by Don George and Charlotte Hindle
Lonely Planet $148
Travel journalists are a strange and rare breed, even by the odd standards of the media zoo. But if you're confident of fulfilling the eccentricity requirement in the job ad, then this Lonely Planet guide contains some valuable lessons, usually learnt after much anguish and grief. Along with the facts of life, both social (you won't be home a lot) and economic (only about three dozen people in the world make a living from it), 28 travel editors and writers talk about good and bad writing and what they do to keep the words coming. There are chapters on the art and craft of writing for newspapers, magazines and guidebooks, as well as advice on how to get published. This guide takes great pains to explain that the job is harder than it looks. For your first assignment, write a 50-word Hong Kong postcard and mail it to a friend.