Author Interview with Travel Writer Jody Robbins from Travels With Baggage

Jody Robbins at Canopee Lit

Birds of a Feather welcomes Jody Robbins to the nest

Jody Robbins has built a vibrant author platform around her “Travels with Baggage” brand. Her website combines Travel, Food, Parenting, Style, and Health & Wellness, and in addition to raising a family and traveling frequently she also loves trying new things.

Her latest endeavor is as an author, and Jody has just published her first book via a small independent publisher TouchWood Editions (who publish books about the Pacific Northwest). Jody researched a gap in the marketplace around an important national event with a specific audience segment in mind, and this led her to a book pitch that led her down the path to publication.

A Journey from Blogger to Author

How would you describe the type of books/genre you write?

25 Places in Canada Every Family Should Visit is my first book and it’s about family travel. I predominately write about lifestyle topics from cooking to outdoor adventure to health and wellness for magazines and newspapers across Canada.

What motivated you to start writing?

I’ve been a freelance writer for 7 years and never thought I had a book in me. Two years ago I realized Canada’s 150th birthday was going to be a big deal. I did some research and found very few books (besides traditional guide books) on travelling through Canada and none on family travel. That was all the impetus I needed.

Jody Robbins 25 Places in Canada Book Cover

Tell us the journey you went on to get your books published (e.g. direct on your website, self-published, assisted-publishing, traditional publisher)

Unlike most, I hadn’t written the book before sending my pitch. So much in this business is who you know, so instead of hitting up a major publisher I targeted a smaller one a friend recommended. I sent a bang up pitch outlining the book and how I already had an established presence with my blog and social media. I got a response within two days and a request for two sample chapters. I wrote those, sent them in, then waited. Four months later, I signed the contract.

What publishing elements do you most enjoy and most like to avoid, and why? (e.g. design, marketing, formatting etc.)

I’m a former marketer so I love getting my hands dirty in the marketing, PR and (much to my publisher’s dismay) the sales/placement side of things. Because I have a direct relationship with many publications we’d like to get an excerpt of my book in, it makes sense for me to approach the editor. Doing the index, gathering the photos, photo credits, etc… was gross, but that’s part of the package.

Jody Robbins Travels with Baggage

With the hindsight of being a published author, anything you would have done differently?

Well, my book didn’t come out until May 16, 2017, so I’m very interested to see if in the end, it’ll be worth it. Will I make any money? Will I be recognized as an expert on travel in Canada and family travel in general. Time will tell!

What tips or advice would you give an aspiring indie author who is looking to self-publish?

Do it, but don’t quit your day job. Make sure you have a way to connect with your readers on social and through a blog. Blogs are a great way to test ideas you want to include in your book. Talk to anyone you can find who’s self published before. They will have useful tips for you.

What marketing or promotional tools or techniques do you use to reach your readers?

All the usual social media suspects and my blog. I’ll also tap the publications I write for to see if they’ll do an excerpt. I’m a regular guest on TV, so you can bet I’ll ask to be referred to as the author of 25 Places in Canada Every Family Should Visit as well as bringing copies to be shown on the segment.

ROBINS Family_for web

What impact do you want your books to have on your readers?

If my book does anything, I hope it inspires people to explore their country (even if it’s not Canada) with their families. Our perceptions of the world are based on what we’ve experienced. You don’t have to fly across the world, but you do need to make a conscious effort to get off the couch.

What’s next on your writing journey?

Good question! For now it’s back to my day job writing travel articles for publications such as WestJet Magazine, Best Health, Today’s Parent and Canada’s PostMedia News. Having travelled to over 50 countries and having a knack for learning things the hard way,

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Jody Robbins Author Bio

Jody Robbins Travels with BaggageJody Robbins is an award-winning freelance travel and lifestyles writer based in Calgary, Canada. After ditching a career in international marketing, this former expat and explorer of over 50 countries is now a regular contributor to the Calgary Herald, Today’s Parent, Best Health and WestJet Magazine. She’s the founder of the popular blog,, cited as one of the top Canadian Travel Blogs and Influential Mom Blogs.

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