This Reader Just Landed a Free Trip and a By-line. You Can, Too.

We’ve been talking a lot about stock photography over the last few weeks, so this week I’d like to switch gears and talk about another market where you can sell your photos and travel stories and make a few hundred dollars from each…

I’m talking about editorial photography. That is, selling your photos and stories to glossy magazines.

It’s fun to see pictures of your trip and stories with your by-line in the glossy pages of a magazine. But the best part -- in addition to the paychecks -- is that there’s a simple formula to follow to break in.

We’re going to talk more about that later today when I introduce our new package -- Sell Your Photos to Magazines: The Complete Quick-Start Toolkit.

In the meantime, scroll down to read just how easy it was for reader Steve Carr, who got his first story and photos published in a magazine for tour operators just this past month…

-- Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

October 7, 2010
The Right Way to Travel


Interview with AWAI Member, Steve Carr
By Bonnie Caton in Portland, OR

When Steve Carr landed a seven-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Peru to learn about sustainable tourism efforts, he was ecstatic. But seeing his travel article published in Travel World News after the trip was icing on the cake

One of the recurring lessons in this e-letter is that articles tailored to specific publications sell better than generic articles written without a publication in mind.

Steve capitalized on that bit of advice and it paid off. Here’s his story…

BONNIE: Steve, could you tell us how you got into travel writing and photography?

STEVE: I have always been interested in photography and writing, but after a brief stint with a photo studio years ago, I pursued another career. During that period, I transitioned to digital and did travel photography mostly for personal enjoyment. Now, 30 years later, as I pursue the things I enjoy most in life for fun and profit, I have dedicated myself to photography and travel. And I want to do more writing so I can combine all three into a meaningful and rewarding endeavor.

Some time back, I came across AWAI and have followed the organization ever since. I find the articles, tips, and overall approach energizing and inspiring. I decided that I would add writing to my travel and photography and find a market for my work.

BONNIE: What was your press trip like?

STEVE: The trip was fantastic! We visited Lima, Puerto Maldonaldo deep in the Amazon jungle, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu. Participants represented seven countries from around the globe and included 10 tour operators, three photographers, and two journalists.

Highlights included standing in awe at a precipice overlooking Machu Picchu, finding great photo opportunities in the back streets and alleyways of Cuzco, traveling by motorized dugout canoe deep into the remote Amazon jungle, freezing in our tracks to the sound of a blood-chilling roar as we hiked in the pre-dawn darkness of the Amazon (we found out it was just the howler monkeys whose slumbers we had disturbed and not the ferocious night predators it sounded like), and last but not least, discovering that many lodges and tourist properties are committed to environmentally responsible and sustainable tourism practices.

BONNIE: How did you go about writing and pitching your article?

STEVE: While I was on the trip, I was thinking about what kind of articles I could write about the experience. I recalled the AWAI e-mails about reformatting or recasting the subject matter to fit different audiences and publications. And then I actually geared the article to the publication as I wrote it.

I knew that timing was essential, so I edited my photographs on the plane-ride home and began to draft the article. I posted the photos on my Picasa site and sent the article and link to two well-known tour industry publications.

One of them, Travel World News, picked it up immediately to run along with their coverage of a travel convention in the November issue.

BONNIE: Are you currently working on any other travel writing and/or photo projects?

STEVE: I’m currently working with the same material, putting together an article about one of the jungle lodges from the perspective of boutique, yet authentic, soft adventure (almost like glamping, but with more substance). And the conservation tie-in will be integral to the story.

I also have a third article in mind from the same trip that will tell the story of community-based tourism and how native ethnic groups are taking charge of the management and sometimes even ownership of tourism facilities like lodges and nature centers. I’m incorporating how these people help travelers understand and appreciate the natural environment and the lives and culture of the local tribe or ethnic group. As a tour operator, I’ve noticed that community-based tourism is becoming a major movement in the tour industry and provides lots of very interesting angles for writers and photographers.

BONNIE: Do you have any tips for readers who are interested in doing the same?

STEVE: Well, for me, the most important thing has been to follow my interests, then take action. Follow your dream. Get out there and make it happen. I would not have had the Peru experience if I had not immediately replied to the press trip offer. And keep learning, developing, and applying your skills.

BONNIE: Thanks, Steve!

I should mention, too, that press trips like the one Steve took aren’t just open to tour operators… as a travel writer or photographer, you can land spots on all-expenses-paid trips, too.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]