The first rule of any scammer is to work out what the mark wants and then make him think he’s getting it. In the case of a budding travel writer, he wants to be published and is willing to do almost anything to make that happen.
So it’s no surprise that there exist a whole bunch of people out there profiting from all this hopeful naiveté. Much like the guy who writes the book How to make a million bucks in 6 months (Why would he be writing the book if he knew how to do it?), there exist a whole litany of books on how to be a travel writer, how to become a successful journalist and a load of other junk.
There are also a whole load of expensive courses that promise to have you on your feet as a freelance writer or your money back! This latter clause famously works by relying upon people’s sense of apathy and also a disinclination to actually admit that they’re a failure as a writer.
The long and short of it is that your writing can only improve with plenty of constructive criticism from educated readers, by reading a whole lot yourself and, most importantly, working out what you want to say in the first place. If none of that helps, writing may not be for you and no number of self-help books or writing courses will change that.
There are also plenty of agents out there who will charge reading fees for manuscripts – what a great way to make a living! They get paid for putting rejection letters in the post.
Another scam are some of the self-publishing companies where you pay for the printing and production of the book, you promote it, get interviews and reviews and they handle the sales – in return you get 50% of the profits! So why exactly do you need them?
You should never part with money in your quest to be a travel writing beyond the expenses of printing query letters and sample chapters, postage and the hosting fees for having your own site. Period.
Of course, if you don’t agree then Road Junky is proud to announce it’s new travel writing course detailing the ins and outs of the business, application fees start at $500 a head…