One Market for Travel (and other) Articles

Today, Peggy from lightgreenstairs.com posted a comment to my “So You Want to be a Travel Writer” article. The information she provided can be helpful if you want to contribute a travel piece to the online magazine TheSmartSet.com.

TheSmartSet is an independent magazine supported by Drexel University. It covers “culture and ideas, arts and science, global and national affairs — everything from literature to shopping, medicine to sports, philosophy to food,” according to the website.

TheSmartSet.com says it’s always looking for “excellent, original, and previously unpublished personal essays, critical essays, reporting, memoir, travel writing, stories, photo essays, and even video projects.”

As usual, before you submit a query be sure to read several issues of the publication to become familiar with its focus and style. And do remember to read and follow the guidelines.

Many thanks to Peggy for her contribution to our market list information.

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So You Want to Be a Travel Writer?

Seems like half of the people I meet want to be travel writers. The other half want to write the story of their lives — they seem to believe their lives have been so fascinating that publishers will want to offer them big advances and snap up their story.

From what I’ve read (I’ve never been a travel writer nor have I written my autobiography), unless those people have done something fascinating recently (crash-landed a fully-loaded airliner on the Hudson River, for instance, or survived a shark attack and inspired the world), most publishers would take a pass on their life story, I think.

As for travel writing, although it’s not very easy to break in, it can be done. Just last week I happened upon a post by Cecily Layzell on Suite101.com on “How to Break into Travel Writing.”

Her post featured tips from a travel industry veteran, Steve Korver. Along with newspaper and magazine articles and travel guides, Korver’s portfolio includes travel articles in the New York Times, the Guardian, The Globe & Mail, Time Out and Fodor’s. Korver doesn’t discuss how easy (or how hard) it is to break into travel writing, but he does provide his top tips, as well as great inspiration about how he roams the globe to produce travel articles.

Cecily Layzell has also done some travel writing, traveling extensively through Europe and Africa and regularly contributing to Suite101’s Mediterranean and Moroccan food sections.

If you’re really serious about wanting to write travel articles, you might want to check out Cecily Layzell’s article. You can also find a number of other travel writing links at the Suite101.com site, including travel writing for blogs and web sites, resources for writing travel articles and books, and how to get a job writing for travel guides.

Plus, if you do a Google search, about 16,200,000 hits for “getting started in travel writing” will turn up.

© 2009 Laverne Daley

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Want to Sell to In-Flight Publications This Year?

In case you’re hoping to sell to one of the in-flight magazines, there’s a helpful article in the January 2009 issue of The Writer.

Ty Treadwell, who wrote the piece, “Writing for Airline Magazines,” has sold more than 100 articles to magazines, newspapers and Web sites, including many travel markets.

His specific advice for anyone aiming at in-flights is right on target: study the market, follow the rules, consider contributing front-of-the-book pieces for an easy way to break in, and know what not to do.

It’s especially important for freelancers to know how the publications differ and how you can use that information to your advantage. He says:

… just because most in-flights contain a similar mix of travel, business and general-interest features doesn’t mean they all present the material in the same fashion.”

Along with tips about topics that in-flights are now covering, he also provides a sampling of guidelines for some of the magazine.

If you’re serious about selling to in-flight publications, this article will be a must-read for you.

© 2009 Laverne Daley

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Late with Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Usually by mid-December, I have a definite action plan for my writing for the coming year and some tentative writing resolutions in mind. But here we are, finishing up the first full week of 2009 and until yesterday, I’d made no resolutions at all. Nevertheless, help soon appeared.

Every Wednesday, the freelance writing ezine, Writers Weekly, comes into my inbox and that’s where I found “Thirty-One Writing-Related Resolutions” by Melissa Mayntz yesterday. My lucky day!

I’m happily adopt several of Melissa’s resolutions as my own. Number 5, for instance — Subscribe to a new writing newsletter or magazine or choose a publication in a field you frequently write about to stay up on the latest trends. That’s a winner since editors are often looking trend pieces.

Then there’s Number 8 — Think Outside the Border: Thousands of magazines, newsletters and newspapers are published in every country — think outside your nationality and send an idea to a foreign publication. That one is easy since I’m already familiar with the newsletter of Worldwide Freelance Writer. Among other resources, Worldwide Freelance provides writing markets from USA, Canada and around the world.

Closer to home, Number 23 looks promising — Get Local: Investigate local and regional magazines, weekly newspapers and other markets that would love to feature a hometown writer. Early in my freelancing career, I was lucky enough to sell articles to lots of local markets. Those editors are great to work with and always welcome my queries. It’s great, too, when local friends see and comment on my work in local magazines.

If you’d like to see all 31 resolutions, you can find them at Writers Weekly and at Melissa’s website. If you go to her website, be sure to read every word of her bio. The story of how she left her teaching job and built a career as a writer and editor can be a model for others who want to become successful freelancers.

Melissa’s work can be found on more than 30 websites and amounts to more than 1,300 articles on topics as diverse as theme parts, weddings, cruises, kids, swimwear and frugal living. She also provides creative editing services to authors and small publishers.

Melissa says she enjoys experimenting with new markets and unusual topics. Who knows what’s next for this prolific freelancer!

© 2009 Laverne Daley

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‘Tis The Season for Lists

This week, it seems that as soon as Lake Superior State University issued its annual “List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness,” all types of media took on the cause of reporting on the list.

I read about the offending words and phrases in several newspapers and viewed reports about them on network news stations and cable channels and on the Internet. Chances are you saw some of those reports, too.

Environmental buzzwords Green and going green captured the most nominations to appear on the list, but Carbon Footprint and Carbon Offsetting also took hits. They were joined by Maverick, Dude, Bail Out and Wall Street/Main Street (referring to the financial crisis) and other wished-to-be-banished words and phrases.

I was delighted to see Icon or Iconic on the list (not everything from the past is iconic), as well as Staycation (when one curtails summer travel to remain at home), a made-up word that some have called idiotic and rootless. Those words seem to turn up every day in my reading and TV watching, proving at least to me, that they were much overused.

For my money, I wish some list-makers would call attention to media types who, when they announce program breaks, completely ignore the fact that English has a future tense. Wish I had a dime for every time I heard a news anchor say “We are back in two minutes” instead of “We will be back …..”) — I’d have a lot more pocket change than I do now. And how about those sports reporters (and copycats) who seem to confuse the preposition on with the more properly used for. (“He has two birdies on the day.” … instead of saying “He has two birdies for the day”).

Do you suppose they think that the word for is a synonym for the word on?

In the city where I live, TV anchors have begun reporting that some poor souls “went missing“” after wandering away from home. Sounds like something from a British murder mystery, doesn’t it? “Wandered off” or simply “disappeared” have worked well up to now, with the added benefit of not sounding as pretentious as “went missing.”

Those are the same news anchors who evidently think it grammatically incorrect to say “between you and me.” I shudder every time one of them says “between you and I.”

Do you think it’s time to start a “Word/Phrase Shudder-Making Mis-Use List“? I’m up for it. What words or phrases would you include?

© 2009 Laverne Daley

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