Money for Travel Writers


The idea fairy came yesterday and slapped me across the face—hard. I credited it to the fact that I needed a means to the end if I was going to start trying to make more money from writing than all my other misc efforts. But she could’ve also felt the fire beneath her butt from when my good friend gave me the “Get a Life” speech just 1.5 hours earlier.

So, what’s the big deal? I thought of a travel column to write. As far as I know, it’s not being done. Not the way I’d do it, anyway.

Naturally I was thinking about how it would translate to $$, and wanted to share that with you.

My best educated guess says I could sell my 300-400 word column for $50-$75/week to travel newspaper editors. That would be the budget for bigger city papers. Most small town papers get their content from AP at about half that.

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Here’s the thing, if I sell a column at this rate to one paper, I’d make $200-$300/month. Now imagine I can sell it to two or three more papers (the max I’d want to do it for). That would mean $400-$900/month on avg not including those special five week months. That’s not too shabby for 5-12 hours worth of work.

In general newspapers pay 10 cents/word. If you want the big bucks, $1-$2/word, you’ve got to hit up the glossy mags for feature stories. They take more time to get. A good way to get your foot in the door is to let them get to know you by submitting to their department sections. Less words and less pay, but easier entry.

I’ll let you know when I submit my column and if it takes or tanks.