You Are A Genre Celebrity—Cash In On It

by Terry W. Sheely

Making a buck from outdoor communications is more than photos, microphones, TV slots, social media and writing contracts. It can also mean introducing outdoor enthusiasts to one-on-one adventures they would not otherwise experience.

Over the years, mostly out of the limelight, several NOWA members have organized and lead small groups of readers, listeners and viewers to unforgettable destinations; allowing credit-line followers to accompany them to guided fishing, hunting, hiking, rafting etc. As professional outdoor communicators we have the name recognition and industry contacts to make it happen, and as businesses we need to make a buck or two along the way.

The first realization, and for many of us the hardest part, is cashing in on our names. Like it or not, we in the outdoor media are genre celebrities of sort. All of us—whether we write a hunt/fish/‘shroom column for a 4K weekly, blog, or contribute to National Geographic. We have name recognition. We autograph our books, draw folks to our seminars, shake hands at outdoor expositions and are on first-name basis with renowned experts and famous faces. Hard as it is for many of us to accept, we have followers and some of those followers would like nothing better than an opportunity to share an outdoor experience with the celebrity you.

You won’t get rich, but we’re in a skinny business where every dollar counts. Most of us welcome any work that puts money in accounts receivable, small numbers in accounts payable and transform business expenses into tax deductions.

Public speaking is a common way to cash in on ‘celebrity’ status. If we pay attention.

Our businesses neighbor with countless organizations that covet ‘free’ speakers. Unless you represent a government agency, manufacturer, guide/lodge or benevolent organization my advice is to steer clear of such groups. Affiliated free-speakers get paid by their employers to speak. You should too. We are professionals and our hard-earned insights and expertise are marketable. If we give it away we undermine our own markets and reduce our value to zilch.

You may not make $500 a night speaking to upscale fly clubs (although some NOWA members have) but you’ll put dollars in the income and expenses-deductible columns.

The exception to my speak-not-for-free rule is self-promotion, and while it appears to be for free it’s really covert selling. Hype your book at the podium and sell autographed copies (not at the end of your talk when your audience is leaving, but during an intermission at a table in the center of the seating section).

Or describe, visually illustrate and promote an unforgettable adventure trip—a sign up to fish/hunt/whitewater with me in a place you’ll not forget trip. What we do and the places we go to make a living are once-in-a-lifetime epics for a lot of outdoor folks. Some will pay to go with you.

I’ll never forget the whispered comment of a guest I was hosting to a remote British Columbia lodge. We were coming in by helicopter, skating low level across mountains, over fjords, black bears and above towering white ocean rollers shattering on black reef rocks. Face glued to the Plexiglas, he muttered, almost reverently, “If I never catch a fish this trip will already be a success.”

The Reel News publisher/editor Jim Goerg and I teamed up more than a decade ago to organize and host trips using advertising and descriptive articles in The Reel News as our primary marketing platform.

We’ve taken guests to Alaska, British Columbia, Haida Gwaii (AKA Queen Charlotte Islands), and Baja, Mexico. Some trips were limited to a dozen guests at high-end lodges in remote fly-in wilderness areas. Others, like the one were’ putting the finishing touches to now, our 15th annual Baja Amigos and Heroes adventure to fish Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, will include upwards of 100 guests. This is the 15th year for this saltwater adventure and it grows every year.

Working with Van Wormer’s Hotel Palmas de Cortez in Los Barriles, takes a lot of the work out of it and we need that. We’re wordsmiths and celebrity hosts of sorts, not concierges or tour guides.

We produce the guests. Hotel management handles bookings, collects the money, assigns rooms, organizes fishing boats and shuttle services, arranges meet-greet-and-fiesta banquets, and provides everything our guests need. Jim and I host, spring for some ceviche, a few margaritas and a round of Pacificos, arrange discount group pricing for the guests, put together a couple of entertainment features—and fish-photograph-and take notes.

Fishing on these trips provides my writing/photo business with a wealth (hopeful pun intended) of magazine story materials (destination, how-to, adventure, travel), new faces to photograph, and the bonus of fresh fish for the home table. Jim gets an inside track on destination advertising and exciting fish stories for The Reel News—all just for being us.

Besides eventual revenue from magazine, book, photo, and video it’s also possible to build in commission percentages from guests’ bookings and from sponsorships sold to defray expenses and generate income.

A triple bang—celebrity host commissions, sponsorship revenue and stories to sell.

Travel, accommodations and guide services for ‘celebrity’ hosts are worked out with destination lodges that benefit from a week of solid, no effort, bookings with opportunities to woo repeat business. Our guests get a hosted adventure in a spectacular region that they’ll talk about for the rest of their lives. Sponsors benefit from extremely targeted marketing contacts, and Jim and I put numbers in income columns. Wins all around.

Outdoor communicators are small businesses run by genre celebrities. If you are a member of NOWA you are an outdoor media celebrity like it or not–may as well make some money from it.

Help Needed at Tri-City Sportsman Show

Shuyler Productions has graciously offered NOWA a free booth at the Tri-City Sportsman Show, January 17-19.

There is a need for individuals who live within driving distance to help staff the booth. Times are available from 1-7 pm on Friday, 10-6 Saturday, 10-5 on Sunday. You do not need to be present for the entire shift.

Please contact Dennis Dauble ( or text 509-392-3229) if you can help out. This event provides opportunity to interact with hundreds of sportsman over the weekend. Wayne Heinz and Dennis Dauble hope to sell a few books, you could do the same.

Bert Gildart Cycling Adventure

For any who believe that NOWA membership consists only of those who hunt and fish in the Northwest, please put that thought aside.  Many of us engage in other outdoor activities such as the biking excursion described here.  It is a trip National Geographic calls “one of America’s greatest adventures.”

I concluded that adventure late this September and, in brief, the ride links together two trails: the Allegheny Gap and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.  The trails are joined back-to-back and span almost 400 miles, beginning – or ending – in either Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, or in Washington, D.C.

If the ride is made in a relaxed manner you’ll need about 10 days.  Campgrounds are available along the way but so are B&Bs, and that’s where we camped, roughing it (sometimes!) with cocktail napkins and Meissen China.

Three friends joined me and we all agreed that the trip was a tour through American history and also through some of America’s most pristine woodlands, often graced by sycamore trees arching overhead.  Shortly out of Pittsburg we climbed to the Eastern Continental Divide and then traveled across the Mason Dixon Line.  In West Virginia the trail took us into Harpers Ferry, and some may recall that it was here, in 1859, that a Lieutenant Colonel Robert E Lee put down the John Brown rebellion.  Riding on we crossed into Maryland and passed the shanties of several lock master’s old homes.  Today, if you have advanced reservations you can move in and stay overnight.

Essentially the Canal was initiated by George Washington, hoping to increase trade with Washington D.C. and newly created states such as Pennsylvania, but the Potomac River was laced with many rapids and treacherous falls, and barges could not negotiate them.  Consequently, traders needed a canal.  Today, those falls are an attraction for bikers and so we also stopped to view that river’s many examples.

While riding I believe that I rebounded from some lingering health issues, but equally as significant, became more of the individual we all wish to be. Here, I felt important and not diminished by the burgeoning U.S. population that is now saturating our personal living space and clogging so many national attractions. During our many stops I’d been able to lose myself by soaking up American history and the wildness the two trails preserved. And, then, when I thought myself saturated, I had been able to ride on – stopping at will to soak it all up again, and again and again.

A much expanded and varied version of this story is intended for a travel magazine and I hope, too, in a magazine intended for seniors… not, of course, that I can relate, but I do feel many older folks might be inspired.  In the meantime, if anyone wants details on logistics, please drop a note. Thanks! Bert


Call for Queries – 2020 Fish Alaska Magazine

As soon as possible please send queries of stories for consideration for 2020 Fish Alaska issues. The editorial calendar will be developed over the few weeks.

Submit a proposed article title and paragraph describing what the article will be about.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Standard length for a feature article in Fish Alaska is 2500 words, though we do often publish smaller or larger features.
  • Upon submission, we’ll want at least a dozen great photos.  More is always better than too few
  • First run only; we don’t like to reprint anything that has been published elsewhere

I look forward to working with you in 2020!

George Krumm, Editor; Fish Alaska Magazine, Hunt Alaska Magazine cell: 907-529-6172 email:


July 2019 Vice Presidents Message

Greetings NOWA members,

NOWA’s 2019-2020 motto/mantra: NOWA continues to be strong and growing.

2020 Conference

The Shilo Inn in The Dalles, Oregon is the site of our 2020 Conference. The dates are April 30 through May 3.

The Shilo has changed hands recently. The new general manager started work on Tuesday. Will keep the membership informed of the conference preparations.

2021 Conference

Suggestions for 2021 Conference sites are welcome. Having a site picked before the next conference will allow our members to plan for the future.

Officers and Board Members

Update on our president, Ron Kerr from Debbie Kerr on Tuesday, July 16:

Ron got home from his final treatment in Kelowna this past weekend. Definitely not something he ever wants to repeat. Because his cancer was deemed “aggressive” they were doing fairly intense treatment, and have told him it will be a few weeks before the effects begin to wear off.

Unfortunately, during the process, which we don’t believe had anything to do with the cancer treatment as far as we know, Ron has been losing his voice and cannot carry on a conversation. He is scheduled to see a specialist to find out what that problem is. Seems lately that if it is not one thing it’s another. Needless to say Ron will not be chiming in on the conference call, but wishes you all the best and congratulates you, as do I, for rebuilding NOWA.

NOWA board member Sharon Wilson resigned effective July 16, the same day of our July board meeting. Dave Vedder was elected to fill this position, until the 2020 conference.

Constitution and Bylaws

A new page has been placed on our website with the proposed Constitution  and Bylaws changes for review. Members are encouraged to review the document and contact Bob, Dennis or Risa with questions. Janie and Bert Gildart are also members of this committee.

Also, when working on Constitution  and Bylaws, the question always comes up: Why change them? They were written back in the 1980’s with few changes, so most of the changes fall under the heading of “modernization.” Also, there are some small changes to the grammar and other stuff. Check them out:


The membership committee continues to contact members for reinstatement. They are also working to recruit new members.

 Website and facebook page

The NOWA website and Facebook page have become our information hubs.

Dave Kilhefner maintains the website and John Kruse maintains the Facebook page.

Members Only Area

Interest has been expressed in an online Members Only area. NOWA is testing this concept using Dropbox (it’s free) and has a password protected document storage area. The current documents available are all the newsletters from  May 2009 to Jan 2019 plus the last 4 membership directories. If you’d like access email


Dave Kilhefner is the chairman of the finance committee. Committee members include  Ron Kerr, Peter Schroeder and Jeremy Johnson. We’ll upload the committee reports in the Dropbox members only area in the near future.

Board meetings

The board of directors held a teleconference meeting on Tuesday, July 16, from 6 to 7 p.m. Chris Batin was the chairman.

We will schedule and hold a board meeting every month. The meetings will be short, an hour or less.

Electronic voting

OWAA uses electronic voting. NOWA is reviewing this way of voting away from the annual conference. Basically, each member’s e-mail address gets one vote. The program allows only one vote be cast from an email address.


NOWA is working on simplified qualifications for the various categories for membership, following the example set by OWAA. They also don’t use a committee to approve the qualifications for membership.

NOWA is currently working on a Blogs membership catagory and is following OWAA’s lead, who lists a membership category of Blogs as:

“You are a citizen journalist who writes for a blog or other digital media that is updated with original content at least twice a month and receives 500 AUVs (Average Unique Views) per month over a 12-month period, or generates income.”

Greg Gulbrandsen has volunteered to be our NOWA Blog/Vlog authority in the capacity of answering questions about these relatively new categories.

He suggested changing the term “citizen journalist” to “digital journalist.” An OWAA representative indicated some OWAA members were reluctant to accept the category, but it was finally accepted.

Greg said blogging and vlogging can be a money-making way of communicating. NOWA needs to recruit new members. The old way of newspaper and magazine writing is coming to an end. Perhaps blogging and vlogging will provide new/younger members for NOWA?

What do you think?


The board is open to any and all questions and comments. Open dialogue is encouraged, as are e-mails and telephone calls between members.

What did I forget? Let me know.


NOWA Vice President

NOWA’s Constitution and Bylaws Changes

NOWA’s Constitution and Bylaws are undergoing some changes.

If you’d like to be part of this process, please review the Constitution & Bylaws Changes document contained in the link below; the proposed changes are in red.

Next, either answer the poll or email your comment’s to Dennis Clay, Bob Mottram and Risa Wyatt by  September 9, 2019.  Their emails are:;;


CONST BYLAWS 2019 Proposed Changes

PRADCO Outdoor Brands Seeks Content and Communications Specialist

PRADCO Outdoor Brands (POB), a division of EBSCO Industries Inc., is the largest company in the world that manufactures and markets major hunting and fishing brands and products under one parent organization is seeking a Content & Communications Specialist that will be responsible for all copy, content, and communications activities within POB Fishing Marketing.

See the link below for more detailed information:


June 2019 Vice President’s Message

Greetings NOWA members, NOWA continues to be strong and growing.

A month after our 2019 conference and the positive feelings continue to grow. Now NOWA is working on the 2020 conference. The tentative dates are April 30 through May 3. The location is the Shilo Inn in The Dalles, Oregon. In addition, NOWA members are looking for a 2021 conference site in Idaho.

Officers and Board Members

Our president, Ron Kerr, is undergoing chemo for the next few weeks, so send positive thoughts and prayers his way.

Bert Gildart was left off the list of new board members in my last report. He is filling John McFarland’s position until the term is complete in 2020.

Joe Warren was elected to fill a vacant position for a three-year term, ending in 2022.


EIC contests

Risa Wyatt and Dennis Dauble are reviewing the EIC rules and regulations. They will make recommendations for changes. Then, Dave Vedder and Alan Liere will conduct the EIC contests.

Constitution and Bylaws

Bob Mottram is the chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. His committee of Janie Gildart, Dennis Clay, Dave Kilhefner and Bert Gildart have met two times in teleconferences.

A new page will be placed on the website with the proposed changes for review. Members will be encouraged to discuss the changes, most likely on a group teleconference as this venue has worked very well in the past. Feel free to contact me by e-mail about the proposed changes. We can then arrange a one-on-one telephone call or the teleconference if needed. The membership will be able to vote on the changes in a few months.


Dennis Dauble is the chair of the membership committee. He is guiding Janie Gildart and me in an effort to call every member listed in the current directory about continuing or rejoining membership in NOWA.

Website, directory and newsletter

The NOWA website is destined to become our information hub.

This website will provide the information previously distributed in our monthly newsletter, containing this report, other committee reports, craft improvement articles and member news will also appear on the website.

Dave Kilhefner maintains this site and is working on the membership directory.


Dave also is the chairman of the finance committee. Other members of this committee include Ron Kerr, Peter Schroeder and Jeremy Johnson. Look for his report on the website.

Conference site selection

Dennis Dauble, chairman of the 2020 conference site selection committee, secured The Dalles, Oregon for our 2020 conference site.

We are looking for appropriate conference sites in Idaho for our 2021 conference.

The ultimate goal is for NOWA to receive requests from throughout our coverage area to hold our conference in certain communities. Perhaps this goal is beginning to come true. Look what arrived in my inbox on May 31:

Hello from sunny Yakima!

I wanted to inquire about hosting your 2022, or future, NOWA Conferences. The Yakima Valley has so much to do, see and experience outdoors and I believe your attendees would have an amazing time here.

Kelly Darbyson, Convention Account Manager, Yakima Valley Tourism

Here is my reply:

Greetings Kelly,

Great to hear from you. Your inquiry about the NOWA conference in the Yakima Valley is welcomed and will certainly be considered. Let’s look at our state rotation: The year: 2019, Washington; 2020, Oregon (The Dalles); 2021, Idaho; 2022, Montana; 2023, Washington.

Consider joining NOWA as a supporting member now and attending the conferences until Washington is available again. As a supporting member you will be able to contact our members and provide press releases for our website.

Anxious to visit with you about the conference possibility.

Best, Dennis NOWA Vice President

Kelly indicated she would become a supporting member. Will guide her in this direction and attending our future conferences.

Board meetings

The board of directors held a teleconference meeting on Thursday, June 6, from 6 to 7 p.m. Bob Mottram was the acting chairman pro tem. Instead of going into detail here, the minutes will be produced on this website for all to see.

We will schedule and hold a board meeting every month. The meetings will be short, an hour or less.

Electronic voting

OWAA uses electronic voting. This avenue is being pursued as a way to save NOWA money, as mailing ballots will not be necessary. Basically, each member’s e-mail address gets one vote. The program allows only one vote be cast from the address.


OWAA also has simplified qualifications for the various categories for membership. They also don’t use a committee to approve the qualifications for membership. NOWA is also exploring these possibilities. More later.


The board is open to any and all questions and comments. Open dialogue is encouraged, as are e-mails and telephone calls between members.

What did I forget? Let me know.


NOWA vice president