I sent article queries out to several well-established in-print magazines about a California mining town with a fascinating history. Little did I expect that, within 24 hours, two of those magazines would eagerly accept the story. (Travel writing success can happen a lot quicker than you might think.)
Within 12 hours, one editor responded, “I really like the idea and great that you have good images.” The first magazine was one I had not previously written for. This was a well-respected magazine and I was thrilled at the opportunity.
A few hours later, a second magazine editor, one I had worked with before, enthusiastically answered with “This sounds like a great story! Feel free to submit it to me with photos when you’re ready.”
I sat there re-reading the email in disbelief. Two great magazines. One I could get my foot in the door with. The other, an editor I’d established a great relationship with on a previous story. I was on the horns of a dilemma-and I knew it.
This is where attending the 2014 Travel Writer’s Weekend in San Diego saved the day!
The Facebook site for that event enabled me to immediately reach out to seasoned writers and editors who presented at our conference and could offer possible solutions.
Since the editor of the first magazine responded initially to my query and I had already accepted, it was appropriate to go with this magazine. I emailed the editor of the second magazine and explained that, unfortunately, the article had already been taken. However, based upon the sage advice of my more experienced colleagues, I offered the editor of the second magazine a choice — I could revamp the story for her magazine with a much different slant…or offer her first dibs on my next story, as long as she responded within a week to that query.
She took the first option since she was familiar with my work and believed the story a great fit for her magazine. Not to be outdone, she pounced on option 2 as well, desiring a future story at any given time, promising that if I gave her right of first refusal, she would respond within the agreed upon timeframe.
Pinch me, is this really happening?
Though I admit I’m still a rookie travel writer on a voyage of discovery, I learned two valuable lessons in this writer’s dilemma. First, relationships with editors are crucial. Write a good story, deliver on time, be honest and fair, and you’ll build goodwill. Secondly, if you’re unsure how to proceed in a situation, don’t be afraid to ask for expert advice. You are never alone. You’re part of a professional network. This is one of the many values of Great Escape Publishing’s programs.