Atavist platform

February 26, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Aja Frost at Contently tells us about the powerful Atavist platform, a content management platform that’s “like Squarespace for longform stories, allowing you to drag and drop various elements like you were building an article with LEGO blocks.”

With the ability to embed images, add pull quotes, and include custom interactive maps, this platform lets you publish digital storytelling projects that look very professional. The paid version also lets you brand your work and include a paywall, potentially monetizing your content.


I’ve been using a Zoom Handy Recorder H4n audio recorder and Sony ECM-MS907 microphone to record interviews for the travel podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer.

But when I travel, I like to carry as little gear as possible, so I asked fellow travel writer, Dick Jordan (Tales Told from the Road), who shoots video with his iPhone, about using my iPhone instead of my (heavier, bulkier) Zoom. Here is Dick’s incredibly detailed and well-thought-through response — which he has allowed me to share.

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.

Highway1Discovery Susan Hartzler of Mental Marketing invites you to visit the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route and share info about family reunions. Must have at least 50K UVPM. Here’s her open letter:

Are you interested in visiting the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route and getting paid? We are looking for one good blogger with at least 50k UVPM to visit this beautiful place and write about family reunions. Featuring 10 destinations along the breathtaking Central Coast of California in San Luis Obispo County, the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route is an affordable place for multigenerational vacations or family reunions.

What do editors of Yahoo Travel, National Geographic Intelligent Traveler, and two airline magazines want to see in their inbox? And what annoys them to death? reports on Travel Writing 2.0 from the NATJA Conference in Puerto Vallarta this past spring. (The next NATJA conference will be in Oxnard, California April 4-7, 2016.)

Find out what these editors had to say:

  • Paula Froelich – Yahoo Travel Executive Editor
  • Leslie Trew Magraw – National Geographic Intelligent Travel Managing Editor
  • Jacquelyne Froeber – Celebrated Living Editor-in-Chief and American Way Executive Editor

TheFreelancerContently’s The Freelancer published this list of rates paid to freelance writers and photographers. It is not limited to “travel” publications per se, but then, neither are travel writers—so here you go.

SanFranciscoSeen any good books lately? A book trailer is a short video posted on the Internet designed to help authors sell their work; PictureYourBook helps authors by creating short, effective, economical trailers.

Here are a couple of samples: With original music, photos and illustrations from the book, the charming trailer for Chronicles of Old San Francisco tells what this book of historical tales and walking tours is all about. And the Cut by Cut book trailer takes you into the world of entertainment and examines the art of film editing.

Both of the above books—as well as the trailers—are by Gael Chandler, author and film editor.

LiteraryRejectionsIf you’re submitting work, you’re getting rejections, and the website Literary Rejections contains just the inspiration you need to keep going. Here are some examples:

  • After 5 years of continual rejection, the writer finally lands a publishing deal: Agatha Christie. Her book sales are now in excess of $2 billion. Only William Shakespeare has sold more.
  • “Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” A rejection letter sent to Dr Seuss. 300 million sales and the 9th best-selling fiction author of all time.
  • 140 rejections stating “Anthologies don’t sell” until the Chicken Soup for the Soul series by Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen sells 125 million copies.

ZoziWriters Guidelines are here.

Someone once said we’re in the “memory making business”—we like that. We’re not about “escapes” and “getaways.” We’re about inspiring our readers to embrace life—preferably in a giant bear hug. From Everest Base Camp adventures to local cooking classes to tips on how to put on a wetsuit without looking like an idiot, we help people get away from their computers and out exploring the world.

Thanks to Cheryl McLaughlin for letting us know that Kevin Smokler’s is closing. We hope Kevin leaves his excellent ten-part series (“Everything you Wanted to Know about Book Promotion but were Afraid to Ask”) on the web as he moves on to other projects (his next book!)

In their quest to blanket the world with superior apps, Sutro Media is looking for expert authors for the following European destinations. If you’re an expert on any of these areas, get in touch with acquisitions editor Kim Grant.

England: Most regions (but specifically Cornwall, Devon, Kent, Cambridge, Oxford, Yorkshire, Bristol); London.

Wales: Cardiff.

Scotland: general country guide, and Glasgow.

Ireland: general country guide, and Dublin, Belfast, County Cork, County Wicklow, County Galway, County Kerry, Northern Ireland.

Norway: general country guide, and Oslo, Bergen, fjords.

general country guide, and Stockholm.

Finland: general country guide, and Helsinki.

Thanks to travel writer Dick Jordan (Tales Told from the Road) for his review of the App Happy class Suzanne Rodriguez and I (Laurie McAndish King) taught for people who want to develop and market their own mobile travel apps. We developed so much content for the class that we’re nearly finished with an an e-book on the same topic.


I met Teresa LeYung Ryan at the Bay Area Travel Writers meeting on Saturday, and had a few minutes to look through her 100-page workbook, Build Your Writers’ Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and media Attention NOW. It looks like a good resource; let me know what you think if you’ve read/used it.

In Full Sail University’s New Media Journalism program, “your curriculum combines principles of traditional journalism with the newest advances in communication technology … learn how to enhance your narratives  through multimedia content, distribute stories  across digital delivery platforms, and use social  media to engage with audiences.”

Specialized courses include:

  • Writing for Interactive Media
  • Multimedia Development & Editing
  • Mobile Technology and Communications
  • Online Community Engagement
  • PR and Reputation Management

Accredited, looks interesting.

Phyllis Stoller extends an invitation to qualified journalists, bloggers who cover spas, and women’s lifestyle and budget travel writers for two press trips to the Ixtapan Spa Hotel and golf Resort in Mexico. Dates are October 18-22 or Nov 18-23, 2010.

“Ixtapan Spa Hotel and Golf Resort,, is located 65 miles SW of Mexico City and 35 miles from Toluca, Mexico in the mountain village of Ixtapan de la Sal. It is a 220-room spa and fitness resort known for value and inclusiveness. We have been featured in budget travel, spa, women’s lifestyle and fitness press.

Amphitheater made from recycled automobilesSuzie Rodriguez and I (Laurie McAndish King) are developing an iPhone app about the San Francisco Waterfront. We’re having great fun doing this “work” as we write about some of our favorite places and discover hidden gems. One of my favorites so far is the public amphitheater pictured here; it’s made from recycled automobile hoods!

We expect the app to be available in a month or so; in the meantime, here’s a link to the Facebook page we set up to let people know what we’re up to and gather ideas about the best places to include. We’d sure appreciate it if you’d visit the page and “like” us. Thanks!

From Saul Tarasoff at GPS My City: We’re about to launch a new travel article section on our website and are willing to pay authors $50 apiece for quality articles outlining the use of smart phone travel apps.

Here’s a blog post listing 10 publications for your travel writing; it includes contact and submission info, current as of early July, 2010.

The Spice Necklace cover imageHere’s a press release from Conran PR that’s an example of inspired marketing: an author and a resort have teamed up to offer a themed “package” experience in the Caribbean. I hope the promotion is a big success:

Create A “Foodoir”  Of Your Own at Cap Maison
“The Spice Necklace Experience” Package

Thanks to Lee Foster for explaining the economics of selling mobile applications compared with selling (traditional, paper) books in his article, Apps – the Future of Travel Journalism? Here’s an excerpt:

“Royalty rates for authors of apps are much higher than for authors of books, and for good reason. The deal is that I get 30% of the gross income from my $1.99 app sale, or 60 cents. I am told that this is roughly typical of the app world—30% each to the author, developer, and Apple store, with 10% going to admin. For my book, I have a 15% of net rate, which is good and possibly a little high. So, for selling two apps for $3.98, I get $1.19. For a sale of my $14.95 book, my royalty is 15% net, and the book will probably be discounted 55% to sell on Amazon or through a distributor. My royalty for that sale is $1.01.”

March 15, 2010

5-reasonsBootsnAll is looking for for travel writers. Apply by March 15:

We’re excited to launch the BootsnAll Travel Writer platform — a partnership with passionate travel writers to create expert-driven content on your favorite destinations and topics.

BootsnAll Travel Writer Current Opportunities:

* Destinations: Amsterdam, Australia, France, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Las Vegas, London, Mexico, South Africa, or you tell us!
* Themes: Adventure Travel, Business Travel, Round the World Travel, TEFL, Travel Gear or you tell us!

How It Works:

voluntarytravelerThe Voluntary Traveler “is a travel anthology penned by writers from all over the world. Focused on inspiring volunteer vacations and/or encouraging adventure-minded people to see volunteer work as a part of ones longer journey, the book will also include a volunteer guide section, listing charities needing volunteer assistance, plus organizations that coordinate service orientated travel.”

What a great idea! Join their Facebook page, buy the book, tell your friends.

ErinVHere’s a link to author Erin Van Rheenen’s article (follow the link for the entire article, posted October 27) with a tip on how to get paid to blog:

“AOL Travel is hiring Travel Bloggers in around 25 different cities and areas, including Las Vegas, New York, Rome, Amsterdam, and San Francisco. You need to live in the destination you’ll be writing about, have writing experience and insider knowledge of your beat, and be able to churn out a few posts a day (150 – 300 words each). Pay starts at $15/post.”

Lots of us are blogging these days, and many of us are not certain why we are doing it. Scott Rosenberg spoke at the last Left Coast Writers Literary Salon from his new book, Say Everything, about the history of blogging (which is ten years old, in its current form!). Reviewers call the book “elegantly accessible” and “certain to be a classic.”

Scott also provided some insight into the future of blogging. Here are some of my notes from his talk:

One of the reasons blogging is important is because writing in public—blogging—helps us develop ideas. [Blogging is a particularly good medium for that because of its immediacy and democracy.]

What defines a blog?
Generally, it’s 1) personal, it 2) has lots of outbound links, and 3) the latest post is on “top.” (No interminable internal editorial meetings to determine which story will be the lead.)

Is blogging going to go away?

Is it going to change?

If you missed Tim Cahill in conversation with Don George at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference last week, you can catch up with this link. It took a long time to load, and I had to watch a 12-second commercial for Charmin Ultra Soft tissue before the main feature began, but after that it was excellent.

The whole video is an hour and twenty minutes, but it’s conveniently split up into about 30 shorter clips that are each only a few minutes long.

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