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Interview with AWAI Member, Allyson Gierke

BONNIE: Briefly, what’s your background in writing and photography?

ALLYSON: Not very much… I’m new to the game. I’m studying with AWAI’s travel writing programand intend to sign up for some of the photography classes.

BONNIE: What made you interested in getting into travel writing?

ALLYSON: I travel a lot! I’ve lived in Europe and the Middle East, and go to Europe, the Caribbean and places like Istanbul very often. It makes sense for me to write about my experiences. I also have always loved to read travelogues and travel magazines.

BONNIE: Can you tell us a little bit about the first time you got published — where your article was published, how you did it, and how it felt?

ALLYSON: It was a great feeling to see my name in print and see the story in Magic City Magazine — a local Montana publication. I did it by reading the magazine’s guidelines, and studying a few issues for style. Then I pitched the idea to the editor. I actually pitched a number of things, and she decided that my article, Miles City: A Cultural Cowtown, would work since they were dedicating an issue to Eastern Montana; the lives and styles, the things to do and see.

BONNIE: And you submitted a photo, too?

ALLYSON: Yes, I submitted one photograph, which they published. For the rest of the photos, the magazine used some stock photos they had in their archives.

BONNIE: Did you get paid for the article?

ALLYSON: Yes, they paid me $175. It’s not much, yet, but the point was to get published, so I don’t mind.

BONNIE: That’s great! Any new articles in the works?

ALLYSON: Right now I’m doing a story on Yoga here in Billings. The focus is on the various types of Yoga and I’ve interviewed several of my teachers.

I’ve also pitched a story on Living in Istanbul to International Living and they agreed to look at it on-spec. I have a lot of ideas for that article since I lived in Istanbul in the 90s, and went back in August to visit friends. I’ve got a lot of great photos, too.

BONNIE: Do you have any tips for readers who are interested in getting their stories published?

ALLYSON: Study the AWAI Ultimate Travel Writers program — it’s an amazing thing! And read travel mags all the time. It helps to get a feel for what a great travel story looks like, and how they evoke desires to go there — wherever the destination may be!

BONNIE: Thanks, Allyson!

Just like the other successful readers we’ve heard from this week, Allyson got published for the first time by following a simple formula for success. She picked out a magazine, read some issues for style, read the writer’s guidelines, and said the right thing to the magazine’s editor. Follow her lead (the one outlined in The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program and also taught at our live workshops), and you’re nearly guaranteed a byline.

Learn more about our upcoming live workshops here.

[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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