I always had this impression that writing a guidebook like Lonely Planet is the most painful task that anyone would have to do. Imagine being able to go to exotic(and also touristy) places on someone else’s money, and while you are there, instead of having a ball you are expected to run around hotels and rate them, find out eating places in the town without just being able to eat at the best places, and figure what is pleasant and unpleasant for your readers than hangout where you want to. And your deadlines probably keep you on the tow all the time, making you keep running. After all they have to bring out a new edition every year(or two years). So you go to a great place, and what did you see, do, experience? Nothing but collecting data for others.
So when someone told me a year back that it would be nice to have an travel guide book for India with a perspective for Indians, and if I can consider working on such a book, I realized it is not my cup of tea and declined the offer. And today, I read from the horse’s mouth – the ordeals of writing a guidebook – as told by a lonely planet author.
Some excerpts of an interview with Simon Sellars, a Lonely Planet author on travelhappy.info
It’s a good job but let’s be realistic: it’s more a case of being paid to collect brochures and bus timetable info — and to crack the ice-cold nerve of concierges the world over. We are info dumps: much of the job is gathering facts and figures and updating perishable and non-perishable information…
…I feel one of the biggest misconceptions about Lonely Planet is that the company pays its authors to swan around on holiday and then do a bit of writing as an afterthought. The reality is that you are on your feet for twelve hours a day, during torrential rain or baking heat or whatever testing conditions you’ve parachuted into: coups; insurgencies; dealing with the horror of warm beer in Britain. There’s very little time for actual sightseeing. It’s actually hard work.