Entrepreneurial Travel Publishing

By Lee Foster

Can a travel journalist connect with an audience and earn income today in both the “old” and “new” travel journalism? The answer is yes, I would argue.

The model for successful travel journalism, however,  is moving away from the more passive “being published” to the more active “publish and create a market for the content.”

To pose the question differently: What are the viable ways in which travel publishing is occurring today? Both the travel journalist provider must survive and the public must be served.

Here are some perspectives:

-Are there still some good opportunities today in the “old” travel journalism?

I work with some of the leading travel book companies and major magazines.

For example, publisher Dorling Kindersley decided in 2011 to invest heavily in a book titled Back Roads California. This is part of their Eyewitness Guide Series, with a sub-series called Back Roads, with which they have covered a few territories, such as Britain and Italy (see Britain at http://us.dk.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780756659134,00.html?strSrchSql=Back+Roads+Britain/Back_Roads_Great_Britain_DK_Publishing). For their Back Roads California, I was assigned to write and photograph a third of the book. Back Roads California will appear in April 2013. Some of these big brand traditional publishers are doing well. DK had $45,000 to invest in the creation of content for this book, and I received a third or $15,000. Add to this all their editing staff expenses and it is apparent that they project selling a large number of the books.

I have a healthy partnership with Lonely Planet, the world’s most ambitious travel book publisher. They have perhaps 500 books out. My partnership with this client is for travel photos. I had travel photos in more than 225 of their books by the year 2005. In that earlier period of largesse, they used to send me a copy of each book in which I had a photo. The 225 different titles now line a long shelf at my house. I recently saw their latest edition of California, for example, and I have four photos in it. LP appears to be doing reasonably well, and it is their electronic products where much of the growth now proceeds.

Major magazines are another marketing target. Costco magazine’s editor contacted me, saying, “I like your Canada New Brunswick article on your website at www.fostertravel.com. Could you do an 800 word article for me at $1 a word?” I could and did. Magazines are targets for writing and for photography. Via magazine has a photo of mine showing a father and his young son making a snowman at Lake Tahoe on page 30 of their Jan/Feb 2012 issue. Prices in magazines have fallen somewhat. The Via price for a quarter page photo, $250, is about half of what it was five years ago. I have a Molokai image in the May 2012 Islands magazine. There the price has also fallen to about half of what it was five years ago. One bright spot in the picture is that some of these magazines have their iPad-only versions, and I have had sales this past year to Travel + Leisure’s iPad edition, which has its own editorial staff for purchasing content.

-Is it time to bypass boutique royalty travel book publishers and move forward with “independent” book publishing for both print books and ebooks?

The smaller boutique travel publishers, offering royalty contracts rather than work-for-hire buyouts, are experiencing major challenges in the marketplace. As an author who has followed the royalty trajectory for most of my publishing life, independent publishing strategies are now of increasing interest.

I have done royalty books with Countryman Press, Globe Pequot, and Hunter. These have been good relationships. I have worked with decent people in all these enterprises, all working hard to develop and sell books.

But I also independently published a travel literary book, in 2005, titled Travels in an American Imagination. That experience was quite satisfactory, even though it was before the recent era in which many factors tip the balance towards independent publishing.

Conflicts with the boutique royalty publishers continue to grow. They are not getting enough sales, partly because they are unable to function in the gift shop world beyond bookstores. When bookstore sales and brands were a stronger factor, the boutique publishers were moderately successful. Now their presentation of your book in Amazon (which supposedly sells 60% of all books purchased in the  U.S.) is not different from your own Amazon presentation of your independent book. The boutique publishers are not seizing ebook opportunities, and when they bring out ebooks, they are pricing the ebooks far above the market. They are discouraging author website use of similar content. They are unhappy with app publishing of parallel content, but are unable to stop it, largely because apps were seen, metaphysically, as a new art form.

At the same time, print-on-demand technology has improved and access to bookstore distribution through print-on-demand is now possible. Amazon’s own CreateSpace print-on-demand system insures that your book is readily available on Amazon. CreateSpace can also feed into Lightning Source, an aspect of Ingram. Do a print-on-demand book with CreateSpace/Lightning Source and Amazon, as well as any bookstore, can order it through Ingram. Of course, the author must create the demand that prompts a bookstore to want to order the book, but that is true now also with the boutique royalty publishers. Distribution to bookstores is now no longer an advantage offered only by the boutique travel publishers. Print-on-demand is not yet economical for color photo reproduction. For books with color photos, it is still necessary to print in Asia perhaps 3,000 units, as I printed, in China, my Travels in an American Imagination, to keep the unit cost down to $2 to $3. The manufacturing cost needs to be kept to about 1/5 of the retail cost, or $3 for a $14.95 retail book, to allow for distribution costs.

The ease of creation and distribution of ebooks, however, tips the balance in favor of independent publishing. Ebooks are clearly the growth path looking forward in travel publishing. A current leading provider of ebook publishing services is an entity known as BookBaby, in Portland. BookBaby is a new branch of CDBaby, which has been a major distributor of music files on the Internet through outlets such as Apple and Amazon. Incredibly, BookBaby (and CD Baby) return 100 percent of the net sale to the author/artist after charging a moderate upfront fee (perhaps $100-250 for a book) and a longtail fee ($19/year for years 2 and on). BookBaby can do this because the parent company, CDBaby, has huge competence in handling digital files (whether the product is music or a book, it is a digital file). CDBaby has published 250,000 musicians and paid them $200 million in sales. They also have a smooth and bulletproof accounting system set up for accumulative micro payments for the author/artist from the vendors, such as Amazon and Apple. With a traditional publisher, such as Countryman Press, I get 20% of the net sale for ebook sales as my royalty. With BookBaby, I get 100% of the net sale. The file for an ebook is shockingly simple, just a Word file with sequential places allocated for photos. The text file needs to be in simple text form so that the ebook product will “flow” in the user’s device, allowing the user to choose font and type size. Fancy and fixed layouts do not work. Writers/photographers owe to musicians a debt of gratitude for pioneering in the selling of digital content on the Internet. BookBaby characterizes itself as a “non-predatory” publisher, and the term is apt.

One comment in the last paragraph merits further emphasis: The digital files used to create true ebooks must be quite simple. This is because the ebook needs to “flow” in the manner desired by the user, not the publisher. The user may be looking at the book on anything from a mobile phone, such as an iPhone, to a tablet, perhaps a Kindle or an iPad. The user may also be reading the ebook on a computer screen. The user may choose a desired font and desired type size, so there is no pre-set page layout. You can use Word for your book file. Set up your ebook with a standard font, such as Times Roman, and insert any photos in their appropriate place, such as at the end of a paragraph. There is no “wrap around” of text and photos in an ebook layout. There are fancier possibilities now emerging for more fixed layouts, such as with Adobe DigPub layouts, but they apply mainly to publications that will be viewed only on high-end iPad and other tablet devices. Apple and Kindle now have new tools with additional formatting capacity, but ebooks will still have to flow and remain responsive to user desires. BookBaby provides concise directions on how to prepare you book layout for the ebook presentation of the content.

I have put my book Travels in an American Imagination through the BookBaby system. The resulting book, with its writing/photography, looks terrific both in Kindle and on an iPad/iPhone. I will develop an independent book in 2013, titled Northern California Travel: The Best Options. This project will be an ebook, a print-on-demand book, and have a website presence. I have priced my first book at $2.99. The price will seem shockingly low to some, but the net return to me for the content, about $1.44 to $2.10, from vendors such as Amazon and Apple, is actually more than the average $1.03 that I get in royalties for a printed book now selling at $14.95 in the traditional royalty publishing model.

There are some details of independent ebook publishing to attend carefully. For example, it is helpful to buy your own set of ISBNs from Bowker rather than use a BookBaby ISBN. ISBNs are the critical identifier number needed for each published product. Your own ISBN will help create your brand. Your own ISBN is also necessary for a print-on-demand book with Lightning Source/Ingram, where you must behave like a publisher rather than an author who wishes to be published.

-Can an effective website launch you into the new world of entrepreneurial travel journalism?

I consider my website at www.fostertravel.com essential, both for connecting with a general audience and as my dialogue point with editors. Be aware that a good website will require substantial ongoing attention. WordPress now appears to be the most satisfactory structure for a complex website, which includes static pages and a blog capacity, plus ecommerce, subscription lists, and various other functionalities. My strategy is to swap in and out all my content myself, to keep the costs down, but engage a professional web designer when I want to improve the WordPress structure. My design person is Bradley Charbonneau of www.likoma.com in San Francisco. See his logo on the lower right side of my website page.

What are the built-in income earners on this site? Clues: Licensing of content, Google Adsense income, private ads, affiliate ads, and selling products such as books, apps, and photo prints or cards.

Only after you have in place a monetizing website will you be motivated to do the social media outreach and promotional efforts that will bring visitors to your website. A site needs a constant flow of new viewers to survive and flourish. I do a weekly  “announcement” presentation on Facebook, Linked-In, and Twitter about my new or revised travel articles. My goal is to present something useful and enticing to my social media audiences. I interact with my audience by responding to their comments posted on my articles. Beyond that, I restrict my site to my own content because my goal is to publish my content rather than become a “curator” of the public’s content. Google Analytics tells me that about 90 percent of my viewers each day are “new” viewers. They find my content mainly through Searches on Google and through my Social Media activity. For every hundred people who are attracted, roughly one will click on a Google Ad and I will earn about 25 cents. Because of the volume of traffic to my website, various private ad people have approached me about placing ads on certain pages. More could be pursued on this matter if I put attention into it.

As a travel website owner, I realize that I must continue to grow the audience of my website for it to prosper. That’s because travel is not something that a user will need every day. I might check in on a news website, such as the New York Times or CNN, every day. I want to get the news every day. But I might check a travel website only when I am thinking of travel. As mentioned, in my experience, 90 percent of my users are new users, and only 10 percent are repeat users. Also, 90 percent of the users come from Search Engines (mainly Google) and only 10 percent come from click-through referrals from other sites. So, Social Media outreach and good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for Search are important.

Every travel journalist with a website knows that the functionality of that website can be improved to make it more attractive and enticing to visitors. Looking at my website at www.fostertravel.com, here are some questions to ask. Does your website have a good ecommerce structure, such as I have for selling my books and apps, both directly, when that is possible, and with links to sellers, such as the Amazon or Apple stores? If dealing in photos, does your website have a convenient turnkey way for a photo buyer to license a photo and pay with their credit card or via PayPal? Can a consumer easily buy prints, cards, and inexpensive personal licenses (such as the use of my photo on their blog)? I have these functionalities partly due to my PhotoShelter structure being tied into this website. Does your website allow a consumer to print something out easily and comment easily, participating in your content? Does your website allow for a “static” structure of articles as well as a more dynamic “blog” presentation, plus making it easy for a consumer to get an email alert when you make a new posting? How well implemented is the invisible SEO detail for each post in your WordPress structure?  The list of possible functionalities could go on and on. Improving your website will be an ongoing task.

Two masters in website income, focused on a strategy somewhat different from my own “licensing of content” strategy, are Durant Imboden (www.europeforvisitors.com) and Tom Brosnahan (www.turkeytravelplanner.com). Both report six figure incomes from their websites. They have what are called “travel planning” websites. I have watched Tom develop his site for the last decade. It takes hard work and careful attention to follow the detailed learning curve about how to build pages and place ads. Durant and Tom have chosen high-traffic Europe subjects that a consumer will find fairly complicated and expensive to encounter, requiring a lot of travel planning regarding transportation, hotels, sightseeing, and language to navigate successfully without anxiety. I doubt that Durant, who lives in Minneapolis, will ever develop a Minnesota for Travelers website. That destination would not qualify as a good candidate for this particular approach.

-Can you elaborate more what you mean by “licensing of content?”

If you create a written or photographic product that you own, you may be able to license it. That has always been a major part of my strategy. This has been the basic model in rights-managed photography sales. Writers have been a little slow to pick up on this model. I license derivative presentations of my writing subjects, such as the New Brunswick article to Costco magazine, as noted above.

The large potential sale of a group license of many units, however, has always been part of my goal. I had such a license with CompuServe for 17 years (1983-2001). CompuServe published all of my then-existing articles and paid me a 10% royalty of their “premium” content revenue. I had a similar article-a-week license for three years with CNN travel as it launched in the 1990s.

In 2011, I am happy to report, I contracted for another such major license, which will last until August 1, 2013. This new license now provides an ongoing monthly licensing income for me for two years. One of the world’s larger travel agency marketing systems, Uniglobe, decided that it wanted to create a major travel content website, and they wanted a substantial amount of content. I had 200 worldwide articles ready to go at www.fostertravel.com on the essence-of-the-destinations. These are articles that I own, free and unencumbered, since I have licensed the articles only non-exclusively or in derivative presentations. The articles may have run in Travel + Leisure or the Los Angeles Times, but I licensed them only for a one-time, non-exclusive use. An agreement was struck between Uniglobe’s publishing entity, Tait Collins, and me for a monthly income for the use of my resource.

They are not looking for further content providers and ask specifically that other travel freelancers NOT approach them. The overall website is at www.uniglobethetraveltimes.com. A sample of one of my articles, New York, can be seen at http://www.uniglobethetraveltimes.com/2011/north-america/take-a-bite-out-of-the-big-apple. All of my articles are bylined, with a photo and bio of me at the bottom. I have been updating my articles for their gradual absorption into the system and am pleased to have the incentive and opportunity to update all the articles. In the first year of the partnership I updated more than 100 of my articles and fed them into the system. I am hopeful that this relationship will continue after two years, but it will be up to Uniglobe to continue the license.

My agreement with Tait Collins/Uniglobe suggests an emerging category of potential travel publishing — the presentation of content directly on the Internet at the travel selling point. In the old model of magazine and newspaper publishing, the travel sale occurred as the consumer looked at the content on a printed page. Therefore, advertisers wanted to be present, and content was developed to appear proximate to the ads. Now, with the sale itself so often directly on the Internet, more attention should be given to placing the content close to the point of sale. For example, if there were more hours in the day, I would have approached airlines to run my take on all the cities on their website. Since many of their sales occur right on their websites, they will want some content on their cities. They will have some content now, of course, but I could do that content better. Travel journalists with similar confidence in their ability to develop a product will find increased opportunities at direct-selling points on the Internet.

Pay attention to “terms and conditions” in any transaction or placement of your writing/photography content, especially on Internet sites and in contests.

It is important to pay attention to the terms and condition associated with the placement of any travel writing or photo content. Both parties must adhere to the agreed-upon terms. Money will be involved. The potential to get further licenses of content may be contingent on past terms and conditions agreements which a travel journalist may have signed.

If I had placed my content in Examiner.com, for example, I would not have been able to license it to Tait Collins/Uniglobe. Tait Collins required that I have my content only on my website and in individual non-exclusive placements that I was aware of in other media. Examiner.com effectively owns an ongoing non-exclusive right to re-purpose and re-post the content on other sites and specifies that it has no obligation to make a payment of any kind to those who post to Examiner.com. Examiner.com now makes a voluntary payment, but is not required to do so, and may sell the content to third parties, promising no compensation to the content creator. This is all quite clearly stated on the Examiner.com website. Uniglobe would have found this a non-starter in my negotiations with them. If my content could appear anywhere else, totally beyond my control, they were not interested in my content.

Any time some content is posted to an iReporter crowdsourced site or any time writing/photography is entered in a photo or writing contest, be sure to read carefully the terms and conditions. Be sure that you agree with what you are conveying.

Terms and conditions can also work in your favor if the publishing entity to which you granted a license has violated them. For example, I have licensed photos over the years to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for their textbooks. For each license, they make an orderly presentation to me of what they want, in a memo, and it always contains the “print run” of the book product, although “print run” can now also contain information about electronic views and electronic CD products as publishing technology proceeds. I repeat this “print run” information on the invoice that I send to them. Typically, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt licensed many photos from me in the past for textbooks with a “print run of 100,000 books.” Today the print run might state 500,000 books or CDs/electronic views.

Some of those HMH textbooks from the past were quite successful. The demand was greater than 100,000 books. So what did the production department do? They kept on printing and selling the books. HMH did not get from me a “new” license allowing them legally to continue to use the photo for the new printings. I became aware, in 2011, that they had “overprinted” three of my photos in three different textbooks. This amounted to a violation of my copyright, possibly for registered photos, and I had an orderly record of my past invoices. I negotiated with them a settlement that would allow them to continue to use the photos for another 10 years and one million books. That became my new terms and conditions offer. My fee for that was $650/photo, and they agreed to it. I also negotiated that they compensate me $3,000 per photo for violating my copyright and overprinting, and they agreed. So HMH paid me, in 2011, 3×3650 or $10,950 to resolve the issue and bring themselves into compliance regarding these three photos. The HMH negotiator thanked me for being so courteous and positive in this long process, which assisted her corporation to live up to its high-minded mission statement. I believe I was dealing with basically honest people who wished to remain honest. It was just that a lack of corporate oversight and perhaps a lack of communication between their production and their editorial departments left them legally exposed and out of compliance with the terms and conditions to which they had agreed.

Can you make money in apps?

Although it’s not easy to sell apps, or anything else,  in travel journalism in the modern era, I have demonstrated that it is possible to sell apps and make money.

My app San Francisco Travel Photo Guide (Sutro Media) sold a thousand copies in one month, due to favorable publicity.

I now have three apps in the Apple App Store and Android Google Play store if you Search “Lee Foster.” They are from Sutro Media, titled San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide, Washington DC Travel and Photo Guide, and Berkeley Essential Guide. Think of the word “app” in terms of travel journalism products using sophisticated software to “run” them, perhaps integrating maps, photos, texts, links, GPS, email-able sections, and other such enhanced features. Sorting and searching capabilities are the essence of apps.  I also have three ebooks in the viable ebook stores, such as those operated by Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook, and Sony Reader. Think of the word ebook as describing a directly readable text/photo presentation, turning pages, without any emphasis on software fanciness.

A startling fact has confirmed my desire to pursue an ebooks/apps trajectory. My printed book The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco (Countryman Press), representing all physical books, seldom sells outside the United States because it is a physical book and can’t be shipped around the world economically due to postage costs. Sometimes I have gotten a few “foreign” sales, meaning to Canada, but there were none of these of my last royalty report. By contrast, my parallel app, San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide (Sutro Media), has sold in 46 foreign countries. Considering this reality, in which media might there be a brighter future, printed physical books or ebooks/apps?  You be the judge.

Apps require ongoing attention to improve them. They are not static or fixed products. As an author, I need to keep adding content to my apps to make them more attractive and up-to-date. Similarly, the publisher, in this case Sutro Media, needs to continue to develop its software to provide more functionality and additional platforms, such as Android. All my apps have been released in the Android Google Play store. Ironically, the author is dependent on the publisher to improve and expand the presentation, something that never happened in the old world of print books. When a book was printed, you could assume the re-prints would be fixed forever in that form. Now, when an app is launched, the writer/photographer hopes that the publisher will have evolving, state-of-the-art software, looking years down the line. Sutro Media appears to be a nimble and gifted partner in this respect.

The number of devices that can support apps (and ebooks) continues to grow. According to the data reporting entity, Flurry, there were about 20 million new iOS and Android devices activated worldwide in the Christmas/New Year week from December 25-31, 2011. There were also about 1.2 billion apps downloaded to devices, but that number is not broken into paid vs free apps. Among download nations, the U.S. was first with 509 million and China was second with 99 million, even though the Chinese do not widely celebrate Christmas. The UK was third, at 81 million, and Canada fourth with 41 million downloads. App authors will be watching to see how many travel destination apps will be sold in the Android world.

-Can you sell travel photos directly in an effective manner?

Yes, you can, if you have a sophisticated photo selling site, with the full functionality of a stock photo agency. The structure now available through PhotoShelter for independent selling is, in my opinion, the best current option.

From my PhotoShelter site at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com, I had sales this year to Travel + Leisure and Backpacker, as examples. I deliver all of my photos to my clients through this site.  For example, Maggie Perkins of Via magazine downloaded my Lake Tahoe “Building a Snowman” photo for page 30 of her Jan/Feb 2012 issue. She is on my Trusted Client list, with the privilege of downloading any image at any time. I see the download and can keep track of it and then invoice her if use is later confirmed. Known photo editors with whom I have done business are on this Trusted Client list. An effective photo website must allow the instant download by a trusted photo buyer of hi-res images at any time.

PhotoShelter is a phenomenal success now in the photo selling world, with about 70,000 photographers signed up. You create your site with their software, choosing your own look and feel. You control your site entirely. The PhotoShelter shell presence is invisible.  Your site has the full functionality of a major photo agency, using the PhotoShelter software. They give away how-to pdf books on subjects such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because all these features  are built into their software. They hold free webinars to educate their customers. My site even allows me to sell small photo licensing rights to individuals for use in a blog. My customers can order photo prints and cards through the site, with a turnkey delivery not involving any further work from me. I set my selling price and receive an up-front PayPal payment for these consumer sales. I have a known “manufacturing” cost charged to my credit card for the products from a vendor selected by PhotoShelter to deliver the goods.

Renting the PhotoShelter hosting space and software for about 7,000 travel photos now costs me $549/year. A starter site might cost about $300/year because less space is required.

One further aspect of PhotoShelter is that it becomes a “cloud” storage unit for all your best photos. If something ever happened to all your images at your home or office, the people at PhotoShelter could download all your photos onto a hard drive and send them back to you.

-Is a relationship with a large photo agency still a critical part of selling photos worldwide?

Absolutely, the answer is “yes,” now more than ever.  Only the large agencies have the ability to sell to buyers unknown to you.

I have two main relationships with agencies, Lonely Planet Images and Alamy.

Through Lonely Planet Images I have sales of my photos to Lonely Planet books/website and to third parties. Among third parties, I have sales to Yahoo Japan, for example. Through Alamy I have sales to emerging magazine markets, such as magazines in the Russian Republic. I could never reach these markets on my own. I need these agents to sell my content for me. As far as I am aware, there are only 24 hours in a day.  I can only do so much.

It is always important to be conservative in your planning about agency income. My Lonely Planet Image relationship has changed, for example. LPI and LP sold themselves to BBC in 2007. BBC was not so interested in the photo agency and made minimal investments in it. So LPI found it advantageous to move its collection over to Getty for marketing, as of August 1, 2012. This did not work for me. Although I already have a Getty contract, I am more interested in my investments in a non-exclusive selling relationship than in a tightly-exclusive selling relationship, as Getty requires.

Participation in Alamy, which is open to everyone, requires that a photographer learn the discipline of correctly preparing a photo technically. After a photo is ftped over to Alamy, it must pass their Quality Control check. If a photo is rejected because it is “soft or lacking definition,” for example, you will want to check your camera or your software to see where the problem lies. If a photo is accepted by Alamy, it will most likely be judged technically acceptable by all your other clients. Even those of us who have worked with Alamy for years sometimes get rejected when we submit images. Rejection is a teaching moment, enouraging us to improve our technical competence.

Despite the challenges in the overall photo market, I still get substantial income from agencies.  My task is to keep feeding these agencies with fresh images. As Alamy’s Alan Capel said to me during a face-to-face meeting in November 2011 in New Zealand, the price paid for photos has dropped about 50 percent in the last five years. Alan’s observation conforms to my own experience.  He also has the perspective of an entity with 26 million images for sale to a worldwide market. According to Allen, Alamy paid photographers $12 million in 2010, so, if you do the math (12/26 x $1), the average photo in Alamy is producing for the photographer slightly less than 50 cents per year.

-How does travel video fit into the picture?

A helpful element of travel journalism success, especially looking forward, will be travel videos. Making your own travel videos, perhaps as narrated slide shows with voice, still photos, and video clips, will add a dimension to your travel publishing opportunities. YouTube is said to be the second largest Search source, surpassed only by Google. I will put my videos up on YouTube and use them to draw viewers back to my website. As previously mentioned, on my website one out of a hundred viewers will click a Google Ad and I will earn 25 cents. Some will buy my books, ebooks, apps, or photo prints. Much can be accomplished in video with iMovie and a Mac. Learn to use this elementary tool effectively before feeling a need to get Final Cut Pro for the Mac or Premiere for a PC. My first video, about the Pacific voyaging canoe, Hokulea, is at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezBiaDbST9w

It relates to my website, where it is also embedded, at my article about the Hokulea:

http://fostertravel.wpengine.com/hawaiis-hokulea-canoe-tells-story-of-polynesian-voyage/

-What is the best travel journalism subject on which to concentrate?

I feel that each journalist should think through this question carefully, asking the Socratean questions, “Who am I?” and “Who will I be in ten years?”

Possibly your best travel subject will not be far flung. It may be close to home, where you can do your travel research economically. San Francisco and Northern California is my largest single travel writing and travel photography subject. This is because I love the area and also because I live there and can develop content about it relatively efficiently. I am fortunate that my home territory happens to be a very popular destination for travelers. Become the go-to provider for content on your subject. Part of my appetite is worldwide, but my regional specialty of Northern California is also a focus.

This concludes my current comments on “Entrepreneurial Travel Publishing.” The travel journalism path is not an easy one, but I find that it is possible, year after year, to connect with an audience and earn income. Because of the many tools now available for independent publishing, success is more assured for content creators who adopt a trajectory to “take charge” of the publishing process rather than wait to be “chosen” by others to be published.

(Note: Lee Foster presents several instructional articles on his website at www.fostertravel.com. If you find this instruction useful, you are encouraged to make a contribution/donation to Lee Foster’s PayPal account at [email protected] Funds will be used to develop further such instructional articles.)

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