From pitch to published article - a behind the scenes look at travel writing

I recently received an email from a fellow writer saying they would love to see a post about freelance travel writing. More specifically, they wondered if I could share a timeline for what goes into getting a travel story commissioned. So I thought that rather than giving you an arbitrary timeline of what it generally looks like as a freelance travel writer, I’d pick a trip that I did last year to give you a sense of the time (and level of communication with editors and PRs) it takes from pitch to published article.

September - a month of ups and downs

September was a bit of a weird month – my press trips were all done, but I had 10 days away with my family at the end of the month. I thought I was being really clever by getting our car hire, some of our accommodation and experiences FOC (free of charge), but as you’ll see, I don’t think this was the smartest move. I also made some mistakes this month with new editors. Well, the one thing I can say is that I’m always learning.

Meet John Espirian - freelance technical copywriter and LinkedIn go-to man

If you’re a freelance writer who spends any time on LinkedIn or Twitter, you’re likely to have come across John Espirian. John is known as the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter for a reason - he always seems happy to help. A guru on all things LinkedIn and blog-related, John is generous with his advice (you don’t want to miss his top three tips for LinkedIn), so I was thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed for this Q & A.

The best (free and paid) tools for freelance writers

I am definitely not someone who nerds-out on the newest freelance writing apps or writers' organisational tools, but I have to say, there are a lot of super helpful (and easy to use) tools that can make a freelance writer's life so much easier. In this post I've rounded up the best tools I've found for freelance writers - I use them all and they have saved me time, money or a mental breakdown (and at times, all three). 

August - my month of press trips

It's hard to describe what a whirlwind August was - I spent the first week in Fiji, the second week at home, the third in Thailand, the fourth at home and the last week of the month in Vietnam. At the end of 2017 when I said I wanted to do more travel writing, I don't think I ever imagined a month like that! I went on three famils (press trips) in August, but I also attended the annual Australian Society of Travel Writers Conference in Thailand, which was incredibly worthwhile. 

How freelance writers can get the most out of a coaching session

In the last eight months, I have coached over 30 different freelance writers. I've worked with writers in person, over Skype, and from all over the world including Australia, the USA, France, the Philippines and Mexico. I wasn't 100 per cent sure about becoming a freelance writing coach, but it's become one of my favourite parts of the job. Many writers I coach aren't making the income they want, so I think it's imperative that if you are going to pay for professional support, that you get the most out of it. 

The 5 things that can help get a pitch across the line

What kind of success rate should freelance writers be aiming for when pitching editors? I got asked this question recently and it's not easy to answer because it depends on if you're sending pitches to editors you have a relationship with and the quality of your query letters. But I think if freelance writers get 60% of their pitches accepted they'd be doing exceptionally well. There's lots of advice out there about how to pitch, but there are five particular things I have found that freelance writers can do to help secure a commission.  

Meet Neha Kale - freelance writer, editor and delightful human

Long before I met Neha Kale at this year's Emerging Writers' Festival in person, I had read her work. I was full of admiration for her eloquent and evocative writing, and how Neha manages to master a range of styles, from personal essays to profiles and food articles. In person, Neha is just as her writing suggests - thoughtful, articulate, honest, passionate and willing to explore topics that rarely get highlighted in the mainstream media. I hope you enjoy this Q&A with Neha - it's one of my favourites.  

July - a quiet month before the storm

As each month passes I'm always amazed at how much can change within the space of four or so weeks. I purposefully started July slowly, because August is shaping up to be crazy busy. But somehow time always seems to speeds up towards the end of the month and before the end of July, I found myself madly finishing stories and receiving last minute commissions just days before I head overseas for my first international press trip. 

Meet Nikki Vargas - co-founder and editor-in-chief of Unearth Women

When I first heard about Unearth Women, a feminist travel magazine (in fact the first feminist travel publication), I loved the idea and wanted to know more about its co-founder and editor-in-chief, Nikki Vargas. As a travel editor and freelance journalist Nikki was perfectly positioned to see and act upon a gap in the market for a travel publication for women and by women. She said something that struck me as incredibly wise and pertinent for all freelance writers: "It’s not enough to have a fabulous idea, you need to have the means to set it in motion."

How to find content marketing clients who are under the radar

There’s a big divide in the world of freelance writing. There are so many organisations out there that are creating content and looking for freelance writers, or companies who want to create content, but don’t know where to find good writers. That’s where you come in. This post takes you through the best ways to identify potential content writing clients, who you may not have heard of before, but who have budgets and a need for freelance writers.

3 easy ways to get an editor's attention (without being obnoxious)

You know those images in movies where someone wins the jackpot on a poker machine and it’s spitting coins out everywhere? That’s exactly how I think of an editor’s inbox. No matter what they do, the emails keep on coming, piling up on top of each other. So how can freelance writers get noticed amongst all the digital noise, get an editor’s attention and ensure our emails get opened?

June - my income for the financial year and the month I got my cake

The last day of June marks the end of the financial year in Australia, and editors and clients are either putting a freeze on commissions or are hurriedly trying to spend their budget. I deliberately set my income target lower this month in an attempt to bring back some balance into my life, and for the most part, it worked. But happily, my invoice total for the month was the most it’s ever been. And if you've been following my blog over the past few months, you'll be glad to know I got my cake!  

What makes an editor say YES to a pitch?

There are lots of articles out there about how to pitch feature articles to magazine and newspaper editors, but recently I’ve been thinking about exactly what makes an editor say yes to a pitch. We all know that pitches usually need to include a timely, “newsy” angle or element, but recently I heard a podcast episode where an editor spoke about the two crucial elements in any publication. His advice made me sit up straight.

Meet Olivia Gagan - a super savvy freelancer

Olivia Gagan is the kind of writer that many people aspire to be - she's a full time freelancer living in London, having written for titles such as The Times, Psychologies and The New York Times. Olivia cut her teeth working as a journalist for trade media before making the decision to go full time as a freelancer. She transitioned to full time freelancing in such a smart way; by building up her savings, drawing on her existing networks, establishing boundaries and learning about running a business. I hope you enjoy the interview - there's absolute gold here.

The 5 things you must include in a content proposal

We've all heard that content is king. Nearly every business has a website and in order to creep up the Google rankings content needs to be updated regularly. Blog posts are an ideal way of doing that and many companies are looking for freelance writers and copywriters to pen their posts and other content, such as newsletters or EDMs. So what do you need to put in a proposal to give yourself the best chance of landing a content writing gig? 

May - a bumper month

I went into May after a busy April determined to take things easy - not send out too many pitches and dedicate some time to thinking about a creative project I could take on. The beauty of being a fairly established freelance writer is that work tends to flow in, but it's meant that I've found it hard to carve out non-work time. Despite this, I'm still feeling really positive about my writing and I've had an absolutely bumper month income-wise. 

Should freelance writers share contact details?

One of the qualities that is crucial for freelancers to have is generosity. I really believe that the 'soft' attributes of openness, kindness and big-heartedness are just as important as technical skills for freelance writers. I'm part of writing groups and communities that are incredibly generous - especially with sharing contact details for editors. But recently I've started thinking about what happens when writers and journalists don't source their own contacts.