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Travel Writing for
Pleasure and Profit
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Magazines and newspapers

Magazines are a highly competitive market. The top magazines assign most articles to experienced travel writers, while smaller magazines don't pay much and usually cover niches that you may not have the qualifications (or the interest) to write about.

Still, surprises do happen. Juli Van Zyverden, a librarian who produced a not-for-profit Web site called the Venice Italy Index until recently, was asked to write an article on Venice for a major airline magazine after an editor saw her Web pages.

Newspapers can be a good market for freelancers. The pay is usually low, but you can sometimes sell the same article to newspapers in different cities--unless you're dealing with one of the growing number of newspaper chains that require freelancers to license all rights or, worse yet, insist on "work for hire" contracts that give copyright ownership to the newspaper.

As with most travel writing, you'll have the best chance of selling an article to a newspaper if you're writing about a destination that hasn't received extensive coverage or that the newspaper's own staff hasn't visited. Again, a new angle on an old topic might work--e.g., a first-person account of visiting Paris with your dog and new baby.

To find magazine and newspaper markets for your work, see Writer's Market (published by Writer's Digest Books and available in most public libraries).

Advertising and corporate work

Somebody has to write the travel literature that fuels demand for airline seats, hotel rooms, tour packages, and other services of the travel trade.

Corporate incentive travel is another growing market. When your local insurance company is sending its top 200 agents to Hawaii or Hong Kong, it needs someone to write a brochure that makes the destination enticing to agents and their spouses.

If you can tap into these markets, you can expect to earn anywhere from $20 or $25 an hour for low-budget work to $75 an hour and up for major corporate assignments. To find such work, assemble a portfolio of your clippings. Then show it, with your résumé, to potential buyers such as advertising agencies, art studios, corporate marketing-communications departments, and your local Convention & Visitors' Bureau. (Don't worry if you don't have printed samples--instead, read the "Web sites" section on page 3.)

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