Editor Q&A with Conor O’Brien of International Living

In Editor Interviews by Susan Maccarelli | |

Editor Q&A with Conor O'Brien of International Living

Please welcome to the Editor’s Q&A corner International Living magazine Managing Editor, Conor O’Brien. Conor gives us the latest on how you can contribute to their paid writing opportunities including newsletters and their intriguing magazine, pay rates, details about their readers and writers and much more!

Q: International Living is a monthly magazine and also offers several newsletters, events and even real estate alerts. Tell us about IL in your own words.

A: IL is the premier resource for people looking to retire, work, and generally enjoy a more fulfilling and affordable life overseas.

Conor Obrien, International Living

Managing Editor of International Living, Conor O’Brien

Q: What can you tell us about your readers?

A: Our readers are primarily retired North Americans, interested in discovering a better retirement for less overseas. Some of them might have other goals, such as enjoying a life of travel, buying or building a business abroad, or looking for opportunities to invest or offshore their wealth.

Q: Let’s start with the newsletters. Tell us about the types of submissions you like to publish in the Daily Postcards newsletter. 

A: For the daily postcards, we typically look for submissions on expats enjoying their dream life for less abroad. Ideally, they should be retired (though this is not essential), and if they only live abroad part-time that’s fine. We look for information on their lifestyle, cost of living, accommodation, and motivation for making the move, as well as the romance of the destination they’ve chosen to call home. The more great quotes we can get in there, the better.

Q: Pieces published in Daily Postcards are compensated $75. Besides payment (yay!), why do writers like to write for your newsletters?

A: Writing for us gives writers the chance to publish their work to a large audience (some 500,000 in the case of the daily postcards) as well as work with a reputable publishing house, with editors that can help them improve their writing going forward.

Q: Your other newsletter, Fund Your Life Overseas, also accepts writing submissions and pays $75 if accepted. Tell us about the types of submissions you like to publish in this newsletter.

A: Fund Your Life Overseas typically looks at younger, working-age expats who are earning an income overseas. These are the ideal profiles for this newsletter. But we also run pieces on opportunities for earning an income abroad, such as trends that the reader could capitalize on.

Q: What is the process for submitting writing for newsletter consideration?

A: For the daily postcards, you can contact Postcards@internationalliving.com. For Fund Your Life Overseas, it’s Sormond@internationalliving.com.

Full submission guidelines can be found here.

Q: Let’s talk about the print magazine International Living. Can you give us some details about the content you like to publish.

A: The magazine has a broader scope than either the daily postcards or Fund Your Life Overseas. As well as profiles of retired expats and people earning abroad (ideally older people, maybe only earning a side-income) we also publish travel pieces (both long and short) as well as exploration-type pieces on locations that might be of interest to expat retirees. Real estate is another topic we cover – especially if there is a timely opportunity, like the chance to make a strong rental return or own an attractive home at a fraction of the U.S. cost.

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Q: What are the pay rates for the print magazine?

A: This varies depending on the length of article we publish (and it’s important to note that we pay per length published, not per length received). We pay $400 for a two-page article (around 1,400 words), $250 for a one-page article (around 900 words), $100 for a short, Savvy Traveler article (around 350 words) and $50 for a Globetrotter (a short, travel-y blurb on pages 4-5 of the magazine. Around 150 words).

Q: Are there any specific topics/themes you’d like to see more submissions address?

A: In the magazine, I’m open to retiree profiles from all over the world. In particular, I’m after profiles in countries such as France, Spain, the Philippines, Bolivia, Peru and Nicaragua. The ideal profile is of a retired North American, preferably not married to a local.

I’m also on the lookout for great travel articles from all over the world. When it comes to travel, I always say to writers that a great destination is not a great idea. So if a writer pitches a piece about Paris, I think “that’s not an idea, that’s a place.” But a piece on the Three Best Hidden Restaurants in Paris – now THAT’S an idea. With travel, the more insider-y and on-the-ground it feels the better. Our readers wants specific tips and recommendations, the kind of thing you cannot easily find online.

“With travel, the more insider-y and on-the-ground it feels the better.”

— Conor O’Brien, Managing Editor for International Living

Q: What is the process for submitting writing for consideration in the International Living print magazine.

A: You can send pitches or articles so Submissions@internationalliving.com.

Full submission guidelines can be found here.

Q: Are you open to hearing from newer writers whose international experience fits the bill, or do you focus more on professional writers with more experience?

A: I’m always open to new writers, regardless of whether they have professional experience or not. All that matters to me is that they have a good story idea, and are willing to make any revisions as instructed.

Q: What is next for International Living?

A: It’s an exciting time at IL. We’re constantly trying to explore new destinations and include more unique content. To keep doing this, we need great contributors. Which is why I’m always happy to hear from people.


About the Author

Susan Maccarelli

Susan Maccarelli is the creator of Beyond Your Blog, a site helping bloggers successfully submit their writing for publishing opportunities beyond their personal blogs. She also offers online training and consulting to new bloggers looking for direction on submitting their writing for publication. Susan has interviewed dozens of editors from publications like The New York Times, Huffington Post, Brain, Child, Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Washington Post, and speaks at many respected writing and blogging conferences.