The web has some fantastic advice and resources for aspiring travel bloggers and travel writers. Joining the travel community on Twitter is a fast and rewarding way to access one of the internet’s most engaged and enthusiastic groups – try searching on the #TTOT (travel talk on twitter) hashtag, and you’ll see what I mean.
There are other great sources you can use, including the ‘Groups’ on LinkedIN. Once you have a LinkedIN profile it’s easy to join and get involved in one of the thousands of special interest groups available on the platform. I posted a question recently in a number of groups associated with travel and tourism, asking for group members’ best advice for travel writers… sharing is caring, so here’s a few of the best responses:
The quality of the article helps. One thing I will say is Australian papers are usually much easier to break into than the American and British ones. My advice would be build up a relationship with 10-20 editors and know what they are after.
Although there are tons of travel writers out there, I think editors are hungry for good work. I suggest you build a simple web site to showcase articles you publish as your calling card. You should showcase a small selection of your best images, too. Consider buying a Marantz audio recorder to travel with you so you can offer a multimedia package. Develop a list of 10 or so angles and pitch them to a carefully culled list of publications you want to break into. Don’t forget to go back to editors who publish with more pitches as soon as you are able, and keep the relationship going.
Unless you’ve sold all rights, you may try to resell articles in non-competing markets. It’s one way to maximize the rewards from your effort and income.
My feedback: Never lose courage and submit, submit, submit. If you get declined, submit, then resubmit. What one editor declines one week, another will accept, even the same publication’s needs will change from issue to issue. One well-known fiction writer posted his submission history for about two years. And tracked all stories…. Most of his pieces were turned down DOZENS of times before being picked up by the same publication! Now obviously things may differ for fiction, but the message is clear: have faith in your work. Obviously, this goes with the caveat of following the writer’s guidelines for each pub, so sometimes you don’t want to over-submit or other faux-pas. But the moral of the fable is to keep the moment and never lose your courage.
My main piece of advice is to always find the story. A destination is not a story, so look beyond the marketing language found in guidebooks and actually share something that can’t just be gathered from desktop research.
I never write about a place I haven’t visited. I learned that early on from another travel writer. She was writing a guidebook and as the deadline crunch hit, she relied on a press release for one of the resorts she didn’t have time to visit. When she did get there a month later, the place was awful. She made the publisher pull that resort from the galleys–a very big deal–but she knew it would damage her credibility as a writer if someone relied on her advice. Ultimately, our credibility is all we have in this business.
I write about 12-15 pieces per month for different formats and I think the experiential ones are always better and get better readership. But then again it depends on the outlet – some of my work is indeed for marketing copy. Still, capturing the story is the compelling part that keeps readers coming back for more.
I started a blog while I was travelling and discovered that other “travel blogs” saw my work, were interested in it, and it seems to serve as a great “showcase” for what you want to do! I also discovered the power of a blog….yes, it’s more than you think!
A couple of pieces of advice: Read lots. Read blogs, magazines, you name it. Get a feel for what kind of content sells or gets hits. But my best advice is, in the end, find your own voice. It’s your story, told from your perspective. Never be afraid to put your emotions into your work. You are the reader’s senses. Let the reader live vicariously through your words.
What’s your best advice for aspiring travel writers?