Travel Writing 101: Date the embassy “chick”

Welcome to hell, Lonely Planet.

“They didn’t pay me enough to go (to) Columbia (sic),”

“I wrote the book in San Francisco. I got the information from a chick I was dating – an intern in the Colombian Consulate.

“They don’t pay enough for what they expect the authors to do.”

Thomas Kohnstamm, erstwhile author of Lonely Planet’s Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Colombia guidebooks (amongst others, above) has admitted to conducting his primary research via pillow talk rather than by visiting one of the countries in question, possibly providing the most spectacular way to demolish your travel writing career in one fell swoop.

I doubt that fraudulent guidebooks are a widespread trend at Lonely Planet, at least outside of the entirety of their South America catalogue. Surely there are some editors there that check the writer’s receipts.

It does however point out that unless you’re living in the Third World country that you’re writing about for them, it isn’t economically viable for many writers to just write Lonely Planet guidebooks. Even if you are doing subsidiary work for Tony and Maureen (e.g. providing content for the LP website; shooting photos) it is not likely that you’ll be able to make a First World living wage.

From: Author’s off the Planet.

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