Get Out of Your Box: Three Tips

We all have our specialized markets for articles and photos. Yours may center on hunting, fishing or hiking publications. I focus on boating magazines and write about cruising under sail, sailing regattas, boat designs, canoes, and anything else that floats on water. I’ve written for major U.S, publications as well as those in Europe, Asia, and Australia-New Zealand. For years I did well, but I was stuck in a box.

So I got to thinking about developing new markets. But where? How could I use my boating skills to approach a different type of publication? I started by reflecting on the issues that boaters face. How to stow equipment and supplies when space is limited? How to secure items that may be tossed about when underway? What emergency equipment might be needed?

TIP ONE: Take your skills and investigate where else your knowledge might apply. I recognized that these same issues confront people who operate motor homes, campers, and RVs, which are essentially cruising yachts on wheels. So I went online to look for publications dedicated to these markets. Up popped RV Life, where coincidentally I knew the editor. After explaining the parallels between cruising yachts and RVs in my query letter, the editor assigned me an article to write about exploring Idaho’s Panhandle by RV. The subsequent article, “Exploring Idaho’s Northern Exposure,” was well received and led to a subsequent piece, “Seeing London’s Olympics by RV.” Both stories won awards in the NOWA and OWAA EIC contests.

TIP TWO: Outdoor pursuits involve travel, so write about an area’s unique food, drink and accommodations.

When cruising, I would frequently pull into marinas hungry for a good meal and bottle of wine. Since boat owners tend to be high net-wealth individuals, they typically seek out fine dining and good wines. Putting these ideas together, my wife Risa Wyatt, a food and wine journalist, and I have written about cruising to destinations that offer gourmet foods, wines and beers in the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands. The articles appeared in BoatUS magazine.

TIP THREE: Apply your expertise to foreign markets. Sailors and yachtsmen all over the world face the same issues as American boaters. I now travel internationally to cover nautical themes, such as regattas in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Antigua, and Europe. My destination articles have featured Tahiti, Fiji, Australia, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden and elsewhere.

Now I’m looking into other areas where I have unknowingly boxed myself in, and look to break out of these confinements as well. For example, what about an article about small sailing vessels for anglers? Hmmmm?

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Peter Schroeder

Peter Schroeder



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