Weekly Travel Writing Tip 6: Paper is better than digital
Is paper out?
In this digital age, do we still need paper?
What about the trees? Hey, is the footer of your e-mails not saying "Consider the environment before printing this e-mail" ?
True, why would we still print things? Most people have a PC and wireless networks are everywhere.
You don't need to bring your full size 17 inch laptop anymore, but for a couple of hundreds of Euros you get yourself a notebook, an Ipad or an Amazon Kindle.
While waiting for the train to arrive, one can read the daily newspaper on their Ipad. Instead of packing five heavy books to read on holiday, pack a three hundred grams weighing Kindle and have a choice of more than two hundred books. That's 1.5 grams a book. If you invest in an external memory card, you can bring books which don't weigh more than a couple of milligrams and have years and years of reading amusement.
Does this mean that we all have to focus on digital?
I think not.
How many of your favorite travel writers are bloggers? I mean, some of them will have a blog but is that what made you love them?
How many famous travel writers received their status from blogging?
Indeed, not that many.
Probably we haven't seen the end of this yet and chances are that within some time books and magazines will actually disappear, but at this very moment they still own the market of travel writing.
NomadicMatt may have more than two thousand RRS subscribers - and he's one of the best known travel bloggers - but that's nothing compared to National Geographic Traveler magazine, which has more than seven hundred thousand subscribers. Not counting the number of people who buy the magazine in the shop.
If people had to pay twenty five euros a year - the yearly membership price of NGT magazine - for reading NomadicMatt, how many subscribers would he have left?
Does this mean that NomadicMatt's writing stinks? Of course not! He's a very talented writer, just like lots of other travel bloggers out there. He's just not that recognized because he's not... on paper.
But maybe the best advantage of being a writer for printed magazines is that you can totally depend of your writing skills to secure your income.
If you want to become a well paid travel blogger, you need to be an all-round entrepreneur. Next to writing, you need at least some basic skills in web design, photography and preferably also videography. But most of all you need to have marketing skills. You need to be able to sell yourself to the readers and you need to be willing to spend hours and hours of your precious time doing this. But more about that next week.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that blogging is totally useless. Wouldn't that be bad marketing for my blog. What I'm trying to say is that getting rich and famous from blogging is very difficult.
Blogging is very cheap and everybody can do it. And in my opinion, that's also its problem. Everybody does it. It's hard to find the few good writers over the thousands of crappy blogs.
But a blog makes a great start, because at least your writing gets published. Even if you're a talented writer, it's very hard to get published in magazines when you don't have any references. You may have to write a hundred articles before one gets published.
So go ahead and blog, but keep in mind that there's always a next step: Paper.