Travelblather

Making travel guide writing work for everyone – give writers royalties

Why don't guidebook publishers pay their writers decent royalties?

There have been loads of posts all over the place about Thomas Kohnstamm's book  which allegedly reveals all sorts of short cuts that travel guide writers take to get the job done. Mainly because the pay is so poor, it's simply not finanically feasible to put in the amount of on the ground research needed, so people crib stuff from the net or worse still make it up!? There's some interesting commentary from Chris Taylor writing in Australia's  The Age Like Kohnstamm he too is an ex-Lonely Planet author. He very correctly points out that using freelance writers and paying them a fixed fee as is the case for almost all travel guide publishers these days (as far as I know) is hardly going to make for writers who are committed to going the extra mile to get the most accurate guide they can. And he's right.

And the solution? It's blindingly obvious: give guidebook writers royalties. Give them more ownership of the copy instead of treating them like copy monkeys. The better the book they write, the more it should sell and the more they should earn...

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