fiddle with some spellings (e.g. ‘traveller’ not traveler, and ‘colour’ instead of color) but that’s easily done. Just call up your British-English dictionary and run a spell-check.
Are you muttering: ”What British-English dictionary?” Well, if you’re using Microsoft Word, you’ll have supplemental dictionaries hidden in your computer. To access them, go to the Tools menu. Click Options and then the Spelling & Grammar tab. Then click Dictionaries. That’s how I found the American-English dictionary that I use for many of my articles.
But what’s really important is to read overseas publications. The British ones are the ideal ones to study – it’s the biggest and best paying market. And if your writing works for the UK, it generally works for Ireland and Australia too.
Reading is vital, because Brits tend to be less ‘respectful’ than Americans towards people and places. When it comes to writing, we’re sometimes a lot raunchier…and also a lot more glib and sarcastic. For example, I was toying with calling this article: Supplement your Income in a Brothel.
Of course, that’s not to say all UK travel articles are of the kind that you wouldn’t show your mother. There was nothing raunchy about my story about a day out with an Irish gun club for Shooting Times magazine. And there was no sarcasm in my article on opposition to gold-mining in Ireland for Geographical (the Royal Geographical Society’s magazine) which also publishes eco-related travel stories from around the world.
How do you find overseas, English-speaking markets? Well, a good starting point is the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. It lists a fair sample of British and Commonwealth publications you can contact. It’s available through Amazon for $13.57.
[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.]