In an interview some years back, Mick Jagger was asked what career path he would have chosen had the rock star portal not opened up. Was I the only one to raise the eyebrows when he responded “travel writer?”
Scouring the globe at the expense of a glossy magazine certainly reads as an exotic proposition. Problem is, seemingly half the world has the same thing in mind. It’s a competitive market out there. So how does a freelance writer pique the interest of an editor and snare those hotly contested commissions? Two tips I’ve found increasingly useful are:
(1) Keep abreast of destination trends. Hottest tip lists for the coming year begin appearing in publications on the cusp of the calendar year. That will invariably be a hook for an editor in your pitch.
“Lonely Planet has labelled post Escobar Colombia as the next big thing in South American travel”. There’s an opening line for your pitch on a piece on “La Ciudad Perdida” (The Lost City), Colombia’s answer to Machu Picchu.
Keep abreast of travel trends and stats then pitch with this data in mind.
(2) In days gone by, images and written pieces were provided by two separate specialists in their fields.
Though contemporary times seem to demand a level of competence in both. Even with an earth moving story in the vault, it may be the quality images in your pitch that can seal a deal with an editor.
Yes it’s possible to access imagery from sources such as iStockphoto if you are not of the photographic ilk. However, commissions regularly require the provision of photos in the brief and if you need to scavenge those externally, then a chunk of your fee will go up in an “I Dream of Genie” puff of smoke.
Still dreaming of being a travel writer? Pitch away and enjoy the ride. The money can be crap but the life experience trade-offs are an alluring counter balance.
Stay tuned to Modonews for one of Gary’s excellent travel stories about one of the worlds little known sports.
Gary Yeates is a former English Teacher who eventually morphed into a French and Spanish teacher. With that now a distant memory, he has spread his wings and regularly traverses the planet, chronicling and photographing the events. Back in his home town in Sydney, he is also attempting to cross the thin journalistic line into more feature based writing. Photography and stories at www.thegreyglobe.com.