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Planning to write a visual travel tour? Five tips…

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What’s a visual travel tour? See www.visualtraveltours.com for 100+ examples about great places to visit throughout the world.

Not only am I the editor for VTT, I just finished a submission about two of the best bike tours (on converted railroad beds) in Virginia. Which means that I just finished the same stuff that all of the other accepted writers must also do!

Did I gather up any tips, beyond submitting a dandy query letter to get the initial go-ahead and not researching or writing until the query is approved (since it’s sometimes modified to better fit our hands-on tour orientation)?

Tip 1: Closely study maps of the target area and lay out a walking (or driving) plan that includes the most interesting sites in a logical, replicable order. Assign a rough number of photos for each of the five or so sections of the tour, plus 10-12 photos (of the 90 max) for the introduction. The intro pix can be used once again, if necessary.

Tip 2: Read what others think are the most exciting or interesting places to see or things to do. Rather than seeking some revolutionary new approach, focus on giving the reader inside information or a better grasp of why they want to visit the locale, plus photos that beckon and illustrate.

Tip 3: Buy a background book or get a current one from the library, gather all the handouts possible, take full and legible notes, snap at least twice as many photos as you need (top magazine professionals often take a 20:1 ratio!), and review your photos on your digital camera. If they aren’t clear, colorful, and sharp, they probably won’t work for us either.

Tip 4: Lay out your copy first, a sentence or three max, per unit, then match your photos to that prose by number so together they speak to the reader. That will make your later submission a breeze.

Tip 5: At VTT (or wherever else you are submitting), read the how-to instructions fully, then follow them. We have a Provider Island format that is almost a fail-safe for successful submission. No reason to wonder about photo size, semicolons, how we handle dashes and hyphens, and more…

Why do I like visual travel tours? Because each is a great chance to research and write, earn $150 plus royalties upon acceptance, then requery other editors and use the material and visuals, restructured, again and again.

If this new travel outlet/angle interests you, send me a query.

You might also check my free monthly newsletter where I talk mostly about writing and publishing. (Or take a look at my brand new book if your want your own book in print free and quickly: How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days!  )

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

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“I never had time to write a book” she said…

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I had this endless dream last night that I was a one-man captive audience on a Southwest flight from Chicago’s Midway to San Francisco–precisely the flight I took last Wednesday, returning from a cycling week on converted railroad lines in southern Virginia with a gaggle of kin.  

My seat partner was an older woman who explained to me for four endless hours why she never had time to write a book. I think I asked her two or three questions. No doubt she thought that I too was unpublished.  

Reliving it when I woke up, I suspect she was the embodiment of a thousand people who have proudly told me the same lament. People with lots of experiences and knowledge and humor and good information. But instead of sharing that, they gloat that they never wrote a book!

The only question I remember asking my dreammate was “Why don’t you write one now?” Her answer was. “You know how long it takes to write a book?” Which set her off again telling me why she couldn’t do it. 

The world is full of people who will never write a book—or anything. Bless them. But not doing it isn’t a virtue nor is it worthy of sharing, any more than my boring them for hours telling why I never flew an airplane or learned to play bridge.

What I wanted to say to her was that anybody who is literate can write a book–yet I never met a book writer who who had the time to do it. They made or found the time.

I just feel sad for the thousands of people who might have benefited from the book she didn’t write.

Next time, in my dreams, I’ll try to sit next to a person who wrote a terrible book but did it with great joy! Then we’ll have something to share!

Gordon Burgett

P.S. If you did write a book, or will, you might be interesting in my 39th, just out in bound format. It’s called How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days.

I also babble monthly, free, in a newsletter about book writing and empire-building at www.gordonburgett.com/free-reports.

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