All Travel Authors are Travel Writers, but not all Travel Writers are Travel Authors (don’t worry this is not one of those Knights and Knaves puzzles)……so what’s the difference? Simple. Travel Writers have many outlets for their content – newspapers, magazines, tourist guides, websites, and more, but to be considered a Travel “Author” you must have published a book.
Travel book publishers and travel magazines seek articles about travel each week. If you search, you’ll find many opportunities to get paid to do what you love, travel writing. But if you have a strong desire to become a travel author, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that it can be a tough path, consume much if not all of your time, and the risk of failure is greater. The good news? You have many more publishing options available than did authors of the past. Below we’ve listed some of the options to get you going down the road to publishing your own book.
Remember, passion and perseverance will pay off!
Steps to become a published travel author
- Network. Find other aspiring travel authors and obtain valuable feedback about your work! Check out Meetup.com, Yahoo! Groups, and Google groups. The feedback on your book will be invaluable.
- Go the traditional route. Write a book, and “shop” it around to agents and publishers until it’s accepted.
- Find a small publisher aka a “niche” publisher who is looking for the right books. For example, if your book takes place in a specific country or location, find a publisher who only prints books about that area. A small publishing house will be interested in many different things.
- If you can’t find a small publisher, you can try a POD (publisher on demand), which means that your book is printed and bound (and shipped) when ordered. Some of the downsides include: you may be charged a fee and may not receive help with editing or marketing your book. Some old-school-ers believe there is a “stigma” attached to POD books. Bricks and mortar bookstores may not carry them and some reviewers may not read them. The upsides? They are a quick and easy way to get your book published. If you are willing to do some or all of the marketing yourself, you can make money with a POD book. They are quickly gaining popularity and with it more respect.
- Self-publish. You can do this with a publishing service, which will copy and bind your book, similar to POD, however you do pay as you go with this way – meaning you order a quantity of your own book. Or you can visit and sign up with cafepress.com. Click on “start selling” and find out how you can sell your books online! When you self publish, you are solely responsible for selling your books. This is why I mentioned cafepress.com. With a “click” of a button your book can be bound as saddle-stitch, wire-o, or perfect bound. Of course, you could drive around with books in your car and convince local businesses to offer your book to their customers along with merchandise that is already in the store.
- Use a vanity publisher. To get a nicely bound book with cover art and your name on the spine, be prepared to pay for every man-hour that is used to make your book. People who use vanity publishers print a few copies and give their book away to friends and colleagues to impress them.
- Create an eBook. This is a book that exists only as a computer file. These are very popular! Unless you’re already set up with a merchant account to process credit cards, you can sign up with any number of “checkout” providers such as Google Checkout, PayPal, or Kagi (to name just a few). A buyer starts at your website, puts your eBook in a “shopping cart” which then uses your chosen Checkout Provider to process the payment. The Checkout Provider then authorizes the buyer to download the book to his or her own computer. If you have a short travel book, consider offering it as an eBook.
Authors have more ways to get published thanks to computers and the internet. Getting published in the traditional manner can be tedious. As an aspiring travel author, be willing to consider other options. An “open-mind” will enable you to find quicker routes to publication versus those who go “old school” and insist on acceptance from one of the major publishing houses. Did you know that Amazon.com charges a commission of 55% to sell your book? There’s an in-depth calculation on how it comes out to be 55%, but the upside is that they are the largest online marketplace for books, with a strong affiliate network to help sell yours. So while you may earn less per copy sold, you stand to sell many more copies that via other distribution channels. And they don’t require exclusive rights to sell your book, which is a plus as well.