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.

Format

  • 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.

    Photo Credit - © Suto Norbert | Dreamstime.com

  • 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

Tips

  • 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.
If you think you’re ready to make a pitch head over and read our submission guidelines and send us your pitch.  We’re looking forward to reading them.


Author: Brendan van Son

Brendan van Son, the Editor-in-Chief at Vagabundo Magazine, is a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. He is currently exploring West Africa while working on the "It's My Life 365" project. Brendan's work has been featured across the world in both press and on a variety of online productions.

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7 Comments

  1. Good advice Brendan. Looking forward to reading more articles on the site after the launch date. Hopefully we can work on getting a few published as well. Cheers

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  2. I wandered into travel writing via a Latin degree and newspaper journalism. The path can be twisty, indeed. But plenty of books (like Don George’s Travel Writing”) and classes can leapfrog folks past n00b errors. David Farley nutshelled how those can help and reviewed a few in “Transitions Abroad” a while back: http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/travel/travel_writing/travel-writing-for-fun-and-profit.shtml

    (Full disclosure, he head-checked classes I teach for Writers.com and he since has joined our travel-writing master-class faculty. But all personal boosterism aside, I still stand behind courses as a good way for freelancers to rev up to speed. Being able to write – as most first-worlders can – does not a professional writer make. There’s a lot of art and craft that goes into the mix, not to mention all the entrepreneurial elements like pitching, self-promotion, book-keeping and so on… Why learn all that by trial, error and Google search?)

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    • I agree Amanda. Thanks for your input, and I hope people take your advice. It’s a choppy industry but with a little bit of schooling on the process it is completely possible to get your foot in the door.

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  3. Thanks for the great post!

    I’ve always been a little scared about pitching to a magazine or any other publication because I wasn’t sure how to go about it.

    Look forward to putting these simple practical tips into practice! :)
    Nicole recently posted..Travel Bug Tuesday – Sunset on the Big AppleMy Profile

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  4. Very helpful tips. Thanks.

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The Editor’s Desk: How to Pitch a Travel Magazine