Make Money Writing Travel Articles – Part I

Photos help sell articles.

Photos help sell articles.

Around the world, billions of people read articles and books that transport them to Bali, explain Italy’s public transport, describe where to shop in NYC…Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure your experiences could make great reading and bucks. Here are the first five of ten reasons to take notes and photos.

1. You travel.

That’s a plus, although travel isn’t a requirement for writing and selling travel articles.

2. The need for travel writers is growing.

United World Tourism Organization forecasts a “4-4.5% growth in international tourist arrivals in 2014.” Tourism is the world’s largest growth industry with no signs of slowing down in the 21st century. Travel writers provide a vital service in this humongous market.

3. A humongous market demands well-written travel articles.

As one travel editor put it, “If the article contains information that’s unique and useful to readers, I’ll buy it.” Find markets listed yearly in America’s Writers’ Market, and Britian’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. Numerous magazines and newspapers not listed under “Travel” in these resources also buy travel articles. Tons of publications aren’t listed in market compendia, so keep your eyes open for periodicals on newsagents’ shelves and friends’ coffee tables, in lobby magazine racks and secondhand stores, at club and association venues, and in mainstream bookstores and offbeat book nooks. Google phrases such as “magazines that pay travel writers,” “websites that pay for travel articles” and similar combos of those kinds of words to find paying markets.

4. Travel writers can earn high returns for low investment.

You probably already own the electronic gizmos you need to write articles, shoot photos and email them; so capital outlay is virtually nil. If you happen to be in Salzburg, say, on business or vacation, jot notes, snap photographs, collect tourist brochures and send a query to several magazines and newspapers. Doing exactly that, I earned US$500 for an 800-word article. Travel writer compensation ranges from to free copies of the publication to payment amounts that need a comma.

5. Literary brilliance not essential.

Luckily for those who haven’t attained the celestial levels of Bill Bryson, L. Peat O’ Neil and their ilk, plenty of markets exist. (Study these and other masters. They are our mentors.) Even renowned travel writers didn’t start out super-talented. Most publications can’t afford the fees big-time writers command. Countless editors are eager to buy travel pieces that are professionally presented, interesting and appeal to the targeted audience. Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing, The Travel Writer’s Handbook and other how-to books are available at http://www.amazon.com, in bricks ‘n’ mortar bookstores and libraries. Writing books are shelved in your library’s 800 section; travel in 910.

If this article was helpful, then “like” and share it with other writers who want to get published.

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(C) Beth Fowler 2014

(C) Beth Fowler 2014

It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license so he can escape his parents’ tight control. But his world turns upside down when he and his dad are whisked off to a remote army outpost in Japan. The novel, Ken’s War, is slated for publication later this year by Melange Books LLC.

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Freelancing with Spirit: Part 2

When deciding if a magazine’s or website’s slant, tone and style mesh with your writing goals, read the “Editor’s Letter” for insights to their visions for their publications. Hunt for a mission statement, which can be encapsulated in a slogan on the magazine’s spine, on the cover or in a paragraph on or near the table of contents. Mission statements are usually outlined in writers’ submission guidelines and in resources such as Writer’s Market.
Check the table of contents to find out if the magazine allocates articles into regular departments. Familiarity with a magazine’s regular departments gives writers ideas for new articles and conveys the scope of the magazine’s content. Many magazine editors welcome readers’ stories while others, in submission guidelines, state the departments in which freelancer writers have the best chance of acceptance.

Take note of contributing authors’ bylines. If Gary Zukav (The Seat of the Soul) and authors of his caliber wrote the articles, move on. Writers lacking advanced degrees and invitations to appear on “Dr. Phil” should aim their articles at periodicals suitable for their level. Find your level. Work in it. Climb up.

And, yes, a few spiritual magazines (and editors) might seem too far-fetched. Before disregarding a magazine as a possible target, inquire about future themes. Just because last month’s issue was dedicated to alien visitations doesn’t mean an upcoming issue can’t be a down-to-earth round up of articles about coping with troubled teenagers.

A shuffle through the heap of spiritual magazines on my desk reveals that one refers to the Master, another refers to inner Reality, yet another to Source, whereas a magazine for women mentions goddess, divine self and higher self among other names for the power that is also known in some circles as the Godhead, Jesus Christ, Mother, Creator, Grandfather Spirit, Buddha…Whichever magazine a freelancer chooses to write for, it’s important to use the targeted magazine’s terminology. But don’t go against your own sacred beliefs just to sell an article.

Get a sense of reader demographics. Are readers predominantly single women, vegetarians, gay Christians, recovering substance abusers, agnostic vegetarians, middle-aged baby boomers seeking more meaningful lives?
These varied audiences pursue different lifestyles, even so, virtually all readers face similar challenges and joys in life and are, therefore, interested in reading articles about the similar, day-to-day challenges we all face.

Editors encourage hopeful contributors to relate to real people with real problems. The social merits of gossiping, meeting spiritual needs on the Internet, finding a good spa, and dealing with geriatric parents are examples of topics featured in those spiritual magazines heaped on my desk.
Successful writers of spiritual articles resist resorting to platitudes and clichés, unless they are used in a fresh, thought-provoking way. Published writers also avoid being preachy and pedantic. They strive to come across as empathetic and inspiring. They add original, heartfelt ideas to the body of thought already existing on a topic.

Researching material for a spiritual article and digging into one’s feelings sets the stage for the writer to experience a mini-epiphany – an added bonus. Furthermore, touching people’s lives positively through the written word is personally rewarding for freelance writers. Receiving checks in the mail ain’t bad either.

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(C) Beth Fowler 2014

(C) Beth Fowler 2014

Freelancing with Spirit – Part 1

When I’d left my salary-woman job, reunited with my estranged husband, and moved 12 time zones away from the place called home, I came upon the writers’ maxim “Nothing bad happens to writers.”

To maintain a grip, I wrote and sold articles about anger, identity, embracing change, letting go and more to spiritual magazines. When the fountain of topics had seemingly dried up, I wrote an article about boredom which I sold to three different spiritual magazines.

Getting published in spiritual and religious magazines requires knowing the target markets well enough to be able to reflect the magazines’ values, write sincerely and impart information engagingly.

A writer’s experiences, struggles and discoveries are the raw stuff from which articles are crafted. Spiritual magazine editors purchase personal experience articles that evoke an emotional response and communicate a fundamental truth with which readers can identify, regardless of their unique situations.

Health food stores, boutiques selling incense, aromatherapy supplies and similar paraphernalia, bookstores and newsstands in university towns and trendy locales stock spiritual magazines. Mind-body-spirit seminars and centers for religious meetings disseminate spiritual magazines and newspapers, too.

Besides looking at magazines listed under the Spiritual heading in writers’ resources, look under Health and Fitness, Psychology, Self-Improvement, Relationships, Religion, and Women for periodicals and websites eager to receive well-written queries and articles.

In your Internet search engine type “spiritual magazines.” From there, also search the same subheadings mentioned above (health and fitness, etc.) and the words lifestyle, new age, alternative, Christian and other related keywords that spring to mind. The screen will display an array of markets needing more articles.

Whole Again Resource Guide lists categories of magazines and includes articles excerpted from magazines, on-line ordering, and magazine editors’ addresses. Click Magazine Order an on-line subscription service that can lead you to potential markets for your articles.

In Freelancing with Spirit Part 2 I will share tips that helped me sell articles every month to one magazine, and re-work them for other paying magazines.

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Ken’s War stands out for its appeal to young adult and adult readers, males and females. With a blend of restrained pathos and quiet humor, the tale follows a boy forced to live in Japan with his stern, distracted father. The story highlights Ken’s attempts to find his place in a world turned upside-down. There’s the martial arts expert who frustrates Ken almost as intensely as the new family his mother has assembled back in the States infuriates him.  Exquisitely portrayed characters, including Wizard, an army misfit who guides him through nuances of culture shock and teen angst, and a Japanese-American girl, play indelible roles in Ken’s rocky journey from boyhood to manhood.

Ken’s War is slated for publication later this year by www.melangebooks.com

(C) Beth Fowler 2014

(C) Beth Fowler 2014