So, you want to write for Unearth Women?
+ Meet our 4th issue cover woman, Evita Robinson
In this Unearth Women newsletter: the importance of paying content creators, our 4th issue cover woman, and the two days I spent pretending I’m Audrey Hepburn. If you’ve found your way here but are not yet subscribed, let me help you with that:
Multiple times a week I get emails from obscure “marketing firms” inquiring into how much a guest post on Unearth Women costs. Some emails make an effort to work with me (“We took a look at your site and would love to contribute a story about travel trends!”) while others clearly don’t take the time to even look at Unearth Women (“We have a blog post for you about adult diapers! Interested?”). But whatever the email, they all have one frustrating thing in common: they never pay. It’s always the same song and dance with these emails, which goes a little something like this:
Them (car salesman voice): Hi, we’d love to contribute a sponsored guest post to your site about [insert a completely irrelevant topic such as gambling or car repairs].
Me (skeptically): Thanks for your interest in working with Unearth Women, our rate for sponsored articles is XXX.
Them (car salesman voice): Okay great! Our budget is zero but we can offer you and your audience a HIGH-quality post. We just need you to link to our client. Sounds great, right??
Me (indignant): No. Bye.
You’d think during a GLOBAL PANDEMIC and soaring UNEMPLOYMENT RATES that companies would see it in their hearts to, oh I don’t know, PAY content creators and yet, I keep getting these emails. Content creators getting underpaid is, unfortunately, so commonplace I’ve almost become desensitized to it. Throughout the course of my career, I’ve been asked to submit 1500+ word articles for “exposure,” have submitted stories and original photography for fees as low as $25, and have been asked to work on blogs in exchange for a free product (“if you write/edit/publish this story, we’ll send you…SUNGLASSES!!”).
As a twenty-something journalist and aspiring editor, I used to—as they say—take it up the wazoo and accept these low-ball deals. Even as a thirty-something editor today, I am still shocked and thrilled when I see a publication paying its writers more than $100 for a story. So, when I set out to start my own magazine, paying our writers was top-of-mind. I remember early discussions at Unearth Women when we were just getting the idea off the ground. Despite serious lack of funding, we were trying to launch a website and publish a magazine. The last thing the team wanted was to spend money on freelancers, which happened to be the last thing I was willing to budge on.
As a freelance journalist and editor, I refused to be one of those publications who tells writers they’ll publish their story in exchange for exposure. And so, we paid our writers in an effort to set a standard for the sort of media company we hoped to one day become. Here’s the thing about paying writers, you get good work back. I remember when I first joined Culture Trip as Travel Editor. Culture Trip had managed to go from a no-name travel blog into a largely funded media company in what felt like a matter of minutes. The problem was that their travel blog was built almost exclusively on the backs of underpaid college kids. When I joined the team, my first assignment was to spend months…literally months…on something they called “Project Upgrade.” A painstaking process in which we went through every. single. article. on the site to fix common grammatical and spelling errors. That’s the thing about not paying your writers, you sacrifice quality on the altar of quantity.
Since Unearth Women’s launch, I’m proud to have published some beautiful stories like this article about what happens to refugees during a pandemic, this stunning photo essay of what unites women, and this reporting on Africa’s last hunter-gatherer people. In 2020, we stopped taking freelance submissions because…well, 2020. This year, I’m making the decision to re-open our freelance submissions. In last year’s newsletter survey, a few of you mentioned you wanted to see opportunities to write for the site. Well, that moment has arrived!
If you want to pitch Unearth Women, take a look at our writer guidelines here.
Meet our 4th issue cover woman, Evita Robinson
In working at Unearth Women, I have met boss ladies who just boggle my mind with their multi-tasking skills. Evita Robinson is one of those women who have you asking yourself, just how does she do it all!? For those unfamiliar with Evita and her undeniable impact on the realm of travel, you need only search for her name online. She is the Contributing Editor for Condé Nast Traveler, Founder, and CEO of NOMADNESS Travel Tribe, and Founder of Audacity Fest, which is the first festival dedicated to millennial black and brown travelers. Evita is an outspoken champion for diversity in the travel space and has taken it upon herself to fight for black and brown travelers who are too often overlooked by travel companies. For these reasons (and so many more) Evita is the cover woman of our latest issue of Unearth Women magazine!
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Audrey Hepburn, winter stew, and sweet karma for the Capitol rioters
Watch this new documentary about Audrey Hepburn, then spend the next two days singing Moon River and wearing your hair like Holly Golightly. Go so far as to order fake eyelashes for the first time so you can achieve that classic doe-eyed Hepburn look, only for the lashes to end up falling off and getting stuck to your pajamas. Find solace in the fact that other journalists are finding it hard to change out of their loungewear too, such as Brian Stelter in this behind-the-scenes look of him live on CNN.
Watch the new Pretend it’s a City series on Netflix, featuring the delightfully opinionated rants of Fran Lebowitz. Her diatribes about riding the subway will almost have you nostalgic for being elbowed in all directions while commuting to work. Almost. Think about how much you do miss the energy of pre-pandemic New York City, and eat a classic black-and-white cookie just to drive the point home.
Go grocery shopping so you can get the ingredients to make this perfect winter stew by Melissa Clark. Buy entirely too many groceries, which you are now faced with hauling home. As a result, spend the next two days having back spasms and debating whether those two-year-old muscle relaxers you have from the last time you had back spasms would still work. (Would someone with a medical degree please let me know).
Switch focus to the #NoFlyList videos of capitol rioters being denied boarding, and getting dragged off airplanes. Yes, Bob, your actions do have consequences. Particularly actions that involve breaking into/defacing the U.S. Capitol Building. I know, shocker. Finally, watch this video by Alan Watts, which will make you re-think your entire approach to life.
This month we are donating a percentage of our paid newsletter subscriptions to the nonprofit, Heart of Dinner. Previous nonprofits we’ve supported include Women for Women International. Have a nonprofit you want us to support? Email us or become a subscriber below.