From a Bloggin' Byline to a Payin' Byline
By Roy A. Barnes
© 2007, Roy A. Barnes
Sign up for an account at one of the
countless blogging sites that have overrun the internet, and type out a
personal globe-trotting recollection. Presto: you can indulge in travel
writing! Yet to be someone who can honestly proclaim that they've been
paid to write about their journeys is a totally different travel-writing
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 writing may not earn you a wooden
nickel for your efforts.
Becoming a travel writer who can make
enough money to pay the bills is a gradual process. The following 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 or the tedious drafting and
redrafting of articles and queries, while honing your craft so that it
meets the specific needs of the media that will put some dead presidents
in your pocket? Your financial and family situations will certainly be
a factor in determining this.
2. Thoroughly study publications'
submission guidelines. They often give you a good idea of what the
media 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 kid-friendly
museums in London could be marketable to a variety of family-themed
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. Check out Fundsforwriters.com,
Writersweekly.com, and Writingfordollars.com 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; 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 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 camera for use in your travels. You'll want a decent
digital (at least 5 megapixels) or 35mm camera. Appropriate 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. Check your details. Before
submitting your writing to an editor, revisit the websites of the 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 paycheck 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.
Roy A. Barnes
writes from Cheyenne, Wyoming. His travel articles for pay have
been published by such mediums as Transitions Abroad, Live Life
Travel, The Traveler, and GoNOMAD.com. His writing-themed articles
have been featured at The Busy Freelancer, Absolute Write, Writing
for DOLLARS, and The Dabbling Mum.