Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Why Didn't Someone Tell Me: Denene Brox

I'm happy to introduce the first of two monthly interviews, Why Didn't Someone Tell Me and My Beginning on Travelers' Pen. With Why Didn't Someone Tell Me, we'll introduce you to other beginning travel writers and focus on the front side of travel writing --- the one where press trips are unavailable, rejection letters are frequent, and bylines are few. My Beginning will feature interviews from established travel writers talking about their start.

This month's Why Didn't Someone Tell Me interview is with Denene Brox, a freelance writer and co-founder of Travelers' Pen.

Name/Age: Denene Brox, 28

Favorite travel writer: Sarah Turnbull

Travel writing, part-time or full-time: PT

Name and publication of first published piece: Transitions Abroad magazine

# of published pieces: 3 travel plus some other general clips. I've got a number of articles coming soon!

Why travel writing?
Because I love to travel...I'm so passionate about travel and I love to write. I combined both passions. It's a great way to share your experiences with an interested audience.

When was the exact moment you wanted to become a travel writer?
When I kept getting my travel articles accepted and my other "general" magazine queries got zero! I took it as a sign from the Divine.

How long did it take to publish your first piece?
It took about 2 months to get an acceptance and then I had to wait several months for the issue to come out.

Your thoughts on non-paying markets.
I have mixed feelings. I think if you write for non-paying markets, it has to be a strategic decision. You have to stop and ask yourself "will this really help me move forward in some way?" There are many reasons to write for non-paying markets. For one if you're specializing in travel, it's a good way to get your name out there and get a readership. But if you feel like certain markets are "using" writers and there is no "good" reason why they don't pay, I stear away from them. There are markets out there that pay -- even if it's only $25! I think overall that writers work very, very hard and should be compensated for it unless there is a good reason why. That is totally up to the individual writer to decide.

I'll tell you this: When I was in Italy last year I saw an English language newspaper that was very well produced. They had an ad saying that they were seeking writers. When I emailed the editor to inquire about writing, he said that they don't pay. I found this disturbing because the paper had lots of advertising. I could see no reason why that paper couldn't offer their reporters SOMETHING! Afterall, without the writers there are no papers. I think that many pubs out there take advantage of the fact that so many people long to establish writing careers. Like I stated before, you just have to careful and evaluate your pros and cons.

What's your dream publication?
The book market. I want to write a travel narrative someday (soon)!

What do you feel is the state of travel writing, dead or alive?
Alive and well. People are always going to take trips and people are always going to want to read about faraway places.

What is your best/worse rejection?
All the rejections are tough. But I know that behind every disappointment there is a higher plan.

Finish this sentence: Why didn't someone tell me....
That writing queries is really really hard!

Advice for other beginning travel writers.
Take as many trips as your wallet will allow. And while on those trips keep a journal and write everything down. I was lax with this on my earlier trips. Keep track of restuarant names and menus (if you can take them), names of hotels. Get contact info of the people you meet along the
way.

Denene is the co-founder of Travelers' Pen. Learn more about her at http://www.born2travel.blogspot.com/

2 comments:

funchilde said...

great post guys!

funchilde said...

great interview!