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Ask a Travel Writer

Professional travel writer: ask me anything!
10 years ago, September 30th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #87881  

I write for a travel magazine ..

Quote by Ann Star

Anna, As a professional travel writer do you have any tips or advice for us, about what makes a travel blog good and what makes people want to read it and read more by a particular blogger?
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10 years ago, September 30th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #87913  

Writing a good travel blog is very subjunctive and the idea of what is "good" changes often. That said, the trends in travel writing have seemed to steer away from destination reviews. The shift from paper magazines to blog-style e-zines has caused this as more people have the opportunity to post their writing in front of millions of interested, reading eyes. Thus, blogs have created a travel writing environment that is more focused on personal travel experiences rather than the withdrawn 3rd person articles travel writers were previously used to seeing/writing. Building a readership obviously depends on whether you're dispensing good information, if it is easy to read, is fluid and grammatically well-constructed, whether the text of your blog has the proper tags/keywords, etc. But ultimately to get people interested, YOU have to be interesting. A blog is essentially a personality. People get interested in your style and your perspective more than anything.

I hope that helps 😊 Reply to this

10 years ago, October 1st 2009 No: 3 Msg: #87987  
Thank you Anna. 😊 Yes, that does help!

Mel Reply to this

10 years ago, October 2nd 2009 No: 4 Msg: #88134  
I am a professional travel writer and am currently the Editor-in-Chief of (a new Maxim magazine style travel guide focused on independent travel). After chatting with Mell recently, I realized I might be able to provide some good advice for aspiring travel writers, travelers and the travel-minded. Feel free to ask me anything travel or travel writing related.
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10 years ago, October 2nd 2009 No: 5 Msg: #88135  
Hello again Anna 😊

Glad to see you back again. 😊

Would you mind putting the link to and the name of your travel magazine on your profile page. We snip them from forum posts, to discourage spammers from posting their links.

Mel Reply to this

10 years ago, October 2nd 2009 No: 6 Msg: #88138  
Hey Mel. Done deal. I apologize for that. Reply to this

10 years ago, October 2nd 2009 No: 7 Msg: #88140  
No problem! We are rather harsh about links, because we get a lot of spammers here. What a pity that spammers have to make it difficult for those who may genuinely want to share information. 😊 Reply to this

10 years ago, October 4th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #88273  
B Posts: 580
...ask you anything Ann Star? I always thought "subjunctive" was the tense I couldn't quite get the hang of in Spanish clash...anyway...
Was just wondering how much research went into the article "10 Places you Must have Sex Around the World!" article, whose 'personality' does it best reflect, and how you went about whittling it down to just the ten;-)
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10 years ago, October 4th 2009 No: 9 Msg: #88275  
"subjunctive" is to "subjective" as "clash" is to "class" 😊 tired brain slip up.

As for the article:

My focus was obviously international. As such, the items covered strategically spanned the globe. The places I chose were as much unrealistic as they were doable (pun intended). To my surprise, I put in tons of research. I scoped out all the travel websites (matador, etc.) and steered clear from the places they suggested so that my article could offer some fresh material. Some places (for instance the igloo), were drawn from past experiences 😉

Choosing just 10 was difficult but I figured I would leave the article open for reader ideas. The 10 I choose weren't arbitrary. I the particular 10 places I chose to be broad enough to cover a good amount of the world, from the most common (Mile High Club) to the less cliche (monasteries, deserts and such). Its all about balance (well and about dropping your inhibitions).

As for whose 'personality' is best reflected in the article, the aim was hormone-ridden young adults. More of a demographic than a personality.

Thanks for reading. Keep aspiring!

Anna Reply to this

10 years ago, October 6th 2009 No: 10 Msg: #88527  
Hi Anna,

My question is: what would be the best way to pitch an idea for a travel book that I want to write to publishers or publications? What ideas do they look for when deciding whether or not to employ/collaborate with writers? I don't want to just 'blitz' a hundred editors with the same email.

Jon Reply to this

10 years ago, October 6th 2009 No: 11 Msg: #88584  
I would never mass email anyone for a job, writing or otherwise. I've been on the hiring and applying end of things and you ALWAYS know when somebody is just sending you a boiler plate template.

My advice would be to do your research from a different perspective. Ultimately, publishers are business people. Take a look at the material that particular publisher has published in the recent past. Ask yourself "what about this piece of work did the publisher initially think would make him/her money"? Was it a particular topic, a unique twist on an old theme or the writers themselves that made this piece worth publishing? Offering "new" ideas, from a business perspective, is risky because publishers have no room for comparison. I'm not discouraging you from pitching something you think is unique but keep in mind the risk factors involved. A better idea would be to show them how your work is in line with what they have previously published. Trigger some sense of familiarity with your pitch even if the idea/topic you're selling is completely unique. Pretty much, as superficial as it sounds, show them that you can make them money.

Confidence is key when it comes to your pitch; assume the role of a salesman.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that my input has helped.

Anna Reply to this

10 years ago, October 6th 2009 No: 12 Msg: #88587  
Thanks for your advice. I'll ask some more questions tomorrow, but right now I can barely see my computer screen thrugh bleary eyes.

Jon Reply to this

10 years ago, October 6th 2009 No: 13 Msg: #88590  

10 years ago, October 27th 2009 No: 14 Msg: #90870  
How does one get press credentials? Reply to this

10 years ago, October 28th 2009 No: 15 Msg: #91160  
Hi Anna,

You're going to wish you hadn't started this forum I think! Does your advice enter the realm of script-writing for television? If you've read any of my blogs, you'll know that I'm in a fortunate position - a unique angle in terms of travel writing, incidentally - of touring with rock and roll bands..

I'm currently looking at co-writing a comedy drama, for TV, about the entertainment industry. My colleague and I have 30 years of experience between us; we know a host of characters that are wonderfully dysfunctional. In fact, they couldn't be invented..

We're convinced that this would take off - let's say in the style of Auf Weidersen Pet - but we're unsure who to approach. Help!

Barnaby Reply to this

10 years ago, October 29th 2009 No: 16 Msg: #91324  
Chuck: I have covered a few events that needed "press credentials" per se but nothing that required an official badge or full clearance from a media relations representative. I've pretty much finagled everything I've done by being personable and charming. I think that's the best approach to most anything where a bargaining type process takes place. As far as getting yourself in the door at media events, its difficult to get credibility if you're not a recognized news source (i.e. a website).

Barnaby: If you're really serious (and it sounds like you have a good idea with a lot of material), I would hire an agent in Los Angeles. Although I warn you, lot are sleezy and don't have the necessary contacts (I lived in LA for 20 years and they are a dime a dozen). Its unfortunate that a middle man is necessary, but almost everyone gets work through agents.

OR you can put together a multi-media press kit and send it off to the corporate offices of the networks you think are a good fit.

OR an approach I've seen is to contact producers with a sample short video of your show (which you make using your own funds; just a snippet) and sell them on the idea. Then have them pitch the idea to their network contacts.

Hope this helps guys. If you have any more questions to throw my way, I would be delighted to give them my best shot.

Anna Starostinetskaya
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10 years ago, October 30th 2009 No: 17 Msg: #91394  
Thanks Anna,

I now have another question if you don't mind.

I am trying to get it so that I have amature travel writers working for me and I wondering what could I offer as a incentive to them in addition to paying them money. I don't have any plans to do to Europe or Africa any time soon and this year I was going to go back to Austriala but ran out of time and I think my site could use content from those areas. Reply to this

10 years ago, October 30th 2009 No: 18 Msg: #91400  
An incentive I have offered writers is good, honest editorial feedback and obvioiusly credit for all work I use that they submit. That seems to be received very well in the amature travel writing community as they get the benefit of having their work critiqued in a positive, constructive way and they get to use the credit for school or resumes. I would suggest getting college students living abroad to bulk up your area research. GAP year in Europe is huge and lots of kids go out to live and explore various destinations. Reply to this

10 years ago, October 30th 2009 No: 19 Msg: #91402  
That is a great suggestion.

Where would I advertise to do that? obviously here on travelblog.org any suggestions on other places to get the word out?

If anyone reads this I would be interested in hearing from you espically if you have asperations in this area of travel writing. Reply to this

10 years ago, October 30th 2009 No: 20 Msg: #91407  
Maybe offer short term internships..you may not be an official origanization but sometimes all it takes to complete hours of writing credits is a signature so they may be interested in that. Well Craigslist.com is a popular avenue here, I'm not sure its as popular where you are. I would look for a job hunt website (maybe Monster.com, but you may have to pay to put your ad up). Or go all out the old-fashioned way, which I love, and put up flyers with tear-away numbers around the neighborhood. I figure the more creative you get with your hiring approach, the more creative people you attract 😉

If you want writers on a telecommuting basis only (which I would recommend in this situation as you want people living in different countries as is), go ahead and check out craigslist.com. Its free to post in the writing classifieds section.
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