Interview with travel blogger Colby Burke

Posted by JaamZIN on 10:29 AM
Colby Burke is a Hilton Head based travel blogger and freelance writer. Today we get the chance to interview him and find out how he got started in the travel writing niche as well as some of the insider secrets that he wishes to share with other aspiring writers.

As a writer is it safe to assume that you have been rejected during the beginning stages? If so, how did you handle those rejections? What advice would you give to new, or aspiring, writers about coping with rejections?

Absolutely! I spent a lot of time building my skills and establishing a client base. Although I always had a vision of "Colby Burke Hilton Head" in the back of my mind, I did not have a clear-cut way of reaching it at first. So, I had to dedicate a lot of my time and resources to establishing a fruitful business plan. After a while, people began approaching me for independent work and I established a reliable source of orders.

Nonetheless, the rejections were quite common. In fact, no writer will reach profitability without going through the wringer. A great way to cope with such situations is to not dwell on the outcomes that you cannot control. After all, when you lose a bid for work or someone stops ordering from you, there is little that can be done. The easiest way to overcome those stages is to focus on other opportunities.

What made you decide to hone in on travel guides as your main writing niche? Do you see yourself doing a travel guidebook in the future or are you sticking with digital writing for the moment?

It was a semi-unexplored niche that I was very passionate about. I spent some time looking for others who were writing in this field as I was curious about their ideas. After a while, however, I realized that there is a clear lack of writers who focus on travel guides. Well, given my interests and newly discovered skills in writing, I decided to tap into this unexplored market and begin making a name for myself. Now, I am very proud to say that doing so was the right decision as the moderate lack of competition made it possible for me to focus on writing instead of trying to outdo everyone else.

What are some of your favorite travel guides that you’ve written over the years?

It is hard to focus on just a few since I created hundreds. I will say, however, I mostly enjoy writing about small, unexplored places that most people are unaware of. So, some that come to mind include certain regions of Boston that I covered during my trip to Massachusetts as well as rural areas of West Texas. Then again, I could spend hours discussing a lot of the travel guides that covered cities on the West Coast. In the end, it all comes down to my personal preference that changes frequently.

Have you ever had an exceptionally good editor that you’ve worked with? Don’t feel like you have to share their name - just how the experience went.

Definitely. In fact, most of the editors that I have worked with thus far have been incredible. I could even go as far as to say that they carry as much as half of the credit for all of my success. When you think about the writing process, most people overlook the many different benefits of having a solid editor. After all, they are the ones who represent the final level of checks and balances that will prevent you from publishing anything that is less than perfect. More importantly, some of the editors that I have relied on have helped me draw inspiration for certain travel guides that I struggled with. Ultimately, the sheer versatility of skills that these professionals bring to the table is mind-blowing.

How many travel guides have you published online so far?

I am not entirely sure. The number is definitely counted in hundreds as I have been doing this for quite a while. Regardless, I do not really focus on the number of guides that I put out. Doing so is a mistake that many new writers fall for. Although it is good to have your name next to as many creations as possible, avoid overflowing the market with similar posts. For instance, creating dozens of travel guides that sound almost the same is a quick shortcut to losing clients. Instead, prioritize quality and innovation. After a while, you will start reaching high numbers anyway. So, trying to get there faster is not a smart decision.

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