As the media landscape keeps changing around us, travel writers are following many paths to success. Some are book authors, some write primarily for magazines, and others are earning a good income by blogging or running destination websites. Tim Leffel, author of “Travel Writing 2.0” (http://travelwriting2.com), offers these tips on making it as a travel writer, whether in print, e-books, travel apps, or the next media we haven’t seen yet.
1. Get the Basics Down First – There is far too much competition in this desirable field for sub-par writers to succeed. Read books on writing well, take a course at your local community college, or attend workshops that include peer and teacher reviews. At a minimum, travel writers need to master the basics of reporting and writing engaging prose before blogging or getting hired by an editor.
2. Find Your Niche – Trying to be a generalist travel writer puts you into a bloody pool with incredible competition. It is far easier to make a name for yourself becoming the expert on one region or one style of travel.
3. Be Original – Ideas are your main currency as a travel writer. The ability to find good original story ideas for any destination is often more important than what you actually put on the page.
4. Be a Professional – The main complaint of editors is that so many writers are unprofessional. They send sloppy e-mails. They miss deadlines. They make promises they can’t deliver. You can rise above the pack by reading publication guidelines carefully and not wasting editors’ time.
5. Travel Every Chance You Get – It’s difficult to succeed as a travel writer, even a part-time one, if you are not traveling on a regular basis. It can be in your own region, but you need to go find the stories nobody else is writing and get past the routine vacations that have been reported on a thousand times already.
Tim Leffel is a full-time travel writer and editor whose latest book is “Travel Writing 2.0: Earning Money From Your Travels in the New Media Landscape.”