Travel nonfiction books exist for a reason.
Why shouldn’t they when the world is so full of journeys to take and adventures to share? For that matter, why shouldn’t they when so many people don’t get to experience such things on their own?
In their entire long lifetimes.
There are, of course, a wide range of reasons why people tend to stay so close to home. Some don’t have the money to go anywhere outside of their region or country or bracket. The further you want to go, after all, the more crazy expensive getting there is going to be.
Some don’t have the time to go anywhere outside of their however-many-mile (or kilometer) radius.
And others are deathly afraid of flying. Like so many fellow non-travelers out there, all they can think of when it comes to purchasing airfare is the idea of getting airborne… only to go crashing down in a fiery wreck.
If that describes you, I apologize. I probably didn’t help at all there.
Fortunately, with travel nonfiction books, you never have to put yourself in that position. Forget the 1 in 1.2 million chance you have of boarding a fateful flight or the 1 in 11 million chance you have of actually dying in a plane crash…
You can reduce that possibility to a big, fat zero, learning all about the world by letting someone else gamble with their life. Pop up that footrest, open up that can of Coke and crack open your Kindle.
You’ve been transported to a whole ‘nother world.
And if that’s not you – if you’re fine taking the risk of going up in twisted metal and burning fuel – you’re in luck too! Because you’re uninhibited. You can hop on your planes and trains and cruise ships… write all about it... and then sell your travel nonfiction book to people who can’t or won’t.
Which, again, is most people. Great audience to work with, right?
Backpacking across Europe. Taking a train ride through China. Checking Africa off your bucket list. And then writing a book about it.
That’s what travel nonfiction is all about: exploring the world and sharing those explorations with however many people you can.
If that sounds very much like a memoir, that’s understandable. In many ways, travel nonfiction is. Just a very specific type of memoir that’s all about seeing the sights.
It should also be noted that writing travel nonfiction – the kind that has a chance of selling – needs to have some kind of edge or angle to it. Gone are the days when you could just jaunt off to travel through France, then write all about it.
I mean, you could. But it’s not going to make a major splash as a travel nonfiction book. Maybe as something else, but we’ll talk more about that on Friday.
For now, just recognize that someone else has already been there and done that when it comes to hitting up all the major French fare or similar pursuits. In fact, enough people have that it’s not really exciting to anyone anymore outside of those people’s own immediate circles.
That is unless you have some previously un-thought-of perspective to put into play. Don’t ask me what exactly. That’s your job to figure it out.
So good luck with that! Just to be safe, I’d suggest starting out with Thursday’s Challenge for how-to tips on successfully writing a travel nonfiction book.
It’s a big one.