The Baltimore Sun’s Travel Editor called in January with some fantastic news–they were planning to run a short essay and photo I submitted to them. My piece and 4×6 photo ran on Sunday, February 20th!
I’d recently returned from an eight-month around the world trip. I had tons of stories to share; yet I couldn’t find an audience. I’d been having no luck breaking in with the large travel periodicals like Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and Departures. I moved on to newspapers, but as a novice freelancer, I suspected the large NY papers such as the New York Times wouldn’t give my work even a polite glance.
I formulated a new strategy, deciding to start small and think local.
I’m originally from Maryland, a small Mid-Atlantic state. I did some Internet research to obtain the names and e-mail addresses of travel editors of the local Maryland papers. Then, I enlisted my mom’s help. She is a Real Estate Agent and subscribes to three Maryland newspapers. She sent me the travel sections from each of them for my research.
I read all of the papers each week to get a feel for the writing style and to get to know the editors. Over a five-month period of time, I sent about a half-dozen ideas to various travel editors. One finally hit the mark – a story about a desert safari in Egypt. Bruce Friedberg, the Travel Editor at The Baltimore Sun called me with the good news.
The Baltimore Sun was a natural fit. I grew up reading The Sun — my high school lacrosse and soccer scores were covered in the sports section and I was dedicated to collecting my clippings. I have a good knowledge of their readers and the paper’s content.
This job paid $150, and I was more thrilled with the clipping. I was able to get my work in front of 450,000 readers. My parents were thrilled with the bragging rights they obtained that weekend – I think circulation may have spiked that Sunday!
Since then, I’ve landed a few more travel articles. It’s easier to get your foot in the travel market door with a quality newspaper clip attached to your query.
My advice: Don’t forget your roots when looking for possible markets – a hometown connection is a wonderful thing. Play the numbers, get as many pieces out as you can and keep plugging away!
Nicole Feliciano is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been featured in Yoga4Everybody Magazine, Budget Travel Magazine, and Travel Internaturally. Learn more about her writing at: http://www.mediabistro.com/NicoleFeliciano.