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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Review: Travel Writing Secrets

Travel Writing Secrets is the latest in WCCL's range of products and courses for writers, which also includes my courses Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Quick Cash Writing.

The author of Travel Writing Secrets is Mel McIntyre, who has also written several other WCCL courses. It is provided on CD-ROM in the universal PDF format. It is therefore suitable for all computing platforms, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Travel Writing Secrets is password-protected, but that's only a minor inconvenience. Once you have opened it, you can print out all or any of the pages as you wish.

Like all WCCL products, Travel Writing Secrets is beautifully produced, and it has clearly been professionally written and edited. The main manual (I'll get to the bonus items later) is a substantial 220 pages long. It takes you through pretty much everything you need to know to get started as a travel writer. The content is well organised and crammed with useful, practical information. For example, in chapter two alone you will discover the three things travel articles MUST do, the seven types of travel article, and five secrets for gathering information for your articles.

Travel Writing Secrets also covers interviewing techniques, outlining and writing skills, and how to pitch ideas to editors. And it has in-depth advice on marketing your work, with details of large numbers of potential markets, mainly in the US and the UK. The market info, which is largely in a separate 'bonus' guide, includes website details (with links to contributors' guidelines where available) and unpublicised email addresses to which you can submit your queries. This is invaluable information; and obviously as the guide has just been published, it is currently bang up to date.

If I was to make one very small criticism, it is that Travel Writing Secrets is strongly orientated towards selling travel articles to newspapers and magazines. Nothing wrong with that, but I might like to have seen a little more about selling your work to travel companies, for their brochures and so on. This is referred to as a possibility in the manual, but no more. I'd also like to have seen more details about how you can get yourself invited on free press trips to exotic destinations by travel companies and their PR agencies. Well, I can dream, can't I?!

As well as the main manual, you get a range of bonuses. These include the markets guide I have already mentioned, a guide to writing query letters (the best way to get commissions), and a set of 'templates' that take you step by step through writing three different types of travel article. The latter would be great for beginners who are still feeling their way, though later on you might prefer to dispense with them or adapt them to your personal style.

Another bonus is a guide to taking travel photographs that sell. Obviously, your chances of selling a travel article will be much better if you can offer photos as well, and this bonus manual is packed with hints and tips on how to do this. It's all good stuff, although rather surprisingly it doesn't include any actual photographs!

Overall, Travel Writing Secrets gets my recommendation as a comprehensive introduction to the exciting world of travel writing. Just about everything you need to know is here, written in a chatty, entertaining style, with real-life examples to back up the points made. If travel writing appeals to you, I'd recommend ordering a copy today. Your first commission should cover the modest sale price several times over.

BONUS! Readers of this blog seem to like my special bonuses, so I'm offering one for Travel Writing Secrets as well. I've been able to source a half-hour downloadable video that explains how you can make money from your digital photos, even if - like me - you're far from being an expert photographer. The video reveals a range of websites that will let you make money from ANY photo (with a few obvious exceptions), as well as setting out some ingenious strategies for putting your photographic skills to profitable use.

The video has been produced to a high standard by an Internet marketer called Dr. C, and I have had to pay a fee to get the rights to it. However, it seemed to me an excellent match with Travel Writing Secrets, as it sets out a range of extra ways you can profit from your travel photos (and any others you take).

I'm giving away the video to anyone buying Travel Writing Secrets via a link in this review. It will play on your computer in the free Windows Media Player, and also includes a text file with URLs for all the sites referred to in the video (and other useful links). To claim this extra bonus from me, just forward a copy of your email receipt showing the purchase of Travel Writing Secrets to (change the -at- to the usual @ sign). I will then get back to you with instructions for downloading your extra bonuses. Of course, these are in addition to the usual bonuses being offered at the Travel Writing Secrets website.

Good luck, and happy travel writing!

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Anonymous Jasko said...

This should be interesting, thanks for sharing. I was working for a huge cruise company for 4 years and I have been to more than 60 countries. I was planing to start some kind of blog about it, recalling some notes and many any photos. I am sure that this book has a lot to say about that.

7:54 PM  

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