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An Update to the Best Travel Writing Book

A few months ago I published a strange combination of ranting about Google’s awful search results lately and unearthing very old (and too short) posts of mine to show a history of the Cheapest Destinations Blog. This old-school post did rather well. The boss of the internet will never rank it, but enough followers cared, so I’m continuing the theme this week with my latest book release: an update to the best travel writing book available.

the best travel writing book by Tim Leffel

If you want to stop right here because you have zero interest in travel writing, blogging, or any other kind of publishing related to where you’ve been, I won’t be offended if you stop right here. Maybe go check out one of the most popular posts instead.

If you’re still with me though, here’s the news: the third edition of Travel Writing 2.o is out in the world, available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, or even your local bookstore if you can get them to order it for you. (Tell them that they get their regular discount through Ingram.) It’s an e-book, it’s a paperback, and maybe one of these days I’ll even put out an audiobook if it looks like the demand is there. Purchase links are here.

Here’s why you should get it if you’re remotely interested in earning money from your travels. 

An Honest Look at Travel Writing Income

The first edition of Travel Writing 2.0 came out in 2010 and at the time, what I was postulating in there seemed inevitable to me but a little scary for the profession. I predicted that newspaper travel sections would die out, many of the magazines travel writers contributed to would soon be out of business, and that travel TV shows were on shaky ground.

In ten years or less, I predicted, most travelers would be getting their information from blogs and online magazines, YouTube, and social media. They’d be researching and booking on their phone as much as a computer. 

The obvious solution to this was, in my eyes, owning what you produce as a publisher instead of being a pen for hire, but maybe supplementing that with some freelance work too for additional income and publicity. I was pushing hard for everyone to diversify their income sources. Depending on one stream of income from one source is dangerous, no matter how big it is. 

The second edition of this best travel writing book came out when the the print media decline was getting clearer and many of those predictions I made in 2010 were coming true. Perhaps because of this, the second edition sold better than the first one.

I spoke at writers’ conferences, I kept interviewing writers and editors for the travel writing blog that has been up since 2010, and I launched a course for those who were ready to step up: Travel Writing Overdrive. Now more than 100 students have been through that course, only open twice a year, and many have doubled or tripled their income after. 

travel writing book author on stage

I think this book has done well for two reasons. The first is that I’m not selling a dream: no “get paid to travel the world and drink cocktails on the beach” promise like most of the books and courses use as a come-on. I show real numbers of what writers, bloggers, and videographers are earning.

I also discuss how long it took them to get to that point and the struggles I and they went through. I talk about how many income streams they have and include lots of quotes from real practitioners. 

The Earnings, Not the Craft

Perhaps the main reason this book has outsold most of the other travel writing guides out there is that those are mostly about the craft of travel writing, focusing a lot on narrative travel stories that most writers only spend a fraction of their time on. The best travel stories in the world aren’t worth anything if they’re not published anywhere, so I concentrate instead on what people are actually reading, the content that earns money. For better or worse, that’s mostly service pieces: how-to, listicles, reviews, and round-ups. 

The Travel Writing 2.0 book is meant for two kinds of travel content creators: those just starting out and those who want to up their income. For the first I’m painting a realistic picture, with no fluff or empty promises. I spell it out that a new blogger is probably not going to make much money the first two years, that they probably won’t earn a real living until the third.

I don’t dance around the fact that a freelance writer is going to get 100 rejections before they start earning more than $1,000 per month from their writing. That a videographer needs to be doing brand deals and commissions since the earnings from YouTube are paltry unless you reach millions. That there are very few staff jobs in this field and those come with the threat of layoffs hovering over them at all times.

This is the best travel writing book for those who want to see a realistic path to success, not a perky cheerleading book that glosses over the hurdles you’ll have to jump. 

Once you get to the point of some success though, travel writing and travel video creation can be a really fun job. I’ve dispatched articles from five continents, spent months on the road without my income taking a hit, and have more places to go still that are lined up for this year and next. Much of the time those travels are paid for or I know I’ll earn back more than what I spent. At the very least, the expenses are a tax write-off. 

Tim Leffel influencer blogger editor

I could be making more money in another field. I did make more money when I had a cubicle job for a tech company and life was much more predictable. I’d rather be interested in what I’m doing every day though and be looking forward to a stream of adventures. Go check out my Instagram feed for the byproducts of the work I do. 

Get Your Copy of the Best Travel Writing Book

If you feel the same way and you’d like to become a travel writer, travel blogger, or some other type of content creator, pick up the third edition of Travel Writing 2.0 here. You’ll find links to the various Amazon stores, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. It’s also at the Apple store and your local real bookstore can order it from Ingram, with their standard discount. 

If you’re already a travel writer and you want to step up your game, get the new edition or, if you want more of a sure thing with some consultation, get on the notification list here for Travel Writing Overdrive

Next post we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming…