EXACT INFO THAT WRAPS IT UP: TRAVEL FREELANCING

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This is a writing class in NE China, at a remote university.  It was terribly interesting. At this particular university, most of the students didn’t want to study English, and this group was especially trying.  Other classes, though, had students handing me notes about how they loved 18th century lit, and would I talk about it? You never know.

Let’s be like the great writers from England now and just jump into what’s on our minds.

Yesterday’s post prepared you, and you’re ready to look at the various guidelines online or in a hard copy handbook.  Look for a market according to where you go or live (e.g., domestic, international, by state/province). Also, there are scores of specialty magazines, at least one for every state in the US.  Writers Market has magazines listed by state. Some are ezines, some not.

This is surprisingly important. For example, many publications don’t cover ANY international travel since about 2001.  Also, domestic travel magazines have certain topics they’ll buy from freelancers and a calendar they follow. It’s called their ‘editorial calendar’ and sometimes you have to send them a quick email.  It’s perfectly fine to do this.  Ask them this and other one liners, like how much they pay.

What’s a regional topic?  For example, what happened in Little Dixie, OK in late October?  Did you go there then and do that?  (Answer: people go on foliage tours.) Write about something where you live or where you go.  For example, if you live in Arizona, you could look up AZ Sunsets in Writers Market, then confirm the information by going to the AS website. You might then query them. Your topic?  How about the Papago Indian Reservation near Kitt Peak with a special twist to perk their interest. Be sure to have good quality photos for all your submissions. Just mention that they’re available when you send the query letter.

Many travel publications aren’t interested in ‘destinations’ but want copy about the details of travel (how many visas do you need to cross  Europe nowadays?  What about currency?  What’s the entry fee to the Grand Canyon? Where’s the entrance?  Etc.).

Consider your passions as well as where:  American Indian powwows?  Domestic flights? Horse shows in Arkansas? The University of New York’s Travel Exchange Program?  Contemporary Dance?  Voltaire? Birding? Be careful about preaching, though. A rule of thumb is to write what they want.  Don’t write an expose when they want facts and scenes. Don’t write about political turmoil when the publication publishes stories about train travel.

And publications usually don’t want to rattle people.  Often ‘real’ stories go to staff writers and/or a syndicate.  If you have lots of exact information on this, please send me a comment and link.

Look at the photo of those college kids in NE China.  I taught them and wrote my stories. Is that a nice way to spend a few months? I felt it was better than jumping on the property ladder.  Freelancing, you can have your pay and keep your self.  Travel writing is a strong alternative to settling in as a content provider in a cubicle, or even trying to make it in your own apartment.  It guided me to my own path, and I think it’ll do the same for you.  A fringe joy: you’ll have an exciting life.

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