Travel and Words offers two conference tracks―Beginning and Experienced―to meet the specific learning needs of attendees. Both tracks will attend the general session, panel discussions, speaker presentations, group meals and networking events.
Beginning writers and bloggers will attend the Beginning Track, with five workshops focused on the basics of launching a successful travel writing career. Think of it as Travel Writing 101. They will also attend a Q&A session with magazine editors.
Travel Writing 101 – Allen Cox
Have you ever met anyone who reads a travel article and says, “That looks like fun; I could do that!” While the “travel” part of travel writing is indeed fun, the writing part is work, and the marketing part is HARD work. Many well-intended writers never crack the code. This workshop breaks down the basic elements of travel writing, from types of articles, to tips on craft, to building credibility, to finding lucrative markets. You’ll walk away with inspiration and a 5-prong strategy to get you started.
Magazine Pitching 101 – Kim Cooper Findling
The pitch, the pitch—it’s always about the pitch! But it IS about the pitch. Without a means of introduction and a great idea, how do you get a magazine editor’s attention? You need to stand out in a crowded email inbox and sell your idea and yourself quickly and successfully to get freelance magazine writing gigs. In this fun, active workshop taught by editor and journalist Kim Cooper Findling, we’ll discuss the nuts and bolts of magazine pitching, and then we’ll practice, practice, practice. Plan on leaving with at least one fine-tuned pitch in your pocket.
Everything You Need to Know about FAM Trips – Allen Cox and Karisa Saywers
Getting invited on all-expenses-paid FAM (or “familiarization”) trips is one of the best perks of travel writing, but how do you go about landing these coveted invitations? In this workshop, you’ll learn how you can get on FAM trip hosts’ radar, how to conduct yourself as a professional on a FAM trip, and what hosts are looking for in terms of a return on their investment. This workshop is co-taught by a writer/editor who has been on dozens of FAM trips and a destination marketer who organizes and leads FAM trips.
Interviewing, Note Taking and Other Travel Writing Phobias – Allen Cox
Travel writing is journalism. And journalism comes with some basic tools of the trade: conducting interviews, taking accurate notes, and translating those notes into compelling content. As a travel journalist you’ll conduct both scheduled interviews and ad-hoc interviews. This workshop takes a hands-on approach to preparing for an interview, conducting an interview that gets the most out of your subject, and recording the key information, including accurate quotes that are gems.
Ask an Editor – Allen Cox, Adam Callaghan, Editor TBD
So far, you’ve taken in a lot of information in the conference. But what are editors really looking for? What makes them assign work to a writer again and again? What’s life really like behind the scenes in publishing? This is your chance to ask a panel of editors all those burning questions and get straight answers.
Mobile Social Media – Rochelle Roberts
Social media platforms are important tools in the travel writer’s toolkit, and more and more hosts are looking for real-time engagement with your followers. Quickly and efficiently navigating social media while you’re on the road is an essential skill. In this workshop, you’ll learn expert tips for posting on the go. If possible, bring your handheld device to the workshop for hands-on application.
Experienced writers and bloggers will attend the Experienced Track, with two advanced workshops and meetings with destination marketers. (Experienced writers may elect to take Beginning Track workshops instead of Experienced Track workshops.) Experienced Track attendees will sign up for two preferred workshops at the conference registration desk.
Ingredients of Culinary Writing – Adam H. Callaghan
Everybody dreams of being a restaurant critic, getting paid to opine about an endless array of dishes. But these opportunities are rare, and in the course of travel and lifestyle writing, it’s just as important to approach food from a journalist’s viewpoint. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to season your writing with evocative descriptions of food, break restaurant-industry scoops, and tell a good story that happens to involve food.
Grow Your Visibility with Memberships, Appearances and Awards – Allen Cox
You’ve been published. You’ve established a connection with editors and readers. You’ve built an online following. You’re making some income as a freelancer/influencer. So, what’s next? This interactive workshop will be a forum for experienced writers to share how they are continuously building visibility and credibility in an industry where influencers are highly valued. Learn tips from one another and from the workshop facilitator. Walk away with a next-steps roadmap tailored just for you.
Borrowing Tenets of Fiction for Stronger Nonfiction Writing – Kim Cooper Findling
Fiction and non-fiction are completely different animals, right? Think again. This workshop will help you identify key components of fiction writing that can directly translate into more compelling and attention-grabbing non-fiction writing. Memoirist, journalist and author Kim Cooper Findling leads you through tenets of fiction, including plot, conflict and character, that you should steal for your next travel article, essay or memoir.
Advanced Social Media for Travel Writers and Bloggers – Mattie John Bamman, Rochelle Roberts
Social media continues to rapidly evolve, and for professional writers, it is an indispensable tool for building an audience, landing assignments, and more. In this workshop, get up close and personal with the capabilities and limitations of social media, and learn about specific tools and apps to help create effective content. In the day and age of instant publishing, travel writers have more opportunities than ever. Note: If possible, bring a device for viewing social media.