(This is a panel organized by Lee Foster for the SATW 2017 Portland Convention)
Lee Foster will lead this panel of members creating profitable travel content with their articles, books, ebooks, apps, photos, websites, licensing, assignments, translations, tours, instruction, consultation, social media, and other products. Lee and other panelists Gary Arndt, April Orcutt, and Kim Grant will show you how you can do it, too.
Lee will also gather in an e-doc the insights/handouts from the panelists and from any other SATW members who wish to contribute on this subject. Lee will distribute the e-doc to all interested SATW members. Send your thoughts and request for the doc to Lee at [email protected].
Bios for panelists
Lee Foster is a diversified travel writer/photographer who pursues both traditional and innovative publishing paths at https://www.fostertravel.com. Lee argues that we must understand the changes in our modern media scene and position ourselves to benefit. Typical of Lee’s efforts are licensing articles from his robust website and publishing an ebook translation of his California travel book in Chinese.
Gary Arndt skipped entirely the usual path of traditional travel publishing and burst onto the scene with a direct-to-consumer approach presented on his website at https://www.everything-everywhere.com and in Social Media. Gary saw his niche as Planet Earth, and has coverage on 190 countries and 320 worldwide UNESCO sites. How did Gary do it? How does he fund it on Social Media?
April Orcutt is a viable illustration that traditional travel publishing continues to flourish, assuming the practitioner has talent and careful attention to detail. Fans following April delight frequently in her latest article in the Los Angeles Times or Travel + Leisure. April presents some of this on http://www.aprilorcutt.com. April can assess the size of the traditional market for others, plus ownership-of-writing and pay issues.
Kim Grant is a visionary on the future of travel publishing, but totally grounded in her past as acquisitions editor for Countryman Press and Sutro Media Apps. Kim’s new multi-author travel publishing website is Bindu Trips at https://bindutrips.com/, focusing on itineraries. What is Kim’s plan and why? Kim also has the best-selling traditional travel book on Cape Cod, among many books on her Amazon Author Page.
Profitable Travel Writing/Photo Content Publishing Today: Some Tips
By Lee Foster
-Traditional guidebooks dead?
Not so fast. DK (Dorling Kindersley) recently paid LF more than $15K for his writing/photography contribution to Back Roads California. Royalty books problematic. Independent books promising. Publishing ebooks in China possible. PDF of your book a licensable product. “Website book” a possible new product? See http://amzn.to/1jl9Lnz
-Impossible to sell a travel photo?
Not exactly. LF received as his monthly June 2017 payment $1,111 from his agency Alamy.com, selling his 5K images rights-managed in their system to the worldwide audience. Anyone in SATW can join Alamy. Your independent PhotoShelter photo selling site a good parallel investment. Traditional photo partners can disappoint you, as Lonely Planet sold $220k for LF, then closed down. See http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
-Website not producing a dime?
Not true. LF’s www.fostertravel.com has produced some income for him every day since 2002 from Google AdSense ads, private ads, and sponsorships. Affiliates for tours and lodging represent a new income stream. Website helps sell saleable products. Robust presentation of content on the website leads to licensing, assignments, and paid talks.
-Licensing of content? What’s that all about?
Canadian travel agency system Uniglobe called Lee, said they liked his elaborate website essence-of-the-destination articles, wanted to get gravitas quickly on their site, and wished to license his top 100 worldwide articles. License for 3 years. Deal done, for 5 figures. Example: London at http://bit.ly/x8kcFp
-Robust website leads to assignments?
Answers.com called from St. Louis, said they are #23 website on Internet for traffic, liked LF’s www.fostertravel.com content on the San Francisco California area, wanted him to do about 100 short derivative articles for their website. Deal done, for 5 figures. Example: Oakland/Berkeley at http://bit.ly/Om6Bi6
-Exhausted your audience in English? Try Chinese.
LF has had positive sales for two years now, each month, for two of his travel books translated into Chinese and selling there as ebooks, mainly on Amazon.cn. Search Fiberead on my website for details. See the Chinese ebook from Amazon.cn on my US Amazon Author Page at http://amzn.to/1jl9Lnz
-Can you talk about your special travel area of competence?
And could you license a simple PDF of your travel content to be a speech follow-up giveaway? LF gave an entertaining paid talk/slideshow in SF to a meeting of financial people on “The SF Area’s Top 100 Travel attractions.” He licensed to the meeting planner the opportunity to email a PDF version of his latest ebook/app, titled SF Travel & Photo Guide. Lee charged $1 per email send to the meeting attendees of the PDF as an attachment. See PDF discussed at http://bit.ly/2sX3SaN
-Is there a “website book” in your future?
Folks will endure ads and affiliate links for a long time to get free content before they will pay for content. Could the future of your content, something that would have once been put in a travel guidebook, appear in a new form? As connectivity becomes ubiquitous, could a “website book” be funded by Google Ads, private ads, sponsorships, and affiliate income from tour, lodging, and transportation providers? LF has published a prototype as SF Travel & Photo Guide: The Top 100 Travel Experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. See http://bit.ly/2wEJjyV