The Editor’s Desk: How to Pitch a Travel Magazine
I think it goes without saying that in the travel writing industry there are a lot of mistakes that are made by new writers. Part of the problem is that there is no coaching involved. Yes, you can go to university for journalism, communications, tourism or any other related program, but the truth is that the majority of travel writers stumble their way into this career. Moreover, most people who get into the industry do it alone. Mistakes are made by the majority of those who enter into this field, but let’s be honest, regardless of what career you are in people make mistakes when they start out. In travel writing, one of the most botched aspects of the process is the pitch. Below I have given a couple guidelines to help aspiring travel writers make a better pitch to travel magazines.
- Introduction: Getting an “in” with a certain travel magazineeditor often comes down to them getting to know you, thus the introduction is important. Keep the introduction brief, tell the editor who you are, but do not go on and tell the editor your life’s story; they have enough to read.
- Resume: You do not need to send an editor your complete resume. What you should be sending them is a couple examples of your previously published work. If you have no published work you might want to send them the link to one of your articles on your blog or website. If you don’t have a website either, you’ll probably want to submit a few articles for non-paid writing opportunities first in order to give them an idea of your writing style and ability. Quite often a magazine’s rejection or acceptance has nothing to do with the quality of your writing but just whether the style fits their publication.
- The Pitch: Sure you can send in the finished product to an editor right away, but to save yourself the work upfront just send in a pitch. Your pitch should come with an explanation about the article you want to write, why it fits the specific magazine, and a short excerpt from the proposed article. The excerpt should be a grabbing point, this is your chance to wow the editor with your writing skills. Also, tell them if you have photos to submit along with the article. Put one of the photos somewhere online (like flickr) where they can see it. Sometimes great images are the selling point for an editor.
- Thank you: End the submission with a quick thank you and your contact information
- Edit your Pitch: Editors are obviously sticklers for grammar. The worst thing you can do is send in a pitch that is filled with typos and poor grammar.
- Create a Template: If you’re going to be taking travel writing seriously you’re likely going to be sending a number of pitches every week. You don’t want to have to put all the time and effort into a huge pitch every time. Create a template that you have edited to perfection and then just make adjustments to it based on the magazine you are pitching. However, make sure this template doesn’t look generic.
- Get to the Point: Editor’s are busy people, the last thing they want to do is read a long-winded pitch. Keep it as brief as you can while still getting your pitch across.
- Send Quality: If you send a horrible pitch to an editor it might get to the point that they don’t even read your emails. Only send your best work and an idea that fits with their site.
- Don’t over Pitch: Don’t send the same editor too many pitches, especially if they have not been publishing your articles. The last thing you want is to create a “boy who cried wolf” situation where you send in so many articles that the editor stops reading them and misses a great piece. Be sure your article would work for the magazine before you send the pitch
- Do your Research: Read some of the articles from the publication as to know the style that the magazine usually publishes. Also, know the format that the magazine requires or prefers. Read the submission guidelines of the publication and follow them.