Writing and Photo Guidelines
We’re excited that you’ve taken your travel experiences and turned them into an awesome story or guide that you want to share with BootsnAll’s monthly 1.5 million visitors.
Before you submit; however, please take a look at the writing and photo guidelines.
In general, we encourage each writer to let his or her own voice come through in the articles. However, we do have some guidelines to help you craft a better article, whether that be a feature, expert article, or traveler article/guest post.
- We use the down style of capitalization in our subheaders. So: it’s “When to go,” not “When to Go.” Titles are capitalized in title style “10 Reasons to Visit Iceland Now”
- The current editor believes in the Oxford Comma. Please use it. For example: We went to India, Thailand, and Vietnam on our trip. Not: We went to India, Thailand and Vietnam on our trip.
- Though your tone may be casual and informal, writing an article for BootsnAll is not the same as writing an email or a personal blog post. Watch your use of slang (unless you’re using it in dialogue) and never use all caps or multiple exclamation points for emphasis. If you must use italics or exclamation points for emphasis, use them sparingly.
- Avoid cliches like “an unforgettable experience,” “there’s nothing better than,” “a dream come true,” “picture-perfect,” “postcard-perfect,” “stunning views.” Saying “There’s nothing better than the unforgettable experience of seeing those picture-perfect stunning views,” tells the reader absolutely nothing. Stretch yourself to describe something in a better way. What makes this an unforgettable experience? Why are the views stunning?
- Avoid overly used phrases – quaint, charming, rustic, luxurious, awe-inspiring, breath-taking. Again, tell us why – why is this town charming, what makes the cabin rustic, what about this hotel is luxurious?
- Don’t make assumptions or sweeping generalizations. “Every traveler loves,” or “You can’t visit the island without seeing the.” Not every traveler loves that thing and many people probably do visit without seeing the item you say they can’t miss. Watch your use of “best” as well. What it makes it the best? Unless you can confidently say you know it really is the best, find another way to describe it.
- If you’re thinking about submitting a travel narratives, craft it in a unique way. We don’t want stories that simply say, “I went to London. Then I saw Big Ben. Then we went to a pub.” Leave out the boring parts. No one wants to hear the play-by-play of everything you did on your trip. Find the central story and concentrate on that. Focus on inspiring others to travel through your personal stories.
- Spell check and read through for grammatical errors. While we will make minor fixes, we will reject articles that have too many errors.
- Be link happy. If there are other sites out there with more information on a particular subject, link to them. Also feel free to add links to specific hotels, attractions, and restaurants that you cover in your article. However, if you are a company looking to place links in a “guest post,” please be aware that we will remove the links or offer you the opportunity for a sponsored post.
- Pay attention to the length. Features and expert articles generally range from 1200-2000 words. Please keep guest posts to no longer than 2500 words. Generally, articles under 800 words will not be accepted.
Every BootsnAll article needs beautiful, eye-catching photos. Photos are just as important as the content, so be sure that you have or can find relevant photos before you even begin writing. Don’t fall in love with your own photos, either. You should always check the Creative Commons (make sure they can be used for commercially) to see if there are any better photos out there. We can and will reject an article if the pictures aren’t up to the same quality as the writing.
Nearly all articles – features, expert articles, and traveler articles/guest posts should be split up into subheadings. You should have one photo for each subheading.
What makes a great photo
A great photo draws the reader in. In the case of destination pieces, it paints a clear picture of the place. A great photo produces an emotional reaction in the reader or makes them want to go to the place shown. A great photo also tells the same story as the text.
For example, if you’re writing an article about secluded beaches in the Caribbean and in the description of one, you talk about the beautiful cliffs that you can jump off of into clear blue water:
* a bad picture will show you, sitting on a chair drinking a pina colada with the cliff barely visible in the background
* a good picture will show the cliffs alone but maybe the water looks murky or the sky is cloudy and it’s about to rain
* a great picture will have sparkling blue water, a clear blue sky, and a diver, frozen in mid-jump, about to hit the water
Often, writers become attached to using their own photos, even if they aren’t the best for the story. It’s always worthwhile to look at some other photos and make sure yours really are the best fit for the piece.
In almost all cases, landscape-oriented (that is, wider than they are tall) photos work best with our formatting. Please try to not to use portrait oriented photos if you can help it.
Where to find photos
Any Creative Commons licensed photo will work. The easiest way to find photos is to go to here, click on “use for commercial purposes, and then search whatever your favorite site is (we’ve had the most luck with Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, and Google Images).
Once you have found a photo, you’re going to need to make sure it’s the right size for our formatting, which is 640px wide. If you’re using your own photos, simply use your favorite photo editor to re-size to 640px wide. We like Gimp – it’s free and easy to use.
If you are using any Creative Commons photos from a site like Flickr, they usually have a 640px option, so just make sure you choose that one when you save it.
When you submit your article, upload the photo to the submission form, and also send them to firstname.lastname@example.org via email (sometimes the uploader form doesn’t work perfectly).
At the bottom of your article, please credit the photos, in the order they should appear in the article, by linking the photographer’s profile name to the webpage of the photo in the following way:
If all are from creative commons: Photos by: link, link1, link2, link 3
If some of the photos are yours: Photos by: 1 – link1, 2 – link2, 5 – link3, 9 – link4, all others courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission
If all the photos are yours, just note: All photos courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission.
Thanks for taking the time to read this – and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.
The BootsnAll Editing Team