This was an Interview I gave to www.whereslisa.com about travel writing and social media.
3. There has been lots of commentary in the press recently about the demise of the traditional career of the writer (e.g.http://www.theguardian.
Whilst it is harder to earn decent and regular money from traditional magazine commissions, I believe that the rise of the self-publishing industry has made travel writing more meritocratic than ever. You are no longer at the whim of a publisher whose desk is groaning with prospective manuscripts. Anyone, today, can publish a book on Amazon and sell it worldwide. If the book is good and if you are good at marketing (a massive ‘if’), then you can succeed, whoever you may be.
5. What feedback have you received for any pieces that have been rejected for publication? And similarly, what reasons have you been given for pieces that have been accepted for publication?
My cycling round the world manuscript was generally deemed to be ‘unoriginal’ – Bill Bryson had cornered the ‘travel’ market and Lance Armstrong had sewn up the ‘cycling’ market. So who needs a story from a non-famous person about spending 4 years travelling round the world on a bike…!? My latest book – Microadventures was accepted by Harper Collins because it was ‘original’, ‘relevant’ and captured the ‘zeitgeist’ (whatever that may be!). I think they are probably three useful things to aspire to with anyone’s manuscript.
6. What advice would you give to any aspiring travel writer?
Do it because you love travel. Do it because you love writing. Be prepared to market yourself hard. Assume that for several years (at least), or until you get a big break, that you will need to supplement your income some other way. I would encourage people to start blogging, and to do so in an untapped niche. “A Travel Blog” is too vague, at least at first. Do you travel by bike? Do you travel to Muslim countries or Christian pilgrimage sites? Do you visit every bar in a city? Do you write reviews of coffee shops? Be unique, be specific, be persistent.