Many novice travel writers believe the only type of publications that will publish their stories are travel magazines.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. And there’s a good lesson that beginning (and even veteran) travel writers can learn from this.
Half of the publications that published my travel stories were not travel magazines. My publications list includes 22 travel & lifestyle magazines and 31 travel websites, yet 53 non-travel specialty, custom, and leisure magazines have also published my travel articles.
For example, I’ve had travel stories in American Cowboy, Armchair General, Aviation History, Beer Connoisseur, Blue Water Sailing, Coast & Kayak, Lost Treasure, Pacific Horticulture, Popular Communications, Renaissance, Spaceflight, Walking New Zealand, and World War II, to name a few non-travel magazines.
I’ve found it easier to sell my stories to non-travel periodicals than to travel publications. The reason for this is obvious: thousands of travel writers are pitching their stories to travel publications, where the competition is so much fiercer. You should certainly continue to pitch your travel stories to travel periodicals. But, you should also pitch your travel stories to non-travel magazines.
Next time you’re dreaming up a travel story idea to pitch, consider whether non-travel, specialty publications might be also be interested in purchasing your story.
Diversify Your Publications
If you’re in the freelance writing game for the long haul, you should also be selling stories about your other interests. Travel writing is one of the most competitive writing markets, so savvy writers will diversify their writing genres to boost their bylines and income.
Many of my 1,000 published articles are not even travel stories. I’ve had several hundred technical pieces published in 74 different sports, health, and fitness publications. These include American Fitness, Fitness Rx for Women, Irish Runner, Marathon & Beyond, Men’s Fitness, Northwest Runner, New Zealand Triathlon & Multisport, Runner’s World, Running Fitness, Tennis View, Triathlete, and WellBeing Magazine.
As you can see, my writing themes are all over the map!
Why am I telling aspiring travel writers this? Because, I wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful as I have been, without writing for multiple genres. In fact, that’s what I’m renowned for.
Pitch stories about your other favorite subjects and passions to non-travel magazines. When you increase the number of genres you write in, your potential market increases tremendously. You’ll find it easier to sell more stories when you write for multiple genres.
Writing in multiple genres has the added benefit of expanding your writing envelope and will prevent you from getting bored with writing on one subject.
Additionally, it’s great insurance for when one of your writing genres dries up due to socio-economic factors. Here’s an example of what I mean.
During the sub-prime mortgage crisis that started in 2008, large numbers of people stopped buying houses. When people aren’t buying houses, they aren’t buying home décor and DIY magazines to get ideas for home improvements. And, as you would expect, home improvement businesses stop buying advertisements in these magazines.
Two years into the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the bottom had dropped out of the home improvement and home décor magazine market. Even the high circulation magazines took significant hits to their subscriptions base, and the smaller magazines were hanging on by their fingertips. Home décor publications published fewer pages per issue. Editors stopped buying articles from freelancers and did more in-house writing.
Dozens of these magazines closed their doors. Home improvement and décor freelance writers had to go back out on the streets and find other work. I know this because several of them emailed me asking how they could start up their freelance writing career in other genres.
My point is you don’t want to be locked into writing for one particular genre! Anything can happen, Especially in an increasingly volatile world.
If you find your regular travel writing gigs drying up and editors taking fewer of your stories for publication, diversifying your writing genres will open up new opportunities. You limit yourself when you only write for one genre.
When you write in multiple genres, you have a hedge for tough times. You can grow your list of magazine leads to include your new writing genres. If one genre is slowing down, another one might be picking up.
My takeaway message from all this: Always strive to get your work published in as many genres and different magazines as you can. And be creative about pitching your travel stories to non-travel magazines.