Review: The Ultimate Travel Writer's Course

Review by: Nick Usborne

 

When I was sent a review copy of this course, I started going through it with my usual objective, critical mindset. As with any other course, I wanted to see how useful it was and how strongly I felt I could recommend it. Or not.

 

Then a strange thing happened. My viewpoint began to shift.

 

Here's what started going through my mind...

"Hey, this is something *I* want to do. This is fascinating."

I even stopped reading for a while and emailed my girlfriend about it. Suddenly I was excited by the prospect of making some money as a travel writer.

 

Over the last 25 years as a commercial writer and copywriter I have written on all kinds of subjects, but have never paid much attention to travel writing.

The closest I came was three or four years ago, when I was handed the keys to a beautiful suite in a Georgetown hotel in Washington, DC...in exchange for writing a 250 word review for a travel web site.

That was a pretty nice deal. But a one-off event. Maybe I should have tried to get more gigs like that.

 

Anyway, as I worked my way through this course, I made a decision. Once I have completed this review, I'm going to start going though the course again. This time I'll do all the many assignments, write all the exercises.

 

In other words, I'm going to take the course myself.

 

Why? I love the idea of traveling and writing, combined. I know I'll enjoy all the places I visit a great deal more if I apply the attention of a writer's eye. No more rushing through places. If I am going to write about somewhere, I know I'll have to dig deep and truly feel and enjoy it.

 

That makes travel a lot more meaningful, at least it does for me.

 

And the icing on the cake? If I follow the course carefully, and send queries to the right publications, I'll get paid for enjoying myself!

 

About the course

 

This course is from the American Writers and Artists Institute and is written by Jennifer Stevens. Jennifer is a long-time travel writer and, more importantly, an experienced travel writing editor.

 

Why is it important that she is an editor? Because she knows what publications are looking for. She takes the editor's point of view. She knows what magazines and newspapers want. She knows what a good query letter sounds like. She knows what sells and what doesn't.

 

To my mind, that is what gives this course such strength. So much of it is written from the perspective of a buyer of travel articles.

 

In fact, throughout this course you'll get her twin perspectives - both as a writer and as an editor.

 

As a writer she gives excellent advice on how to choose, approach, structure and write a good article. Then she switches, puts on her editor's hat...and gives you the scoop on how to find the right publications, how to pitch story ideas with strong query letters, and how to please the editors you write to. There is a whole chapter on '11 Ways to make Your Editor Love You'.

 

What you get

 

The course is over 250 pages in length and every page, every chapter is packed full of useful information. To give you an overview of what you can look forward to, here is the lineup of lessons:

Lesson 1: The Best "Job" in the World?
Lesson 2: How Do I Begin?
Lesson 3: What You Need to be a Travel Writer
Lesson 4: What You Don't Need to be a Travel Writer
Lesson 5: How Travel Writing Can Open Doors…And Enhance Other Writing
Lesson 6: Knowing Your Audience…Where to Sell Your Articles
Lesson 7: Three Keys to Successful Travel Writing
Lesson 8: Seven Winning Travel Article Templates
Lesson 9: Prepare for your First Assignment
Lesson 10: How to Imagine Stories That Will Sell Every Time
Lesson 11: The Secret of the Eagle Eye
Lesson 12: Twelve Insider's Secrets to Successful Interviews
Lesson 13: Diamonds in the Dirt (Research)
Lesson 14: 5 Keys to Better Writing
Lesson 15: 5 More Keys to Better Writing
Lesson 16: The Five Second Rule: How to Grab a Reader and Keep Him Hooked
Lesson 17: A Picture Can Be Worth a Thousand Bucks (or more)
Lesson 18: Insider's Secrets…How to Get Information to Come to You
Lesson 19: Eleven Habits That Will Always Make Editors Happy…And Eager to Work With You
Lesson 20: Do Not Pass Go…Do Not Collect $60,000 (Or…Never, Ever Plagiarize)
Lesson 21: How to Find "Original" Story Ideas
Lesson 22: How to Get an Editor to Notice You

Plus...

 

In addition to the full course and two binders, you also get a bonus CD on how to make extra money with photographs.

 

Concluding thoughts

 

Maybe I'm already a little biased...but I love this course and absolutely intend to take it myself. What more can I say?

 

Find out more about the Ultimate Travel Writer's Course

 

 

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