AWAI’s Tom Schueneman Is Looking for Travel Writers
A graduate of both our copywriting and travel writing courses, Tom Schueneman currently publishes his own website and e-zine in addition to doing travel writing. You may remember our interview with Tom last November, when he told us how he got started in his new career. Recently, we caught up with him after he returned from Paris, where he attended the second Travel Writing Workshop sponsored by AWAI and International Living.
TGT: When we last talked, your e-zine, "The Traveler," had around 600 or 700 subscribers. How is it doing now?
TS: Great! We're up to 1,500 subscribers. It's exciting to see my little e-zine steadily growing. Since I'm wearing all the hats – publisher, editor, copywriter, and contributing "freelance" writer – I'm continuing to learn a lot about the process of building and holding onto an audience.
There are so many newsletters out there. Why would anybody subscribe and read my e-zine? What's in it for my readers? Thats the question I keep asking myself as I put each issue together.
I use what I've learned in the copywriting course to help me focus on my readers and how I can make "The Traveler" beneficial for them. And I've found that Jen's course on Travel Writing has been a great help to me in organizing my research and planning articles for inclusion in "The Traveler" as well as for submission to other publications. The 7 templates of good travel articles, tips on writing well, the ins and outs of the travel writing business, everything I've learned at AWAI all of this I have put to use in the "real world."
TGT: You recently attended our Travel Writers Workshop in Paris. Tell us about it.
TS: Yes! Oui! What a magnificent city! What a magnificent experience!
Well, first of all, you're in Paris. And you're not in Paris merely as another tourist. You're there as a travel writer with an assignment. Part of the curriculum of the workshop is to write a short piece "on spec" for International Living. If you really want to get a feel for being a travel writer, there's nothing better than traveling to Paris "on a mission." This is a city that has been written about thousands of times. Our task was to go out there and find something interesting and unique about it. (Hmm … "unique" where have we all heard that before? Turns out that many of the concepts I learned in the copywriting course – like the "four U's" – apply to travel writing as well.)
TGT: What do you think that was the best part of the workshop?
TS: Honestly, all the sessions over the three days had something important to offer – and being able to interact with the other attendees is a great way to learn.
Since attending the workshop, I definitely feel more prepared and confident about submitting my articles to outside publications. We learned how to approach editors, how to find story ideas, how to research a story, the formula for putting together a good travel article, how to write headlines that will get an editor's attention (we wrote a lot of 'em), and even what editors don't want.
And then to top it all off, there's the "Little Black Book" that all the attendees received. It lists more than 100 resources for travel writers (including my website TouristTravel.com and my e-zine, "The Traveler," where you can research, book travel, and get published as well!)
There's even a website that lists the submission requirements for dozens of publications. Another one – Travelwriters.com – has press releases, press trips, and a site where you can syndicate your articles. [See below to learn how you can get a copy of this exclusive Little Black Book.]
TGT: Are you planning on publishing any stories written by attendees of the Paris workshop in The Traveler?
TS: Yes, definitely. I was very impressed with the level of writing that I saw there – and I am looking forward to getting submissions from my fellow attendees. I know that they're serious and have received great instruction.
I'm happy to be able to give new writers a clip and a byline. Of course, nobody is going from "The Traveler" to Conde Naste in one fell swoop – but I'm a paying publication. It's a start! Anyone interested in submitting articles can get my guidelines. If you're interested, subscribe and read a few issues. It's free. All you have to do is visit TouristTravel.com.
TGT: Any parting words for our members?
TS: I'd sincerely like to encourage anyone serious about travel writing to consider attending AWAI's next Travel Writing Workshop. Believe me it's well worth it!
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