If you�re just starting out, you may be going somewhere as part of your yearly holiday. In these circumstances you�re probably heading to a relatively popular destination rather than doing something quirky (such as living with Sherpas in the Himalayas for a month).
This is not a problem as it will force you to become innovative in the way you create the story, a good habit to get into.
If you take any one thing away from this guide,. We can�t overstate this enough - since every location on Earth has been written about before, your subject matter should not stop at the location alone. An innovative piece on something as common as shopping in New York City is more saleable than another report from the Everest base camp.
Once you�ve got a killer proposal lined up, reach out and touch someone. Write up a succinct email outlining your story, which should show off your communication and research skills and give the prospective editor something they can�t refuse. Don�t rely on formulaic query letters - creativity is no bad thing. Remember that your email will be one among many that land on the editor�s desk, so really make it sing (you�re a writer, so this shouldn�t be a problem!)
Send this to any publications which you genuinely feel would benefit from your work. You may not hear back; if you sent your query long in advance of your trip, fire off a friendly email reminding them you�re about to go.
Hopefully you�ll get a taker before you even get on the plane, but if not you�ll be able to come back with something more concrete to offer. Don�t be afraid to contact non-responders once more to let them know you�re back and the article is still up for grabs.
Some great tips for writing that job-winning query can be found here. Don�t make the mistake of pinching things verbatim as it won�t do anyone any favors.
So, you�ve got a rough outline of what you�ll be covering and you may even have the piece sold already. What�s next? Time to tackle the travel part of �travel writing�.
Once you are at the location, take as many photos, videos and notes as possible. Don�t rely on your memory for anything - you�ll find when you get back home and start writing that you can never have enough supporting material. There are some great slim-line HD camcorders on the market, which are good value for money and make worthwhile investments (as do underwater cameras if you plan on scuba or snorkel activities).
There are no general rules on how to go about your trip as circumstances will vary massively, but increase your chances of getting good material by getting out of your comfort zone.
When you get back, write up your notes as soon as you get back. Even if your first draft isn�t up to much it�s important to get the salient points down while they are fresh in your mind. After you�ve got a draft complete that you�re happy with, leave it for a couple of days before coming back for more changes with fresh eyes.
As for making sure the article itself rocks,
Unless you were successful in step two, the time will come where you�d like to make a bit of cash off the back of your hard work. It�d be foolish to have missed out the market research stage before going on the trip, so you should have a few places in mind to pitch to.
One of the common rules with sending material is thechestnut; that is, submitting your article to a number of editors for their consideration. We say forget that - if you had to query only one publication at a time before the article got sold, you�d be at it for years. We don�t suggest blindly sending out form queries and you should always express why your work will benefit that publication in particular, but that said it�s your article and you have the right to sell it to who you please. If an editor waits three months before responding and is disappointed to find out that you�ve sold it in the mean time, that�s hardly your fault.
On the (very rare) occasion that two editors do come back to you interested in the same piece, turn it into a positive: mention to one (whoever offers the least money) in a friendly manner that the article has since been sold, but perhaps they would be interested in covering topic X on the same location? Even if nothing comes of it, you�ll have made a contact for the future.