Getting Naked for Money: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All is an engaging and witty memoir written by my erudite but very down-to-earth travel writer friend and colleague, Edie Jarolim. Edie graciously agreed to sponsor a giveaway of her new book for readers of More Time To Travel.
Have you ever wondered whether the day-to-day life of a travel writer is as glamorous as it seems to be? Thought about the skills it takes to a launch such a career? Are you a woman of a certain age wondering what it would be like to travel solo? —–then you’ll want to read Edie’s book to get the inside scoop.
My Q &A with Edie is below. To be eligible for the giveaway, leave a brief comment below telling why you would like to win a copy of Getting Naked for Money.
Q & A with Edie Jarolim
1) What was your intent in writing this book: memoir, catharsis, cautionary tale to prospective travel writers?
All of the above, though I didn’t know it in advance. Getting Naked for Money (GNFM) was on my writing backburner for probably a dozen years, so finishing it was definitely cathartic.
In general, people can only know selected parts of other people’s lives. That’s even truer when you are a freelancer and on the road a lot, which limits social interaction. Many people, including friends and acquaintances, thought I led an exciting, glamorous existence. I wanted to set the record straight.
But there was an added benefit that I didn’t know about until I finished the book. Writing a memoir is a way to make sense of your life, to see it as a narrative like any other narrative—including fictional ones. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling you haven’t accomplished much because there’s so much more you could do. Looking back, I saw I’d accomplished quite a bit – and in fashion that was less hit-and-miss than I’d imagined.
As for being a cautionary tale – well, the reviews on Amazon confirm that. One commenter writes, “This is a book I would love to have read at the start of my writing career for some guidance by example. But I probably enjoyed it more because I am more than 20 years into travel writing (and other kinds of writing), and what Edie Jarolim writes is the truth.”
2) I know that this project evolved from a Kickstarter project. Why did you choose to go that route rather than conventional publishing?
I published four books in the traditional fashion, three travel guides and one dog guide. The first three–Frommer’s San Antonio, The Complete Idiot’s Travel Guide to Mexico’s Beach Resorts, and Arizona for Dummies–were part of a series and therefore not creative endeavors. Am I Boring My Dog? And 99 Other Things Every Dog Wishes You Knew was the first book that was strictly my idea from start to finish and I was really disappointed in how little support I got from the publisher. Nothing personal; that’s just the way things are today.
I knew I was going to have to work hard to market GNFM so I thought I might as well get all the financial benefits. Raising funds through Kickstarter gave me an opportunity and impetus to finish my book – and it was also a form of pre-sale as well as pre-publicity. My contributors were buying my memoir in advance. And they were rooting for me.
3) You start off the book with an assignment to cover a story for More magazine at a buck naked resort. What was the most interesting assignment you’ve had as a travel writer? Was it this one? Why?
Going to a nudist resort was definitely my strangest assignment, but being assigned to update Frommer’s Egypt was the most interesting. I’d loved Egypt since I was a kid, and the opportunity to go there as a researcher was a dream come true. The trip was not without its glitches, as GNFM discloses, but the country never disappointed me.
4) Which of your written works are you most proud of (book or article)? Why?
This memoir, no question. It was the most difficult to write; I had to work very hard to make it look easy. But the response to it was everything I could have hoped for and more (well, except for the part where it becomes an instant best seller). Readers have really embraced it, and said it made them laugh as well as think, which was my goal.
5) Given all the information on the internet, are travel guides dead?
No. People still want guidance from experts, from someone who has had enough experience to know what they’re talking about – now more then ever. Travelers are faced with a glut of information, much of it from the restaurants, attractions, and destinations themselves. Travelers need help in sifting out the truth from the hype. Guidebooks are now more portable if you read them on Kindle; you can bring along more than one.
6) If an aspiring travel writer asked you for advice, what are three specific things you would tell him/her?
- Focus first on your writing. There’s nothing a travel editor dreads more than to get a query along the lines of “Would you send me to [x glamorous destination]? I really love to travel.” Lots of people love to travel. Not everyone can write (though the internet would have you believe otherwise). Hone your craft and find your voice.
- Be open to experience. The best travel writing reveals something new – about a country, about the people in it. You can’t be a successful travel writer – or human being, for that matter – if you traverse the world with pre-conceived notions that you’re unwilling to let go of.
- Be willing to work hard. Travel writing is a dream job for many, many people. Pay your dues. Start with pitching local publications. Interact with others in the comments section of travel blogs. Offer guest blogs tailored to them. Don’t expect people to pay attention to you without paying attention to them – and their editorial needs — first.
Edie Jarolim earned her Ph.D. in English and American literature from NYU and worked as a guidebook editor at Frommer’s, Rough Guides, and Fodor’s before moving to Tucson, Arizona, to become a freelance writer (or, as her mother might have put it, “You left your good job in New York to go where? To do what?).
She has authored five books, including this memoir, and her articles have appeared in publications ranging from Art + Antiques and Sunset to The New York Times Book Review, National Geographic Traveler and The Wall Street Journal.
Enter to win a copy of Getting Naked for Money: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.
- To enter, simply leave your name below with a brief comment telling why you would like to read Edie’s book.
- One randomly selected entry will be chosen to win the paperback version of the book. If the winner selected lives out of the country, he/she will received a Kindle version.
- Contest ends at midnight December 31, 2016.
Congratulations to the winner of the giveaway, Barbara Rogers!
Can’t wait to read the book or purchase it as a gift for your favorite traveler? You can purchase a copy of Getting Naked for Money on Amazon.