Access one of the countless travel writing blogging sites that have overrun the internet, and type out a personal globe-trotting recollection. Presto: you can tell the world that you indulge in travel writing! Yet to be someone that can honestly proclaim, “I’ve been paid to write about my journeys”, is a totally different travel writing ballgame.
When publications pay you for your travel writing, it means that your work has stood out amongst the zillions of submissions that converge upon editors’ desks. Money isn’t something publications part with automatically. It’s quite unlike the blogging community creed, where the license to call yourself a writer generally means the license to not see a wooden nickel for your efforts.
Becoming a travel writer who can make enough money to pay the bills is a gradual process. These tips will help you get started in this rewarding quest:
1. Travel writing is not a get rich quick scheme. How much time are you willing to devote to the monotonous researching of paying markets, the tedious drafting and redrafting of articles and queries, while honing your craft so that it meets the specific needs of mediums that will put some dead presidents in your pocket? Your financial and family situation will certainly be a factor in determining this.
2. Thoroughly study the writer guidelines of publications. They often give you a good idea of what the mediums are looking for, helping you to target your completed articles or works in progress in the right direction. Keep the words “cross-over market” in mind when writing an article. Your feature on club hopping in London could be marketable to young adult and/or music publications. An article about volunteering abroad could also be sold to an educational-based magazine or website.
3. Subscribe to online market, contest, and writing tips newsletters. Many of them are free or charge a nominal subscription fee. Use the Google and Yahoo! search engines for starters. The links they provide will lead to many sources. Many of the advertisements at writing e-publications are for other online writer newsletters that feature paying market sources, which in turn lead to even more resources to aid you in travel writing.
4. Look for travel publications at libraries. Order free trial issues of magazines; and thus, you can study first hand the feel and scope of many travel publications without depleting your wallet.
5. While traveling, get as many free brochures and booklets as you can about the venues you visit to add to your reference library. Keep a diary of your trekking experiences, which can be the foundation for personal experience essays to submit to contests, literary journals, and anthologies that focus on travelers’ tales.
6. If you don’t already own one, purchase a decent digital (at least 5 Megapixels) or 35mm camera for use in your travels. Available photos increase your odds of getting published. When developing your film, it’s best to order double prints and a CD copy of your pictures, especially if your camera isn’t a digital model. This way, you will be prepared to submit via email and/or post.
7. Before submitting your writing to an editor, revisit the online sites of the specific places you’ve written about to recheck their times of operation, admission prices, new exhibitions, etc. Make sure your article is as up to date as possible. Keep in mind that it might take weeks or months for an accepted article to appear online or in print. If you want to write a seasonal article, it’s best to research editorial calendars and deadlines so you can make a timely submission.
Getting that first pay check for this endeavor takes more than casual dedication. It means being persistent in the face of rejection. It means being willing to diligently seek out the appropriate markets. And most of all, it means being willing to write with more discipline and focus.