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06-20-2009, 05:48 AM   #1
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Freelance travel writing?

Does anyone have any tips about freelance travel writing? I've just returned from a trip to HK (for a philosophy conference), and I'm hoping to defray the costs a little by writing a consumer-friendly article for a local daily.


06-21-2009, 06:22 PM   #2
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A couple of things you can do:

1 - Ask them for their submission guidelines. This will outline the general requirements of their stories, i.e., kinds of stories, length, photos, voice, etc... Sometimes this is available on their website.

2 - Send them a story query, a one page description of the trip, how it fits within their publication, and (this is important) why you think it will be of interest to their readers. Editors are always looking for good material, but it's got to be material that fits them.

3 - Writing and photo samples. It helps to demonstrate a level of quality and professionalism that is commensurate with the publication. It helps if you've had anything published previously, as it demonstrates that others have found your work publishable.

Hope this helps...
06-21-2009, 10:20 PM   #3
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Unfortunately travel writing is one of the more abused genre's, akin to a new photographers' desire to start selling prints.

Several travel short story, article based journals include submission guidelines, with more detailed caveat than mine above. Your local big-box bookstore travel section will have 100's of them. Generally, they say something like "make it unique and personal". The philosophy conference goings-on somehow juxtaposed with HK happenings?

General travelogues are purchased from syndicated news services, employing long term career travel writers. Boring.
06-22-2009, 05:33 PM   #4
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There's good travel writing and there's - yawn - average travel writing. Zzzzzzzzz That stuff puts me to sleep. Some travel writers don't even visit the places they write about. Now that is dull stuff. I'd suggest following the advise of the wise members here plus reflect back on some of your favourite travel stories. Why did you like the stories? What was the hook that pulled you into them?

I'm reading 'Jupiter's Travels' by Ted Simon. It's far more than the usual 'I traveled and saw something' style of writing. He writes with a passion that is seldom seen in this genre. He is unique, intelligent and genuine. Proper attributes for a traveling story-teller.

Don't be disheartened by the rejection notices or worse, being totally ignored by editors. Many publications don't accept unsolicited articles. I've sold a couple articles and got paid $100 for each. It was fun seeing my name in an Internationally circulated periodical. Contact the publisher or editor and ask for the submission rules first. That way you don't waste your time - or theirs.

Good luck.


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