Pitching 101: How to Write for Galavanting

Dispatches from the Road, Featured, Travel Writing — By on March 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

By Candace Rardon
LG Section Editor

You may have followed along Galavanting on their webseries, GalvantingTV, which takes viewers on quirky adventures across the world, from the “polar bear capital of the world” in Manitoba to visiting a school in Roatan, Honduras, to a hobo gathering in Mississippi. But the other half of Galavanting, their online travel magazine that’s geared towards the independent female traveler, is equally known for writing that’s both entertaining and enlightening. For those interested in contributing to the website, there are a number of sections to write for, covering areas as diverse as fashion and style, travel news, and hotel reviews. This week, The Lost Girls spoke with Galavanting’s managing editor, Joseph Hernandez, about what goes into a winning pitch for the website.

1. What sections are open to freelancers for pitching?

Galavanting accepts pitches for each of its sections: Travel News and Reviews, Worldly Style, A View From A Broad (blog), Travel Tips and the Features well. We pay $15/post for published pieces for each section except Features, which nets $50.

2. Is there a particular format and style you prefer when it comes to freelance work? Are you more interested in narrative pieces, “list” articles, guides, etc?

Anything goes, really. The more interesting, quirky and original a pitch is, the more likely I’d be willing to read and publish it. Galavanting’s features run the gamut; we don’t necessarily focus on locations or destinations, but on a certain aspect of that travel, with special emphasis on women’s travel. We don’t get a lot of pitches for guides, though we’d probably look for something not offered anywhere else. I haven’t published a lot of “lists”; they’re not very interesting, in the long run, though if you have a unique voice or new perspective on something or somewhere already well-represented, by all means, pitch!

3. What makes a stellar pitch for Galavanting? Can you give some examples of pitches that were outstanding, including links to the final stories?

I’ve only recently started fielding pitches, so don’t have a lot of specific pitches, though one pitch in particular, by Kristin Conard, editor of Matador Nights, stands out. Her story about macarons in Paris was great for many reasons: she kept the pitch short and to the point, the story was both personal and informative, and the final product was entertaining. She provided her own original photos, with links and information to the places mentioned in the piece. Above all else, she crafted a story where she was directly involved in the action yet didn’t distract from the topic at hand: showing readers a slice of Parisian life through a simply delicious cookie. I’m not gonna lie: I went out and found a close alternative just to satisfy my curiosity with the little bits of heaven.

Annemarie Dooling‘s feature on Brazilian women was also good. She explored a topic (natural beauty) and applied it to a culture (Brazilian women). Rather than remain aloof, though, and speak in generalities, she presented a local’s voice rather than maintain the sole voice regarding the topic.

4. What doesn’t make a good pitch (ie, things that freelancers do that would never fly for the site)?

It never ceases to amaze me the number of pitches I get formatted thusly:

Dear Editor,

Below is my story about the 10 things I did in Ft. Lauderdale last week. I hope to see it published soon.

Sincerely,
Writer with no sense of professionalism.

Firstly, a quick look around the site shows one that we don’t tend to publish lists unless they’re different in some way. Also, I will not be wowed by someone who firstly doesn’t tell me a little about themselves; it takes a sentence to say “I’ve lived X, Y and Z and have a particular interest in this food/location/people/culture/language.” Or, “This really weird, cool thing happened to me, and after doing a Google search, I’m surprised to see no one has written about it. I think it would work for Galavanting for reasons A, B and C.”

Sure, Galavanting is an online publication and largely informal in tone. I don’t mind conversational pitches, but they should also be thoughtful, smart and, most importantly, resemble some form of acceptable human contact.

While we don’t publish everything, I don’t necessarily turn down a pitch just because of a topic (unless, of course, it’s not a fit for our audience or voice). I’m willing to work with writers on their pieces. A little research and professionalism go a long way, that’s all.

5. Similarly, what are the most common mistakes made by freelancers when pitching?

I don’t want to come off as more bitter than I actually am, so refer to the above, haha. I will add that the more specific a pitch is, the better. “How to Pack for a 3 month RTW trip” is much more compelling than “How to pack a carry-on.”

6. If you’ve got a stellar idea, which editor should you send it to? Can you provide the names and email addresses of the right people to connect with?

You can always drop me a line at joseph [at] gogalavanting.com or submissions [at] gogalavanting.com. I do my best to get back to those pitching either way.

7. Finally, what sets Galavanting apart from other travel websites that are available? Is there anything in particular about the site’s background that would be important for freelancers to keep in mind before pitching?

The Galavanting philosophy has always been about providing independent, smart travel editorial which, hopefully, empowers and inspires women to see more of the world around them. We love hearing from travelers with tips or stories, and welcome women from all walks of life to share a little bit of their adventures with us. We’ve also got the webseries, hosted by the fabulous editor-in-chief Kim Mance (and I’m not just saying that because she’s my boss), so be sure to check out how she galavants.

I want to invite writers, bloggers and freelance to pitch me with more service pieces (compelling “how-tos”) and travel tips that go beyond traditional topics found on other travel blogs. New voices will be considered equally alongside veteran travelers, so pitches are welcome!

Thanks, Joseph!

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