Three Travel Writing Myths Debunked
It’s Day One of the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Chicago, Illinois, and an entire room full of aspiring travel writers (116, to be exact) is smiling. They just got some great news.
Bonnie Caton, here. I’ll be your “workshop spy” this week, leaking juicy tidbits on how to turn your adventures into paychecks… and make your travels pay for themselves.
International Living editor Jen Stevens is the source of all of the smiling this morning. The reason is that she just revealed the truth about whether or not the average person with no writing experience can really make it as a travel writer.
See, there are a few ugly myths floating around that you can’t make money as a travel writer these days. That if you’re a newcomer in the travel writing industry, you shouldn’t even try. And that publications are disappearing, anyway.
Well it’s just not true. In fact, 275 new magazines launched in 2009… plus 193 more in 2010. Those publications aren’t full of blank pages. Editors still need good articles. And many of those publications, Jen told us, still need quality travel content.
So what does it take to go from where you are now to making money for your trips?
It’s not experience. And it’s not great literary skill. Turns out, the writers who make money from their travels aren’t usually the best writers out there. They’re the ones who take the time to learn what editors want… and then give it to them.
Here are two secrets Jen told us that make it easy to do just that…
** Secret #1: Pick up a magazine that you’d like to write for and look at the ads. Are they selling high-tech gizmos? Luxury watches? Or fashionable diaper bags? When you pay attention to the ads in a magazine, you’ll have a much better idea who their readers are. And when you know who’s reading, you’ll be able to write your article for that person. Do that, and you’ve made an editor’s day.
** Secret #2: Find a magazine’s media kit. This is a page, usually on the magazine’s website, which describes in detail what the magazine is all about. It’s meant for advertisers, so that they’ll know if their ads will work well in the pages of the magazine. But it’s also really valuable information for a savvy writer. The media kit will often include an editorial calendar for the magazine, too, which is REALLY useful, since it tells you exactly what the magazine plans to run, when. Check out the media kit, and you’ll be a writer in the know.
As an editor and a freelance writer, herself, Jen knows this business inside and out. She assured us that truly anyone can do this. It’s not rocket science. And it’s not just about the paychecks. The travel writer’s lifestyle comes with the best “job perks” in the world. Perks like all-expenses-paid travel, free entry into museums and events, meals, wine, gifts, and more. Not to mention the thrill of seeing your name and story in the glossy pages of a magazine on your neighbor’s coffee table and at bookstores and newsstands across the U.S.!
We’re going to hear more about how to get in on those perks from freelance writer Steenie Harvey a.k.a. the “Queen of Freebies,” this afternoon.
[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.]