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Dear Reader,

If you believe that it’s too hard to be a travel writer these days and that you can’t do it… then you simply won’t.

But if you embrace the opportunities that truly abound, then you can find success beyond your imagination. Take reader Judy Hazel. Judy took a river cruise in the Netherlands, penned an article, pitched it to her local paper, and landed a regular paid column. She’ll tell you how she did it below…

Judy is only one reader among the dozens who wrote in last month with stories about places they visited and articles they published. We interviewed a lot of them, and many are first-time writers. They let us in on some great tips they learned along the way, too.

This week, I’ll share my favorite interviews with you.

Stay tuned to hear from the first-time travel writer who won first-place for his story about Chernobyl in a popular British magazine… the charity worker who documented and published a cover story on his 17-country car trip from the U.S. to Mongolia… the woman who visited Oman, spent a day writing, and published THREE separate stories in 40+ Travel and Leisure, International Living, and her local newspaper, and won a “Best of 2009” award for her photo in an online travel site… and more.

— Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

Reader Success Series #1: How to submit a story and land a local column

Interview with travel writer Judy Hazel
By Bonnie Caton in Portland, OR

BONNIE: Judy, where did you go before writing your first travel article?

JUDY: A friend and I took a seven-night river cruise in The Netherlands called Dutch Dreams. This was my second river cruise. The first was on the Rhine River. I took the second because I found river cruising very pleasurable and the Dutch Dreams trip did not disappoint me.

BONNIE: Were you planning to write a story during your trip?

JUDY: I ordered the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program in February of 2008 and took the trip at the end of March. Even though I was only on the second installment of the course by the time I left, writing a story was in the back of my mind.

BONNIE: What was your article about?

JUDY: My article was about the “makings” of a river cruise: learning the history and experiencing the culture, seeing the flowers, the canals, and the windmills, living in a world of all things Dutch… plus the people you meet and the pleasure of being in your floating hotel.

BONNIE: Did you get published right away after you got back?

JUDY: Yes — my story was published that following May. I did not get paid that time. When I returned from my trip, our local paper asked for travel adventures from readers. So I wrote my story and they published it. Then, when I finished the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program a few months later, I approached the newspaper about writing a monthly travel column. I only had the one clip, so I sent a story I wrote as practice while completing the program about the Welland Canal in Ontario. They agreed and I signed a contract at $75 per month for 500 words.

BONNIE: That’s great — it must be fun to have a little extra income coming in every month and see your by-line in print, too. Do you have any tips for readers who might want to do the same?

JUDY: Here are my three tips for writers:

1. Submit locally at either newspapers or magazines 
2. Find a website that lists publications looking for writers, i.e.
3. Keep traveling and keep writing about those travels.

BONNIE: Thanks, Judy!

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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