How to pitch

August 3, 2017 | Leave a Comment

On Travel, Write, Earn, James Durston interviews Lola Akinmade Åkerström—photographer and author—on how to pitch a travel article. “Lola put together 87 pitches during 2016,” Durston writes, “with a 43% success/assigned rate.” Here’s her analysis of assignments, rejections, and everything in between.

Those are impressive results, as one would expect from a writer disciplined and generous enough to keep track of all her own stats, analyze them, and share what she learned. Thanks, Lola!

Taking a break….

April 24, 2016 | Comments Off on Taking a break….

Dear Travel Writing Friends,

My current labor of love is a new book, which I’m very excited about. Like Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive!, it’s a collection of true stories of travel around the world. Because I need time to focus on that project, I won’t be updating Travel Writers News for awhile.

In the meantime, please feel free to continue to access the information here; some of it continues to be useful. And thanks for your interest and enthusiasm!

With warmest wishes,

Laurie McAndish King

Thanks to Michael Shapiro (travel writer, editor, photographer and interviewer) for letting us know that George Stone has been named the new Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler. This is excellent news. I met George in New Zealand when he was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Travel Classics Conference, and was very impressed with his vision. Follow George on Twitter @travelersstone.

George Stone

George Stone

Here’s an interview at Skift in which George Stone talks about the kinds of stories he plans to run, his priorities, and the role National Geographic Traveler plays in the context of worldwide travel media.

headphonesMeagan Francis at Contently gives us the basics on podcasting: How much technical ability is required, how much time and money a new podcaster needs to invest, and how much money you can make from podcasting.

Farley-at-BPIn this podcast from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference I interview David Farley, travel writer and author of An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town. Farley tells us how he researched his book — the true story of his search for a unique holy relic, the foreskin of Jesus, which went missing from an Italian church under mysterious circumstances. Irreverent Curiosity(Check out the National Geographic special about Farley and his search for the holy foreskin.)

ShakespeareLooking for a travel writing subject with a news hook? Smithsonian magazine lists ten destinations with related anniversaries in 2016, from the Folger Shakespeare Library  (2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death) to Carnegie Hall (2016 is its 125th year) to America’s national parks and monuments (the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary in August).

BATW-TFP coverBy the way, Bay Area Travel Writers offers a free download of their new 4-color publication, Travel Features and Photos: California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores and Historic Sites.

 

 

DonGeorgeinAfrica“Truly great stories succeed in extracting meaning from the everyday,” said Don George at National Geographic‘s Intelligent Travel. “They are also the record of two corresponding journeys: a journey in the outer world and a journey in the inner world. And the travel writer’s story is built upon the interplay between these worlds and journeys.” This article is an opportunity to learn about storytelling from a master.

find-me-unafraid-cover“Jessica Posner grew up a middle-class American in Denver. She hadn’t seen much of the world, and when she had an opportunity to study overseas she chose to do political theater work in Kenya. Jessica ended up living in a slum with no streets, no toilets, no running water, no electricity and no public services. Then she got malaria.”

I recently had the opportunity to learn more about this remarkable young woman, who went on to transform Africa’s largest urban slum and change the lives of many of its residents. Read more in the article I wrote about Jessica for The Women’s Eye.

Global Adventure

January 25, 2016 | Leave a Comment

LifeisaTripTravel writers Judith Fein and Paul Ross have some wonderful photography on their site, Global Adventure. While you’re visiting, check out Judith’s book, Life is a Trip.

The National Park Service turns 100 in 2016, and San Francisco’s Bay Area Travel Writers have joined the celebration with a new publication: Travel Features and Photos: California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores, and Historic Sites.

The full-color 128-page magazine-style publication covers both world-famous properties like Yosemite, Carmel Mission, and Hearst Castle and lesser-known gems like Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House, Little Petroglyph Canyon, and the Empire Mine.

It’s a terrific publication — with fascinating articles and beautiful photography — that will inspire your travels in California. (I may be biased; I contributed to the content with articles about viewing bald eagles in Klamath and strolling among the many national historic sites along the San Francisco waterfront.)

Don George in BurgundyIt may be cold outside, but you can relive the sultry days of summer by listening to recordings from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. I’ll be publishing a series of them in coming weeks on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer.

I enjoyed interviewing conference faculty such as Jim Benning, Janis Cooke Newman, David Farley, Jeff Greenwald, Catherine Karnow, Paul Lasley, and others, and am excited to share our conversations. And I’m always happy to help promote the conference, which I’ve attended more than once, and love.

Bohr-in-ItalyListen in as I interview author Marianne Bohr about her book, Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer Adventure Across 21 Countries. We discuss planning an epic trip, logistics, personal safety, and more on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on NPR.org.

JeffGreenwaldListen in as I interview travel writer Jeff Greenwald; we discuss ethical travel, travel writing, science fiction, and more on the to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on NPR.org.

Jeff Greenwald, co-founder of Ethical Traveler, has published six travel books, and is an instructor at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers conference. Join Laurie McAndish King, Associate Producer for the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer as she talks with Greenwald. He shares the creation of the Ethical Traveler, inspired by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and its impact on issues ranging from the Tasmanian logging industry to the Cambodian sex-slave trade.

© Laurie McAndish King

I interviewed travel writing guru Don George at the Commonwealth Club of California on October 7th.

Don discussed what the day-to-day life of a travel writer is like, how to approach travel as a pilgrimage, traveling to sensitive places that need to be preserved, the cultural effects travelers have on the places they visit, how best to visit areas that are politically volatile, how travel writing enhances the experience of travel, and figuring out the meaning of life.

Surprises in China

November 23, 2015 | Leave a Comment

map of ChinaTravelers Joan Hall and Lenny Karpman visited eight Chinese cities on their own in September. They found it easy to get around (even though they don’t speak Chinese), comfortable, and relatively inexpensive. People were friendly and looked well nourished. Lenny provides details of the trip and lets us in on his favorite Chinese snack in this open letter:

AudioThanks to Karen Misuraca for this link to an International Journalists Network article by Jessica Weiss about audio recording tools. Weiss gives us a rundown on the pros and cons of Google Voice, Free Conference Call, TapeaCall, RecordMyCall, and other popular apps, services, and devices.

WildernessTravelBerkeley-based Wilderness Travel is looking for an experienced (3+ years) full-time copywriter and editor. Office hours are 8:30 to 5:00, M-F.  Download more details and application info here.

October 18, 2014
10:00 amto2:00 pm
BATW-SepcialEventBay Area Travel Writers presents an event open to the public from 10:00 to 2:00 on Saturday, Oct 18, 2014. Money: Making It in Travel Journalism will include a keynote talk from Kim Grant, focused roundtables on various topics, lunch, and a tour of the deYoung Museum. The modest fee for all that is just $16 for BATW members, or $25 for non-members.
Kim Grant is a:

  • Travel acquisitions editor for travel apps & book publisher
  • Travel journalist and the author of 45 travel guides
  • New media consultant, website strategist, and photographer

Wilmer and King 450Join us on Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, the Lowell Thomas Award winning podcast featured weekly on NPR.org. Tom visits with me (your humble editor, Laurie McAndish King, also a Lowell Thomas gold award winner) as I talk about my new book, Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive and read selected passages—including ones about being eaten alive by leeches, taste-testing the world’s most expensive coffee, and undergoing an unusual healing experience in Bali.

Afterwards, Tom showed me how he edited out my ums and uhs, clipped out dead air space, adjusted the volume (I was trying to eat the mike), added killer background music, and worked other magic to make me sound pretty darned good. Now I’m hooked on audio production.

From , here are ten tips. “With just a little time and preparation, you can ensure your house is safe and sound while you are basking on the beach or exploring hillside castles.” One I hadn’t thought of involves adjusting your land-line phone.

“And most of all, don’t broadcast across social media that you are away. We all love to see those photos, but wait until you are back to post them. Unscrupulous thieves can pick off vacationing home owners by trolling through social media sites.”

ExpeditionGrantedRemember the National Geographic Expedition Granted contest? Submissions are in, and the public is invited to vote (up until September 29) to decide which project will win the $50,000 grant. There’s a wide range to choose from, including:

  • Bringing bio-toilets to areas in need, to improve health and foster local businesses.
  • Encouraging Americans to share bone marrow in a quest to change outcomes for people with cancer.
  • Improving educational opportunities for girls around the world.
  • Mapping a volcanic conduit system with a wall-climbing robot.
  • Unlocking the secrets of bioluminescence to further research in technology and medicine.
September 19, 2014toSeptember 20, 2014
Oktobrofesto enirejo (Creative Commons)

Oktobrofesto enirejo (Creative Commons)

In a special for USA Today Travel, Sharon McDonnell tells us where to celebrate Octoberfest around the U.S. and in San Francisco, where “Munich brewery Spaten presents this festival on September 19-21. A 21-piece Bavarian band from Chico and the Deutscher Musikverein of the Bay Area will entertain, and exhibits on the Bay Area’s German history will be displayed.”

DonGeorge4TonyWheeler2It was such fun to hear Don George and Tony Wheeler in conversation at the 23rd annual Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers conference in August. Here are a few highlights from the opening event:

Don George nominating Maureen and Tony Wheeler for the Nobel Peace Price, because they have transformed the way travelers engage with the world. “It’s gonna happen.”

TWheelerNobel

How the practice of travel writing gives us

Don George 8-15Don “Wanderlust” George, Conference Chair at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, left us with some parting thoughts as the conference closed on Sunday, August 17th (these short recordings were edited for length).

Celebrating our passion, generosity, wisdom, and wanderlust:

DonGeorgeWanderlust

The world is a classroom:

DonGeorge-Classroom

Life is a sacred pilgrimage:

DonGeorgePilgrimage

Thanks, Don, instructors, and our friends at Book Passage, for another wonderful conference!

PanioloCongratulations to Constance Hale—her piece about Hawaii’s paniolos was posted on TED.

So much has disappeared from the islands of my childhood. Will the paniolo be next?

“My infatuation with Hawaiian cowboys began on O‘ahu’s North Shore, a quiet district enlivened by big waves and show-off surfers. On Sundays we country kids would sneak to a rugged polo field laid out parallel to the beach. We’d ogle the Honolulu high society gathered under big white tents — men in navy sport coats and women in high heels, who’d sip champagne while they watched the matches. Prince Charles played there, and some jet-setting Argentines, but the polo players we rooted for were paniolos. They’d come from Maui and the Big Island, and they’d wield their mallets like ancient Hawaiians did their spears.” Read the rest of the article here

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  • Winner of 4 Literary Awards in 2017

    Lost Kidnapped Eaten Alive!Order your copy of Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive from Book Passage, and I'll be happy to sign it.
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