Writing for Food, Wine and Beer Magazines: Have Fun and Dine on Gourmet Food (It’s Your Job)
Tell someone you’re a travel writer and they’ll be intrigued. Tell them that you also get to eat good food, drink wine, and then write stories about it, and they’ll be downright envious!
Roy Stevenson told us yesterday how he arranges discounted and VIP travel perks. Today, he says that “foodie” articles are a hot item that are selling well for him now. (Great news for those of us who enjoy a fine Malbec or a hearty India Pale Ale when we’re on the road!)
What’s more, not only can you pitch your foodie articles to travel publications, but food, wine and beer magazines want them, too.
Find out how Roy does it below…
HAVE FUN, GET LOW-COST TRAVEL, AND DINE ON GOURMET FOOD AND WINE BY WRITING FOR FOOD, WINE, AND BEER MAGAZINES
By Roy Stevenson in Seattle Washington
These days I find it just as easy selling my stories about food, wine, and beer as selling my travel articles. And I get to travel to some marvelous places on these assignments.
I never planned to get into writing about food when I first started my travel-writing career after attending Great Escape Publishing’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Portland five years ago.
I just sort of fell into it as opportunities came along. And then, after a year or two, I suddenly realized that these stories make for fun assignments and, of course, some very memorable meals and wine tasting outings.
There is a huge demand for “foodie” stories today, with the number of magazines that cater to these genres exploding across the magazine racks, despite the recession. Next time you’re in Barnes & Noble, check out the plethora of food, wine, and beer magazines on the racks—you’ll be amazed at their number and variety.
But your “foodie” stories must be presented to the editors in a special way to get into their publications. Today, “foodie” magazine editors look for stories that go beyond describing your fine three-course meal. They want to hear about the experience, or how the meal presents a cultural insight into the country where you’re dining. They want you to paint a picture of the view from your restaurant on the left bank of the Seine River in Paris, or from the terrace in that small Greek seaside village.
Wine magazines want to know what the winery you visited looks like and what the vintners themselves are like when you meet them. They need stories that go deeper than a description of your meal, wine, or beer tasting. Editors want a sense of the people and place—the whole experience, in other words.
So, always look for those special angles for your food, wine, or beer stories. Here are a few examples of my food, wine, and beer stories to give you an idea of the angles I have used. See if you can pick the angles I used in the following stories.
One of my most enjoyable travel and wine stories, ever, was about the wine cruise I took on a historic 126-foot schooner in the San Juan Islands. Sailing through the deep blue Salish Seas visiting small, picturesque wineries by day, and wine tasting on the deck in the evenings in warm sunshine. Bliss!
My beer stories have also proved to be great fun. I relished my walking tour through Dublin’s medieval cobblestone streets in the Temple Bar area while checking out its pubs (30 pubs in one square mile!), and likewise my walk up Edinburgh’s Rose Street, a mile-long alley of historic and atmospheric little bars and inns.
Visiting Belgium’s monasteries while researching a story about Trappist beers was fun and interesting, and visiting Belgium’s small country towns and cities while researching their top 10 beer festivals was, too.
Other “foodie” stories I’ve written include one about a special gourmet Parmesan cheese, Scotland’s burgeoning microbrewery industry, the Alaskan Brewing Company, and several restaurant critiques.
Your food and wine stories can open up whole trips for you, too. Earlier this year I did a 12-day tour of Southern Oregon funded entirely by food and wine assignments. It included wine tasting stories for two online wine magazines, and stories about cheese creameries for an online food magazine and a print magazine—with all accommodations and tours and attractions, and most meals covered by the local visitor’s associations.
Don’t forget that online food, wine, and beer magazines will take your articles, too. They may not pay as much—if at all—but the complimentary accommodation, food, and tours make them very lucrative. And most city roundup stories need some mention of the restaurant scene, so hone your food writing skills for this purpose, too.
A little more advice about writing on these topics: wine tasting tours are fun, but only write about a maximum of four or five wineries per article, or they can be too long. And the more wineries you write about, the less descriptive detail you use about each one.
[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.]