A lot of amazing things happen at writing conventions, especially at Muse & the Marketplace, our own Boston extravaganza. I attended the Muse just last weekend, and while considering how I should approach this post, I thought about writing about how much fun it is to volunteer at The Muse, or the deliciousness of free food, or the intricate planning that goes into such an enormous convention (some 800+ people signed up and paid to attend this year, if I heard correctly). But the thing that stands out to me most is what I brought home: Gabi Logan’s The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map, and a one-month membership to TravelMagazineDatabase.com.
The book is filled with delicious information for the hungry travel writer and I’m already a third of the way through (having only skipped the sections about why you should start your own website and print business cards, because I already have those and understand their importance.) While the book is fantastic and I love the cover, it’s geared to sell writers on the website. When I met Gabi I knew I wanted to buy her book, and when I offered to buy it, she told me that if I was willing to pay only $2.00 more—at the price of $20 instead of $18—to sign up for a month-long membership to her database, then I’d get the book for free. If you know me at all, you know that I am a bargain-seeker, and this was indeed a bargain.
I was excited to check out the site, but I also had sneaky thoughts, like I would study the website thoroughly before my one month ended and then cancel instead of spending another $20 on another month. At first, when I got home and started skimming the site, it appeared to be just a place where the creator visits the submission page of every magazine’s website and copies and pastes the information into their database. But as I studied, I began to realize this was much much more than that. The creator has more than likely copy and pasted some info. into the site, but she’s also painstakingly read through the magazine in order to tell writers which sections are covered by freelancers, and which are in house, and then she gives a thorough breakdown of how the articles in each section are written.
For example, in one travel magazine the “How to Pitch” section might say that the “Like a Local” articles are always written in first person, and tend not to go beyond 300 words. Also located in this section are links to articles published in the magazine, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, the “How to Pitch” section will also tell you how much this publication pays (this depends on whether the number is posted online, or Gabi has found a writer to say what they’ve been paid).
You might think (as I did at first), “Okay, so what? Why can’t I just pay for a month, skim the site, and then get out?” The reason is because the site is constantly being updated. If you’re a writer trying to get into the magazine writing business, then you already know how outdated much of the information in Writer’s Digest can be, and many magazines seem to hide their submission information from new freelancers. All the links that I’ve seen on the database lead to recently published articles—as recent as two or three months ago! Now that is impressive.
Sure, you can pay for the $5 a month membership, but I’m pretty sure that only offers the Description and Contact Information for each magazine, which I think you could find on your own. With the more expensive purchase you also get access to the “Target Audience,” and “How to Pitch,” and as we’ve already covered, this How to Pitch section bears the most fruit. Good luck out there to my writing and travel writing friends and I hope if you’re able to you will check out this site or offer others that you’ve found beneficial in your magazine search.