Eat, Drink, Make Money: Part 1

by Beth Fowler

If you like to dine out and you like to write, then earning money writing restaurant reviews might be your cup of tea. Cracking into this market requires the usual strategies and some specialized tactics for writers ready to dig into the smorgasbord of opportunities.

Look for restaurant reviews in the pages of newspapers, magazines and websites that have already published your work. Editors are more inclined to consider work from writers they know than from unknowns. The newspaper features editor, who knew that his boss had accepted my travel articles, bought my first restaurant article. (Since then I’ve sold a baker’s dozen of restaurant reviews.) If the editors of publications (hard copy and online) in which your byline has appeared haven’t published restaurant reviews, maybe they’d be open to the idea if it’s pitched right.

Let’s say that “The Town Times” doesn’t publish restaurant reviews. The editor might be amenable to publishing a restaurant column if he or she feels confident that you can deliver. Approach the editor with a mouth-watering proposal, samples of your work, that is, a buffet of two or three restaurant reviews with quality photos from eateries within the geographical area the newspapers’ readers live, work and dine. The length of each restaurant review should be about the same length as the newspaper’s other lifestyle pieces, such as those covering gardening, music, art and literature. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – be clear about how often you’re expected to eat out and write a column. Weekly? Monthly?

If a newspaper or magazine currently publishes restaurant reviews, check if the same person always writes the articles. Unless the authors are big names with their own TV shows on the foodie channel and cookbooks to their credit, you could, without stepping on the steady writers’ tacos, offer to be a “guest contributor.” A magazine I frequently wrote business articles for published batches of restaurant reviews in each issue  – all written by the editor, so I continued happily submitting business articles.

If the reviews are under various bylines, this is an indication that freelance submissions are accepted and chances are better for gaining entrée into that publication. Some publications publish reviews without bylines. Compare the
style and tone of the reviews, and you can probably tell if the same person or several people wrote them.

In-flight magazines feature restaurant reviews and travel articles that include verbiage about restaurants. As always, study “house style” and take note of the photos. In-flight magazines tend to publish high-quality photos. The slicker the magazine, the higher the odds that the editor requires professionally shot images and might even assign a photographer. In-flight magazines need articles about the destinations and popular tourist sites close to the airlines’ normal routes. Articles highlighting restaurants serving regional cuisine are popular with in-flights. You don’t have to live in an exotic locale to write for in-flight magazines – every place is someplace else to someone else.

“Follow” to receive Eat, Drink, Make Money: Part 2 as soon as it’s out of the oven.

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(C) Beth Fowler 2014It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license, but his world turns upside down when he and his dad are whisked off to a remote army outpost in Japan.  Bento, moshi and udan replace lunch box, rice and spaghetti. The novel, Ken’s War, is slated for publication this May by Melange Books LLC. Please like the brand new site https://www.facebook.com/kenswar

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Make Money Writing Travel Articles – Part 2

Take lots of photos to jog your memory when you write.

Take lots of photos to jog your memory when you write.

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, your experiences could make great reading and bucks. Here is the second batch of reasons to take notes and photos.

6.      Work when you want.

It’s 2 a.m. Your body clock is four time zones out of whack. Ideas for articles flood your mind. Wearing your bathrobe (or not), you brew a pot of tea, turn on the computer and crank out an article explaining how to minimize jet lag. If you don’t feel like writing for a spell, no 9-to-5 honcho will hassle you. Assuming you’re not counting on living on income generated from travel writing (at first, anyhow) you can write when the mood strikes.

7. Boredom isn’t an occupational hazard.

Readers who haven’t “been there, done that” crave to know What’s it like to be there, to do that? Authors writing about a place notice details, recreate scenes accurately with word pictures, capture the atmosphere of a place and observe nuances that epitomize a location. The writer’s experience becomes a jumping-off place for others. To write interesting travel articles, the writer must be interested.

8.      There’s a niche for every writing style.

No doubt there’s a publication buying the works of authors who write in a style similar to yours. Whereas one publication features concise articles liberally spiked with distances, dates, addresses, costs and other numerical information, another publication prefers articles brimming with impressionistic descriptions of splendid sunsets, roaring waterfalls, noisy marketplaces. Other publications feature articles covering an entire nation in 1500 words, and yet others assign 3000 words to a single attraction or event such as a new zoo or annual regatta. While certain publications want authors’ personalities to show through, other publications solicit articles in which authors remain invisible. Study the market to find publications matching your style. Or adjust your style to your target. Sites dedicated to travel writing such as www.freelancetravelwriter.com/ and  main.travelwriters.com/ feature techniques, markets, pay scales, editors, specifications and trips for writers.

9.      Travel writing covers a vast field.

Topics for travel writing are as varied as the world itself. Writers have sold (and resold) pieces about hiking the Appalachian Trail, bicycling in Malaysia, sipping green tea in Kyoto, pub crawling in Dublin, chewing betel nut in Taiwan and touring Pearl S. Buck’s Pennsylvania home. People preferring to stay close to home can succeed as travel writers because every place is some place else to someone else, and travel articles aren’t about places only. Furthermore, locals like reading about and exploring their own neck of the woods. Advice articles with tips on traveling with children, handling money on the road, avoiding food poisoning and packing economically, to name a few practical concerns, fall into the travel writing category.

10.  Job satisfaction guaranteed.

Satisfaction comes from raising the curtain on little-known destinations, from assisting sightseers in making the right turn, from taking armchair travelers along for the ride. Satisfaction comes from seeing your name after “By” in a publication and after “To:” on a check.

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It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license, 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 this May by Melange Books LLC.