Pitching 101: How to Write for GoNomadTravel Writing — By Candace R on May 6, 2011 at 9:00 am
By Candace Rardon
LG Section Editor
GoNOMAD prides itself in going beyond the standard copy of a guidebook or glossy magazine. As the editors of the online travel magazine write, “Good travel stories are more than just pretty pictures and fluffy descriptions of exotic places: good travel writing is transformative, informative and thoughtful.” If you’re interested in writing well-crafted articles that are comprehensive in the detail and description they provide about a place or event, read on to discover how you can get involved. This week, The Lost Girls spoke with GoNOMAD’s general editor, Max Hartshorne, about what goes into a winning pitch for the website.
1. What sections are open to freelancers for pitching?
We are open to anything that’s well written, relevant, recent and has great photos. There are no specific sections but at this time we are partial to family, women’s and destinations we haven’t covered well, which are listed in the writer’s guidelines.
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?
We love list articles and topical pieces such as a story coming out this week about Luca Spaghetti and Eat, Pray, Love. We aren’t that interested in journals or too personal stuff….we like facts great photos and interesting writing, but ‘what’s in it for me?’ is the key. Tell the readers why we should care and what’s in it for them.
3. What makes a stellar pitch for GoNOMAD? Can you give some examples of pitches that were outstanding, including links to the final stories?
We look for a clever, topical pitch, a fun approach, and a stellar headline that an editor can’t resist. Here is one that we liked, about an area right near us:
Western Massachusetts used to be an area I would just speed by on the Mass Pike, on my way between Boston and upstate New York. I thought the Berkshires were just for classical music fans and those rich enough to “summer” at their “cottages” (that were actually mansions). But then, this past November, I won a Trazzler.com travel writing contest that offered a week-long trip to the Berkshires and an outlet to write about the region. As soon as I began my research, I realized that I had been missing out all these years.
I was easily charmed by the natural wonders, cooperative spirit, impressively fresh food, and creative enclaves I found in the Berkshires. Not only is it a beautiful, pleasant area (which I expected); I was surprised to find that it is edgy, hip, quirky, and innovative too. I sampled beer at a solar-powered brewery, heard live music at a venue tucked into the woods, and followed spray-painted arrows to underground art galleries.
So, what I am proposing for GoNOMAD.com is a feature article that would highlight what to see, do, and eat in the Berkshires, with a focus on the less obvious destinations. I can complete the article during January or February.
4. What doesn’t make a good pitch (ie, things that freelancers do that would never fly for the site).
If you’re trying to get us to link to your tour company business or other commecial endeavor and it’s obvious, we don’t want you to pitch to us. This happens regularly, as people act like we can’t tell it’s their way of free promotion.
5. Similarly, what are the most common mistakes made by freelancers when pitching?
Calling us and bugging us about when the story will run. An email follow-up is fine but we don’t want to deal with people calling us.
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 contact me, Max Hartshorne, at editor [at] gonomad.com.
7. Finally, what sets GoNomad 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?
That we’ve been publishing for more than ten years so writers should search the site to see what’s already been published so it isn’t a waste of time and repetitive for us and for them.