December + 2022 EOY Newsletter
Hola desde Mexico where I’m sick in bed with COVID (again) and missing a press trip to St. Criox. Not the best start to 2023.
Thank you for subscribing to my monthly newsletter that highlights my recently published articles, upcoming calls for sources, and a peek into my travels. If you want to support my work, tips are appreciated via Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the paid version of this newsletter for $9.99 a month. You can also buy me a tea as a token of appreciation here.
Lola the Escritora is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
If you’d like to work with me, I offer consultations where I workshop pitches and allow writers to pick my brain about the industry: LolaAnnMendez.com/Consultation
I mostly took December off for bereavement. In December, I didn’t write anything. I sent 13 pitches this month—four were rejected, and nine are pending a response. Now let’s dive into the yearly stats.
I earned $11,352 less in 2022 than I did in 2021. Fortunately, I’ve saved quite a bit as 2020 and 2021 were very profitable years for me. For the second year in a row, April was my best month. November and December, while on bereavement, were my least profitable months, each under $2K.
In 2021 I sent 284 pitches and I nearly doubled that in 2022, as I sent 467 pitches in 2022, of which 53 were accepted. Ironically, in 2021 51 pitches were accepted so perhaps I’m stuck there regardless of how many pitches I send. Obviously, my acceptance rate was low this year, about 9%.
I struggled to work this year between my father’s impending death and my own health struggles. I relied on assignments, which took up all the energy I was able to lend to work, so I didn’t follow up as often as I usually do and was mostly recycling pitches. I also focused on only sending travel pitches, which are harder to land. I didn’t negotiate or ask for additional compensation for the extra words for most articles.
I wrote 91 articles this year. Fourty-two (almost half!) of the articles I wrote were assignments. It’s an honor to be recognized for my work and have editors approach me for stories about travel, sustainability, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ stories. I broke into nearly 20 publications for the first time including The Today Show, The Washington Post, Women’s Health, Good Housekeeping, AARP, Thrillist, Time Out, The Zoe Report, i newspaper, The Times, TravelAge West, Experience Life, Scott’s Cheap Flights, The Compass, Ensemble Vacations, Fresh Cup, Sliced, and LATV.
I also was paid to record a podcast episode of one of my articles for the first time—and it was introduced by Oprah! A career high was an article written about me, rather than by me, in Travel + Leisure. It was such an honor to be profiled.
Of the 467 pitches I sent in 2022, 53 were commissioned, three are being considered, 366 were rejected (or I moved on to another pub or the subject was no longer timely), and 45 are pending a response. Of the stories that haven’t been commissioned, there are many titles I’m still hoping to land, including the following in case any editors are reading this and would like to work with me on these stories (this worked last year!) Please don’t steal my ideas.
Why you Should Visit Hood River, Oregon
The Best Light Shows Around the World
This is the Rarest Passport in the World
Following in the Footsteps of Dian Fossey and Trekking with the Last Mountain Gorillas on Earth
This Traveler's Packing Hack Utilizes a Trash Bag
Where to See Naturally Pink Animals Around the Globe
The Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the World
I Cast a Love Spell with the Love Clairvoyant from The Bachelor
This Is Why You Always Smell Like Sulfur in Iceland
How to Spend a day in Salem, MA
Q+A with a Witch High Priestess in Salem, MA
A Sustainable Travel Guide for Victoria
Sustainable Travel in Sweden Despite the Dissolution of the Environment Ministry
A Sustainable Shopping Guide for Victoria, Canada
Slovenia is an Underrated Vegan Destination in Europe
Where to Have Plant-Based Cuisine in Victoria, BC
A Vegan Guide to Gothenburg, Sweden
A Queer Guide to Stockholm, Sweden
Adventure Awaits in Chiapas, Mexico
How To Partake in Ocean Safe Travel
Hotel Roundup/Unique Accommodations in Hocking Hills, Ohio
Slovenia is the Most Underrated Wine Destination in Europe
Hocking Hills, Ohio is an Unexpected Destination for Wine, Wellness, and Wilderness
This Theme Park Has a Plant-Based Restaurant
Vegan Travel Guide for Portland
Vegan Travel Guide for Palm Springs
A Gluten-free and Vegan guide to New York City
NYC is Home to the First Gluten Free and Vegan BBQ Joint
Unplug and Rewild at this Swedish Hermitage
Why Travel to Sweden in 2023
How to Ethically Experience Indigenous Tourism in Victoria, Canada
Everything you Need to Know about Land Art
These are the Wackiest Country Slogans
This Ohio Man Grows 1,600 Apple Varietals
A Guide to Montevideo's 10 Best Museums
How to Offset your Carbon Footprint by Buying Carbon Credits
Climate Neutral vs Carbon Neutral
Local Guide's Tips on Lesser-Visited Parts of Joshua Tree National Park
Where to Learn About Viking Heritage in Iceland
This is Why Anaheim is the Perfect Base for a SoCal Trip
Reno is an Unsuspecting Creative Hub
What to Do in Rwanda Beyond Gorilla Trekking
Puerto Vallarta Vegan Guide
On Twitter, I shared my end-of-year thread with some of my favorite articles of the year (only one per pub which was a challenge!). As promised, here are the rates and a bit more context behind the published stories:
The 5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Starting a Plant-Based Diet, The Spruce Eats
The rate was $250, offered at $.50/word. The agreed word count was 500 and the published word count was 643. I didn’t negotiate or ask for additional compensation for the extra words. I was paid within six weeks of filing my draft.
Ariel Knutson assigned me this piece after I had reached out when they were looking for vegan writers. Working with her was fantastic and I hope to write more vegan pieces for her Dot Dash pubs soon.
Queer History is Still Being Made in Washington, D.C., AFAR
The rate was $500, offered at $.50/word. The agreed word count was 1,000 words and the published word count was 1,307. I didn’t negotiate or ask for additional compensation for the extra words. I was paid within six weeks of filing my draft.
I was working with editor Ann Shields on a few Washington D.C. pieces for AFAR and had sent her this pitch: “The Gay Guides Have Been a Survival Guide for Queer Travelers in the U.S. Since the 50s.” Dannen Redman and Ann commissioned the pitch with a focus on D.C. I love writing for AFAR and my goal is to land more stories there this year.
7 Amazing Health Benefits of Hearts of Palm & How to Enjoy Them, The Beet
The rate was $500, offered at $.50/word. The agreed word count was 500 and the published word count was 782. I didn’t negotiate or ask for additional compensation for the extra words. I was paid within five weeks of filing my draft.
This was one of many commissions from Stephanie McClain. They’ve been on a commissioning hiatus but I’m eager to cover more vegan stories for The Beet in 2023.
I stayed as a solo traveller at a tropical resort meant strictly for couples — and found my own happily ever after, Toronto Star
The rate was $280 (CAD $.50/word). The agreed word count was 600 and the published word count was 707. I didn’t negotiate or ask for additional compensation for the extra words. I was paid within a month of filing my draft.
This was commissioned from a pitch and was my first print story for a Canadian newspaper! I hope to get the chance to write for Wing Sze Tang again this year.
Ditch the snow: Head over to Uruguay for some sun, sand y diversión, USA Today
The rate was $300, offered at $0.50/word. The agreed word count was 600 and I don’t know the published word count as it’s behind a paywall! I was paid within two weeks of filing my draft.
This was commissioned off of a pitch after my editor Josh Rivera had expressed interest in stories from Uruguay. It was an absolute highlight of the year writing two articles about Uruguay for USA Today. My father was so proud of me. I’m looking forward to writing more for Josh this year!
For Three Years, I Didn't Know I Had a Tumor in My Womb, Get Me Giddy
The rate was $400, offered at offered at $0.50/word. The agreed word count was 800 and the published word count was 1,002. I didn’t negotiate or ask for additional compensation for the extra words. I was paid a week after I filed the draft.
This was commissioned off of a pitch. Working with Alex Denny is always great and I hope to write more sexual health pieces for them soon.
Carrie Bradshaw Wears This Colorful Wrap So Much, It Basically Has Its Own Storyline, InStyle
The rate was $250, offered at $0.50/word. The agreed word count was 500 words and the published word count was 782 words. I tried to negotiate a higher rate but was told it was only possible should I land an interview with the designer, who wasn’t available to provide comment. I was paid within a month.
This was commissioned by Samantha Sutton. I had a great experience writing for her and soon after she gave me a quick-turn-around assignment.
Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz need to stop playing Latinx roles, Independent
The rate was $300 for 600 words ($.50/word). The published word count was 640 words. I was paid within two weeks.
This was a commission off of a pitch. I have a tendency to send Holly Baxter timely entertainment pitches while traveling. I wrote this one at an amusement park in Sweden! Hopefully the next time a celebrity does something that I have an opinion about, I’ll be at my desk!
Can You Be Vegan and Eat Oysters? The ‘Bivalvegan’ Movement Thinks So, The Vegetarian Times
The rate was $400 for 800 words so $.50/word. I don’t know the published word count as it’s behind a paywall! I was paid within two weeks of filing my draft. I was paid within the month but this story took six months to get published.
This was commissioned off of a pitch. I loved writing for Brittany Martin and am bummed she left the pub. I’m looking for a new editor contact at VegTimes and hope to write for Martin again wherever she lands.
Best places to celebrate Pride, The Times
The rate was $526 for 1236 words. The published word count was 1,411. I didn’t negotiate or ask for additional compensation for the extra words. It took 2.5 months to be paid after filing my draft.
Lucy Perrin assigned me this piece and another around PRIDE. I had a great experience writing for Lucy and hope to land some pitches there soon.
Swim with Sea Creatures in This Little-Known Florida Town, Thrillist
The rate was $400 for 600 words. It’s below my base rate of $.50/word but I had been wanting to break into Thrillist for ages. The published wordcount was 1,219 words. I wasn’t offered a higher fee although the article was double the agreed word count. I was paid within three weeks.
I was thrilled to have the chance to write for Danielle Hallock again as I had written for her when she was at The Culture Trip. I had a few more assignments from Danielle this year, which was great. Unfortunately, a few of the assignments fell through after I had agreed to take them on and started working on them and I wasn’t compensated.
What is Food Justice?, Experience Life
The rate was $2,000 for 1,500 words. The published word count was 1,256. I was paid within two months.
This was an assignment from Kaelyn Riley who was a wonderful editor to work with. I love in-depth print stories like this that challenge me to learn something new. I hope to write more for EL this year! Another editor at the pub is considering one of my pitches at the moment.
Salt-therapy caves are surreal spots to relax, The Washington Post
The rate was $300 for 600 words. The published word count was 644. It took 1.5 months after I filed the draft to be paid.
I still can’t believe I wrote for The Washington Post this year! This was commissioned by Gabe Hiatt who was great to work with. I hope to get to write for him again this year.
Rwanda’s newest national park offers the chance to track primates in the wild for a fraction of the price, i newspaper
The rate was $325 for 900 words after negotation, which was less than what the pub had paid me previously for other pieces. The final word count was 724. It took two months after filing to be paid.
This was commissioned by Sophie Lam who I had worked with previously on a queer travel story.
Hotel Review: Iberostar Selection Miraflores in Lima, Peru, TravelAge West
The rate was $250 for 600 words and the published word count was 750. I didn’t negotiate or ask for additional compensation for the extra words. I was paid within three weeks.
This was a commission based off of a pitch. I broke into TravelAge West this year and had a great experience writing for Emma Weissmann throughout the year after they had encouraged me to pitch. I hope to land more hotel reviews with them soon.
Planning a Safe and Inclusive Romantic Retreat, The Compass
The rate was $1,250 at $1/word for 1,250 words. I’m not sure what the final word count was as it’s print. I was paid within a month.
This was an assignment from Katie Wheeler who was excellent to work with!
One Antarctic Night, Ensemble Vacation Magazine
The rate was $400 for 700 words and a photo. I’m not sure what the final word count was as it’s print. It took two months from filing to be paid.
This was a commission from Kimberly Buerkle who was a joy to work with! I hope to write for the magazine again in 2023.
The Real Panama Hat, Smithsonian Magazine
The rate was $500 for 1,250 words which was slightly under my usual base word count but I love writing for Megan Gambino at Smithsonian so I make it work. The final word count was 1,127. I was paid within three weeks of filing.
This was an assignment from Megan Gambino who is one of my favorite editors in the industry. At first, I thought I was in over my head as finding sources to interview was a challenge but I’m really proud of the final result.
The 10 best international travel hacks for Americans, Time Out
The rate was $650 for 1,000 words and the published word count was 981. I was paid within six weeks of filing.
It was a huge honor to be asked by former editor Sarah Medina to write this piece. I’ve been reading Time Out for over 15 years and it was a career goal to write for the pub. Sadly, Sarah left but shes an excellent editor and I hope to get to work with her wherever she lands.
This Abuela-Granddaughter Duo Is The Fitness Inspiration You Never Knew You Needed, Women’s Health
After negotaions, the rate was $650 for 1,000 words and work-for-hire usage rights. The published word count was 1,245 which I don’t mind for a Q+A. I was paid six weeks after filing the draft.
I was assigned this piece by Kristin Canning. It was my first time writing for Women’s Health and it was a wonderful experience. I hope to land more WH bylines in 2023!
How Raising Five Grandkids Inspired One Abuela to Help Others Like Her, Good Housekeeping
After negotaions, the rate was $650 for 1,000 words and work-for-hire usage rights. The published word count was 1,074. The invoice was severely overdue and Hearst paid double damages as per the Freelance Isn’t Free Law in NYC so in total I was paid $1,250 115 days after I filed the draft.
I was assigned this piece by Lizz Schumer. It was my first time writing for Good Housekeeping and besides the late payment, which Lizz was super helpful with, it was a great experience to write for her and the pub. I hope to write more stories for her this year.
Electric Expedition, Porthole Cruise Magazine
The rate was $500 for 1,000 words. I was paid an additional $575 for original photos. I’m not sure what the final word count was as it’s print. It took three months from filing to be paid as they pay on publication.
This pitch was commissioned by Grant Balfour who was excellent to work with and is considering a few more of my pitches now.
4 days in Montevideo: South America’s secret foodie destination, Lonely Planet
The rate was $500 for 1,200 words which is lower than my rate but I was beyond honored to be asked to write about Uruguay for Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023. The final word count (not including the text in the images) was 1,371. I was paid three weeks after filing my draft.
Melissa Yeager made my 2022 by asking me to write this! I hope to get to work with her more this year as it was a great experience.
6 Ubiquitous Trends You Can Thank Latinx Communities For, The Zoe Report
The rate offered was $600 for 1,200 words ($.50/word) and the published word count was 1,274. I was paid three weeks after filing.
This was an assignment from Marina Liao and was one of my favorite pieces of the year to research. I’d love to write more for TZR in 2023.
I didn't come out as pansexual until I moved from the US to Uruguay. I felt my sexuality was fetishized and misunderstood by the few people I told in the US, Insider
The rate was $300 for 600 words ($.50/word) after negotiation. The published word count was 681 and I wasn’t paid for photos. I was paid six weeks after filing my draft.
I’ve long admired Rosemary Dunahue’s work and had pitched them at several pubs over the years so was thrilled to finally get to write for them—especially this piece. I hope to have the chance to write more pieces for them in 2023.
This Vietnamese refugee’s vegan restaurant is an ode to her bond with her daughter, The Today Show
The rate was $500 for 1,000 words ($.50/word) and an additional $300 for original photos. The final word count was 1,474—because I couldn’t cut the Q+A down any further. I was paid two months late and double damages due to the late payment as per NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Law.
I love writing for Emi Boscamp! We had to kill another story and she was so courteaous about explaining why and advocating that I was still paid for my work. I can’t wait to write more food stories for her in 2023!
My portfolio can be viewed at any time at LolaAnnMendez.com. In December, I had four articles published and I made my debut in The Today Show. I have upcoming pieces in new-to-me publications including Jet Setter.
Here are some of my favorite pieces that were published this month. Each image is clickable so you can read the story.
I always post my calls for sources on Twitter.com/LolaAnnaMendez. Newsletter subscribers are privy to the first look at my current work. PR folks (and individuals when relevant) are welcome to send pitches for the stories on which I’m currently working.
Sustainability in Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
Everything you need to know about female condoms
I spent all of December in Mexico and visited some new-to-me places including Guanajato, San Miguel de Allende, and Queretaro before spending the holidays in CDMX with friends. I was invited to go to St. Croix to cover carnival and am devastated that I have COVID and can’t make this dream trip. I’ll be staying at home and focusing on recovering for the next week before I have a friend visit. I’ll be stateside for the last two weeks of January in Mesa, AZ for a press trip; Kansas City to see childhood friends; and NYC for IMM and to see friends.
Follow my adventures on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Lola the Escritora is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.