Guess how many English magazines are published around the world? Millions every year, with an average of 2600 copies sold every minute in the UK, according to industry data, spread across a huge range of titles, not counting newspapers and websites.
Add North America, Australia, New Zealand, plus another 80 countries or so where English is an official language, and you may feel overwhelmed by the volume of global outlets. This covers all kinds of magazines but most feature travel of some sort.
True, publications do vanish overnight but next time you hear of a shrinking market, remember that in this digital age, the world is yours.
Most consumer magazines appear weekly or monthly. A weekly publication will need 52 articles a year for a travel page and more for special editions. That’s a lot of space to fill. A monthly will probably use 12 features during that time so every submission must be outstanding. Meanwhile, most newspapers publish several travel pieces in their weekly slot, plus a generous crop in weekend supplements. You do the math. Quality matters, numbers too.
But how about those gorgeous travel magazines filling their entire copy with features like yours? Tempting but like most glossies, they aim upmarket. A famous name on the cover, say Bill Bryson or Michael Palin, is sure to draw attention and boost sales. The higher you climb, the stiffer the competition but don’t despair. Everything is possible if you have an original idea and the right approach.
Searching every corner of the market
Titles come and go but the lure of travel remains; the range of outlets continues to grow.
Where do we begin?
- Travel magazines: note that each one has its own slant, backpacking, luxury, adventure, eco-tourism, or covers a specific destination, such as Italy or the Caribbean.
- Newspapers, travel pages and supplements, national, regional and local.
- In-flight magazines: most carry features in English, relating to new routes or topical events on existing routes, including those of partner airlines.
- Magazines issued by railway or cruise companies, highlighting places of interest along their routes or ports of call.
- Women’s magazines, most have a travel or travel related page.
- Men’s magazines, but you don’t have to be a man to write for them, or the reverse.
- Lifestyle: health, property, spa, cruising, weddings and honeymoon, spiritual matters.
- Publications targeting a specific age or social group: families, over 50s, gay, singles, religious communities, business travelers, disabled travelers, farmers, teachers, nurses.
- Publications about sports and outdoors, golf, cycling, hiking, scuba diving…
- Niche markets, such as bird watching, art, crafts, food and wine, heritage, vintage railways, gardens, antiques and even pets.
- County or regional magazines.
- Trade magazines published by hotel chains, tour operators, banks, stores or car dealers, plus online content and travel anthologies by National Geographic or Reader’s Digest.
Out of breath? That’s a good sign for now you know. In the big world of travel features, there’s a place for you.
Now your turn
- Choose a time and a place and promise yourself you will spend at least 30 minutes looking at magazines, this week and the next. Don’t read cover to cover at this stage, scan titles and pictures and something will catch your eye.
- Perhaps there’s a travel page you read every week. Is it in a paper or a magazine? Why do you like it? Is it the photographs, style, content? If you enjoy a publication, you empathize with its readers and writing for them will come naturally. It’s a great place to start.
- Let your confidence grow and when you’re ready, venture out of your comfort zone, new markets at home, foreign publications on the web, some offering free trial subscriptions, others contributors’ guidelines.
This article was first published in Writer’s Wheel Magazine, Issue 3