Lots of us are blogging these days, and many of us are not certain why we are doing it. Scott Rosenberg spoke at the last Left Coast Writers Literary Salon from his new book, Say Everything, about the history of blogging (which is ten years old, in its current form!). Reviewers call the book “elegantly accessible” and “certain to be a classic.”

Scott also provided some insight into the future of blogging. Here are some of my notes from his talk:

One of the reasons blogging is important is because writing in public—blogging—helps us develop ideas. [Blogging is a particularly good medium for that because of its immediacy and democracy.]

What defines a blog?
Generally, it’s 1) personal, it 2) has lots of outbound links, and 3) the latest post is on “top.” (No interminable internal editorial meetings to determine which story will be the lead.)

Is blogging going to go away?

Is it going to change?

If you missed Tim Cahill in conversation with Don George at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference last week, you can catch up with this FORA.tv link. It took a long time to load, and I had to watch a 12-second commercial for Charmin Ultra Soft tissue before the main feature began, but after that it was excellent.

The whole video is an hour and twenty minutes, but it’s conveniently split up into about 30 shorter clips that are each only a few minutes long.

Here’s a link to an article on Matador by Lauren Quinn, written after she attended my favorite travel writing conference, the (18th annual) Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographs Conference.

Lauren writes, “Two days later, my brain is still buzzing with ideas, inspiration and information. As I’ve been catching up on sleep and attempting to sort it all out, these are the top 5 lessons that have floated to the top, the froth of the golden brew.” (Use the link above for the rest of the article.)

October 4, 2009
10:00 amto5:00 pm

Lisa Alpine and Carla King are offering a seminar on self-publishing from 10:00 – 5:00 on Sunday, October 4th, 2009, at Fort Mason Center.

Here’s the scoop:

“You’ll learn everything you need to know to do it yourself:

  • What the various POD printers, online services, and distribution companies do (and don’t do) for you
  • How to outsource: book design, mailing list management, blogs, and other essential tasks
  • What to watch out for when using POD “subsidy” publishers
  • Options for distribution and fulfillment
  • How to use your eBook to sell your print book

Laurie McAndish King’s article about quirky and helpful websites for travelers originally appeared in Examiner.com in April:

Travel fares are temptingly low these days, but all travel is not equal. Here are some websites to help you find the best seats and meals, avoid dangerous destinations, stay healthy, comply with travel regulations, get through airport lines more quickly, purchase travel insurance, and more.

  • Airlinemeals.net is the “world’s first website about nothing but airline food,” which is currently displaying “more than 17,000 photos from more than 520 different airlines. Monthly, we receive 300 new meal pictures.” There are also photos of what the airline crew eats, food from airline lounges, and behind-the-scenes photos from airline caterers.

waterchallengeDick Jordan’s Contra Costa Times article about the Bay Model is a good example of seeing local hidden gems as attractions worthy of travel articles. And check out his Blogspot website, Tales Told from the Road, which does a great job of incorporating Facebook, Twitter, a photo slideshow, and an RSS feed. Nice work, Dick.


June 13, 2009 | 2 Comments

Thanks to Arvis Northrup for telling me about Trazzler.com, which uses “virtual teleportation” to place you “emotionally into specific moments and locales all over the planet.”

What I think is most interesting about Trazzler is that, as a travel writer, you can submit a short post to Trazzler that links to your longer articles elsewhere on the web, and thus drive traffic to your other articles. In fact, Trazzler encourages this: “You are always free to republish anything that you submit to Trazzler or to submit previously published (copyright-friendly) material that is edited to fit Trazzler’s style. Published Trazzler trips always come with a prominent credit/byline for the author, appear on a profile that you can customize, and look professional, so please feel free to use them to promote yourself and your writing.”

Apture: Super Links

April 30, 2009 | 3 Comments

Thanks to Cheryl McLaughlin for this link to a demo video on Scobleizer.com to a way-cool service (free to small-time bloggers) called Apture, which “makes it easy to add contextual images, videos, reference guides, links, maps, music, news, documents and books to your blog to create a connected media experience that keeps readers engaged on your site.”

By the way, I can’t think of a better way to get up to speed on “new media” than by picking Cheryl’s brain.


April 29, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Polldaddy.com is a free service that lets you create and administer polls and surveys by embedding them into a post or article. Sounds like a useful tool for people who want to develop online communities. You can change the appearance of the poll, integrate the poll into your WordPress blog (I didn’t use the WordPress-specific function here), include images and video in your poll, subscribe to the results of the poll in an RSS feed, set survey response paths using conditional branching, create custom start and finish pages, and more.

To see how it works, answer this poll:

wai-naniTravel writer Linda Ballou offers beginning travel writers a free e-book called How to Make Travel Writing Work for You. Linda explains, “My report is written to those who are not going to try to make a living at travel writing, but just want to get around to places they couldn’t get to otherwise.”

Get the free report by providing your name and email address at Linda’s website, after which the PDF download will appear. And while you’re there, check out Linda’s book, Wai-nanai, High Chiefess of Hawai’i.

These three “inexpensive customisable photography sites” are recommended by the British Guild of Travel Writers:

IFP3 Advanced Photo Websites
Create Your Own Website. Be Live in 5 minutes.

* Unlimited Images, Pages and Galleries
* Easily Sell Your Images
* No Credit Card Needed for trial
* No Fees or Commissions on Sales
* Full Search Feature Integrated into Your Site
* No Set Up Fees – & Hosting is Included

Our simple and intuitive interface makes SiteWelder easy-to-use for computer novices and experts alike. with the Site manager it’s easy to upload photos, create galleries, make Flash slideshows, and edit text on pages. No computer programming required!

Thanks to Marc Longwood for this link to the British Guild of Travel Writers site.

Start by logging in to your WordPress site with your username and password.

Remember that the login info is case-sensitive, so you have to be sure to use capital letters in the right places.

  • In this case, I’m logging in to TravelWritersNews.com
  • Be sure you add “/wp-admin” (without quotation marks) to the end of the URL.
  • WordPress updates to a new version from time to time, so it may look a little different than you remembered, but the process of creating a post stays the same.

Flip Video

February 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Flip Video Cam

Flip Video Cam

Maybe it’s premature, but I’m flipping for the Flip video camera. Just bought the $150 version a few days ago, then got a notice today from Amazon.com that the $129 version is on sale for $69.99.

It’s small, easy to use (although limited in capability), produces high-quality images … and the built-in USB port makes it easy to upload images. Limited editing capabilities are built in.

For more info, check out the website.

From Alison at V!VA Travel Guides:

“V!VA Travel Guides invites talented and enthusiastic writers to apply for its 2009 Travel Writing Boot Camps.

“The V!VA Boot Camp is a weeklong crash course in which students will gain valuable insight into the world of travel guidebook writing through instruction from seasoned professionals. Attendees will find out what editors want, learn how to work with multimedia outlets and improve writing skills through daily critiques. Students may also have the opportunity to stay “on assignment” in the host country after the course.

“Find out what you need to know to travel, get published and get paid!

After reading this article titled 8 Ways that Twitter can Grow your Freelance Business I’ve started Twittering. Intermittantly. (My Twitter name is LaurieKing; follow me if you can.)

Thanks to Gayle Keck for sending this best rejection slip ever, translated from a Chinese economic journal. (Gayle did not receive the rejection letter; she just read about it.)

“We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity.”

WordPress Lessons

December 28, 2008 | 2 Comments

Here’s a link to the WordPress HELP section that includes lessons o:

  • Introduction to Blogging
  • First Steps with WordPress
  • Design and Layout
  • Creating Individual Pages
  • Using Images
  • and lots more


December 6, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Thanks to John Montgomery for sending the link to Ozmo: Ozmo is the easy and convenient way to license content on the web. When you see the Ozmo link on content, users know it’s legal and creators know they’re getting paid for their work. It’s a win-win for buyers and sellers.

By Karsten Weide, posted on Webguild: More than half of U.S. consumers with Internet access use social networking services (SNS), such as Facebook and MySpace, and penetration will continue to grow. According to a new study from IDC, consumers are also spending ever-greater amounts of time on SNS, a fact that has advertisers drooling over the opportunity represented by SNS. IDC found that consumers who use SNS also tend to visit the services often and spend a lot of time per visit. More than three quarters of SNS users visit at least once a week, and no less than 57% visit Read more

November 5 press release:  Washington, DC – Roger Dow, President and CEO of the Travel Industry Association (TIA), today released the following statement on President-elect Barack Obama’s historic victory:

“America’s travel community congratulates President-elect Obama and pledges our support to the new Administration as it tackles two of the most daunting challenges facing America today: improving the U.S. economy and strengthening America’s image in the international community. Travel is uniquely positioned to address both of these challenges.

December 13, 2008
6:00 pmto10:00 pm
Ginny's Farm © Marc Longwood

Fine art photography exhibition by members of Sacramento’s The Focus Group, featuring the diverse photographic imagery of 13 prominent Sacramento photographers: Marc Longwood, Hal Hammond, Dave Brooks, Ron Busselen, Randy Snook, Janine Mapurunga, John Swain, Donald Satterlee, Richard Tolmach, John Palmer, Hope Harris, Gene Kennedy and Mike Powers.

Free reception open to the public on Saturday, December 13, 2008 from 6-10 p.m.

Location: Beatnik Studios
2421 17th Street (17th and Broadway)
Sacramento, CA  95818

Show is up now through December 23, 2008.
Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 6-9 p.m.

Russia photo books

December 4, 2008 | 1 Comment

Curious about what Russia looks like today, and how her citizens are adapting to a democratic society?  Jim and I visited in September, and filled two 100+ page travel journals with lively photos and commentary. They’re available as free downloads until the end of 2008.

Book #2 (just out), Russia 2, includes photos of Russia’s two magnificent cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg: this volume showcases grand palaces, sprawling museums, city scenes, centuries’ worth of art, modern outdoor sculpture, the Hermitage, Catherine’s Palace, GUM department store (converted into an upscale shopping mall), the famous Moscow metro, Peterhof, Tretyakov Gallery, the Park of the Fallen Idols, and more.

Travel Writers Exchange is a great site for beginning travel writers, with Top Ten lists (Top 10 Photography Tips, Top 10 Travel Writing Jobs, etc.), ideas to help you network, get published, and get paid, and lots more. Its tone is a little annoying (“Exclusive! Inside Secrets to Publishing from Editors and Publishers!”), but the content and organization are both excellent.

The Society of Professional Journalists (Improving and protecting journalism since 1909) is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 10,000 members; works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts.”

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