This weekend I’ll be attending the Travel Blog Exchange Conference in New York City. I’m also speaking on a panel about branding, finding a niche, and relevant self promotion with a few of my favorite travel writers; Debbie Dubrow (Delicious Baby – makes traveling with kids look so easy), Mike Richard (Vagabondish – A travelzine for today’s vagabond), Jessica Spiegel (Italy Logue – I want to go to Italy with each and every tweet!), AnneMarie Dooling (Frill Seeker Diary – everything you ever wanted to know about NYC), and Evelyn Hannon (JourneyWoman – an inspiration to all women). Here are just a few of the questions we’ll be addressing
What is your niche and how did you choose it: I didn’t choose it. It chose me. At first I wanted to write a fiction book about flying, a dark comdey about a serial killing flight attendant, but chick lit was popular back then and publishers wanted me to make it lighter and more fun. I refused. Then, when I got pregnant with my son, my brain turned to mush. That’s when I started blogging about juggling a professional career and family. In tracking the keywords that led readers to my blog, I noticed that most were airline- and travel-related. I updated the blog, moving more personal entries elsewhere and narrowing my focus to travel. Since I don’t spend that much of my travel time on the ground, I mainly write about life at 30,000 feet – dealing with difficult or eccentric passengers, answering air travel-related questions, or revealing the secrets to seat switching – things like that. The editors at the travel blog site Gadling.com asked me to write for them and soon after that Harper Collins approached me to write a book (scheduled to be released summer 2011). Something tells me I could sell that serial killing flight attendant book now! (Thanks to blogging.)
How do you differentiate yourself from the other people writing in your niche: I allow my personality to shine! When I first started writing, friends and family would say, “Oh don’t tell anyone what you’re writing about…” The truth is I can tell a million people what I’m writing about and exactly how I’m going to write it and no one is going to “sound” like me. Even if I were to experience the same thing at the exact same time as someone well-known in the travel writing industry like Wendy Perrin or Christopher Elliott, we’re going to come away with two different views due to our different experiences in life. Everyone has their own unique perspective and storytelling skills. Trust in them and don’t play it safe. Safe is boring – in my opinion
Yeah, that's me, the one standing in the aisle wearing flammable polyester...