November 29, 2009

Guide Book Writing: Inside the Rough Guide

We have a new site where you can read all articles from This is Ghana in a much more organised fashion. Read Guide Book Writing: Inside the Rough Guide there.

This is a 2005 article but I thought it worth a mention since most readers are probably using some kind of travel guide book too. The Independent on Sunday published an article entitled

Guide special: You can't believe everything you read.

In the article Andrew Spooner writes about the reality on the road.
"My fee to cover Turkey - roughly 2,000 miles in 20 days on spine-bending local buses - is £700 (£400 up front). For an updating job like this there are no royalties rolling in over the years and, apart from my flight - some publishers won't even stump up for that - I have to pay all my own expenses. My brief is to update information in more than 25 towns for several hundred restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels and guesthouses. Then I have to check local tour operators, bus services, maps and every other detail of the book. After that has been done, I must find new stuff and re-write the text.

In one of the guidebooks I worked on, details of a hotel that was set in a remote location hadn't been updated for almost a decade and four editions. The hotel's name, its owners, management, style, telephone number and every other conceivable detail had changed. But why would a jobbing writer who is earning less than £20 a day from which expenses have to be paid, want to travel miles out of their way for one line in an 800-page book?"
I've relied on a few guide books where it seems like no updates are done over several editions, the same contact numbers wrong every time. Now I have a sense of why.

Anyway, on a slightly different note, itineraries coming up shortly. I'm tweaking and adding a few places I hadn't originally planned to include. Until then...

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