5 ways 'specializing' can boost your freelance travel-writing career

By David Hammond
 My first writing specialty was real estate opportunities in Uruguay
(Image: Punta del Este, Uruguay, by David Hammond)
When I started writing full time, I still had much to learn.

My career got traction thanks to a magazine editor who took time to help guide my efforts and polish my work.

Why did he go to the trouble?

Part of the reason probably stemmed from kindness. He could see I was serious about writing and wanted to help.

However, it didn’t hurt that I was a specialist—with expertise on a topic in strong demand with his publication’s readers.

A second career as a travel writer—an interview with Penang-based author, writer, and publisher Keith Hockton

By David Hammond
Keith Hockton
Keith Hockton was always a good storyteller.

At age 12, he wrote an English essay about an old man eating dinner that included a line he still remembers, …and his spoon splashed into his bowl of lukewarm watery soup causing it to spill on his already dirty trousers.

“The essay itself wasn’t so great,” recalls Keith. “But that one sentence—it was visual.”

It raised the idea his storytelling ability might cross over into writing.

Decades later, after university and a career in banking, Keith gave writing a try.

The freelance travel writer’s path to more assignments and better pay

By David Hammond 
Imagine two freelance travel writers. They write at the same skill level. Both share similar career goals.

Yet, one continues to struggle while the other builds up to a full schedule of good-paying assignments.

You see this a lot. Which raises the question: Why?

What makes the difference?

The answer is simple. While writing competency is essential, it’s not the only area of improvement that deserves your attention.

In this post, we look at four areas of development in addition to writing ability that will increase your market value as a freelance travel writer.

Strategy—start out writing short articles

By David Hammond 
In just about every endeavor, the best way to achieve success is to start small and gradually work up.

The beginning runner who wants to run a 10-kilometer race will start out going a short distance. Then, work up to a mile. Later, a 5k, and gradually up to a full 10k.

A novice musician who aspires to play in an orchestra will start out with beginner pieces. Then, intermediate works, and so on, until reaching the goal.

For a new writer with an eye on writing magazine feature and cover stories, the best way to start small and work up is to set out writing short articles and gradually work up to longer pieces.

The query letter—an introduction for aspiring freelance travel writers

By David Hammond

A “query letter” is a formal letter you send to an editor to propose an article idea and yourself as the one to write it. It’s traditionally one typed page or 500 words, plus or minus.

Writing an effective query letter is vital to breaking in, especially with more competitive publications.

Many editors give the query letter more weight than samples of published work when sizing up a writer.

Freelance travel journalists--5 ways to maximize your writing income

By David Hammond

For many, freelance journalism (writing articles for websites, newspapers, and magazines) is an ideal second career.

The amount of money you can make as a freelance travel journalist varies. Like many freelance careers, the starting pay is often low (or non-existent), but, can go up significantly once you become established.

However, earning more isn’t something that happens automatically with the passage of time. A little strategy helps.

For that reason, I’d like to share the following tried-and-true ways to maximize your freelance article-writing income.

Three ways to launch your freelance travel writing career on a tight budget

By David Hammond

Compared to most small businesses, the tools and supplies needed to break into travel writing are inexpensive and readily available.

And once you build a good reputation with editors as a freelancer (or a lot of blog traffic as a travel blogger) travel perks will likely come your way.

But until, then, how do you, as a newbie travel writer, get access to travel destinations?