Welcome to your friendly neighbour newsletter.

If I had a rupee or a crispy colourful 100 Rs note for everyone who has sought me out on social media to ask questions about freelancing, I wouldn’t actually need to freelance. I joke, but on an average I would get paid more than what most Indian publications pay you per story.

Raise your hand if you’re a writer and you have received one or all of the following messages:

“I want to become a freelancer, how should I start?”

“Can you share the editor’s contact for XYZ [insert name of publication that’s so difficult to crack it has taken you two years and repeated emails].”

“I like to travel. Can I become a travel writer?”

Dear writer, this newsletter aims to answer some, if not all, of those questions. I will attempt to do it in the nicest way possible but, if it’s the end of the month and I haven’t received my freelance payments, expect some cold hard truths.

This post features the following sections:

  1. Subscriptions

  2. About me

  3. Freelance consulting

  4. How to Pitch the newsletter

  5. Testimonials

  6. Contact me


The fortnightly newsletter will contain calls for pitches, short interviews and useful advice from other writers/ freelancers/ authors, links to good articles (yes, some will be mine!), writing tips and miscellaneous stuff (grants, contests).

I want it to be informative and fun.

To subscribe you can do one of two things:

Option 1

  • Use Substack’s payment system. You have to enter your card details to pay via Stripe. The monthly subscription begins on the date you pay: for eg: if you pay today, Sept 28, your subscription will end on October 28. Once your subscription expires, you will receive an email about renewal.

  • Substack only allows monthly and yearly payments.

  • UPDATE: As of January 2021, I have stopped annual subscriptions. I cannot change Substack’s system, so I will be doing it manually. Now what you see may say ANNUAL, but it will only give you two months. If you want for a longer duration etc, please email me and we will work it out.

    (Note: if I stop publishing in between, your subscription is paused too and the payments get carried forward.)

Option 2

  • Email me on itsallwrite@outlook.in and we can discuss a monthly/ quarterly or half yearly plan. You pay me using NEFT or Gpay, and I add you as a comped subscribed for the discussed duration.

Rate: Rs 199 for a month for two newsletters*

(*If you cannot afford these rates, please email me and we will work out something.) 

Convinced? Click here.

If you want to gift someone a newsletter:

Give a gift subscription


Good question!

Here’s a little introduction to myself and my credentials.

I have been a journalist for 13 years — call me senior journalist now! I worked with DNA, Hindustan Times, and Midday before turning to freelance in 2017. I write feature stories on food and communities, travel and offbeat places, health and wellness and more.

I’ve been published in India and abroad. You can view my stories here: Portfolio

By the side, I co-own a food publication on Medium with my friend and talented writer Krutika Behrawala — it’s called But, First Food.


Besides a fortnightly newsletter, I also conduct sessions on freelancing featuring industry professionals.

By the side, is Ask Jo — my freelancing one-on-one session.

It’s a 15-30 minute session for anyone who needs help with:

  • writing a pitch

  • finding editor’s contacts

  • crafting a narrative

  • writing resources

  • proofreading a story

  • discussing ideas and finding stories

  • getting started in the freelance world

And more.

Rate: Rs 450*

(*I offer discounts and comps to people who are unable to pay this amount.)


It’s All Write is open to pitches!

I want stories on anything and everything related to bettering your freelance life (be it writing, photography, illustration etc). Send me pitches on how to improve your writing, how Excel or Calendly has changed your life, the one mantra for writing/editing that has brought you the most success, a guide to tackling international payment systems, and more. The story should be useful and informative.

You can be humorous or sarcastic, like this gem of a piece that Shruti Sunderraman wrote for me earlier this year. I want to make this a monthly feature. To start with, I can pay Rs 3,000 for 600-700 words; payment will be done post editing. As my subscribers increase, I hope to to better this rate. I will read and reply to every pitch, but note, preference will be given to paying subscribers first.


“The newsletter is particularly helpful for its honesty, especially since I seek such spaces where I can learn about shared experiences of freelancing and make better choices. The job board section has often come in handy to stay updated on opportunities out there and refer relevant people to apply through Joanna’s newsletter.”
Anureet Kaur, Siri Creative Writer (Freelance) at Apple and Marketing Associate at Eximius Ventures; subscriber since June 2020

I became acquainted with Joanna’s work via a food writer I follow on Instagram. I have been subscribed to IAW since October 2020 and it’s helped me so much! As a mom who took a career break and made a pivot from television production to writing for the web, it’s helped me learn and about today’s publication landscape, the pitching process and how to structure work and rates. Apart from the job board, Joanna has some great interviews in the subscriber version and a wonderful round-up of interesting stories from all over. Highly recommend if you are a wordsmith!

Meenakshi S, Content Specialist & Writer, subscriber since October 2020

I always find your newsletters interesting and insightful. I've never pitched before and I don't know when I might, but reading the newsletter helps a lot, at least on a spiritual level.
— Micheal Varghese, editor for an online editing service Ediket, free subscriber since March 2021 to your free newsletter since March of this year

I have been a loyal subscriber of IAW since chapter #1 released, and have looked forward to Joanna’s emails in my inbox ever since! After 6.5 years as a full-time writer, I turned to freelancing in October 2019, and would have been quite lost if not for the helpful words in IAW. Joanna takes great effort to focus on different topics in each newsletter, interviewing editors and writers from different beats, and digging up pitch calls. During the first COVID lockdown, I was struggling with getting assignments, and after reading an interview with Rohini Nair of FirstPost in IAW, pitched a story on Parsi matrimonial ‘aunties’ to her (with the Netflix show Indian Matchmaking as the peg) and got published after almost 5 months of a writing slump! Reading this newsletter gives me more confidence to send out pitches and write to editors — I even got my first international story published this year — and reminds me that I’m on the right path!
Huzan Tata, freelance writer  

I have been a subscriber of Joanna's newsletter since the first issue. It helped me expand my freelance repertoire and find a home for many stories that I wanted to write. Thanks to the interviews of editors she shared, I successfully pitched articles to Silverscreen, FirstPost and Sustain. The gig leads, interviews and reading lists she collates have also stoked ideas for more stories. I probably would not have the same confidence in my pitching abilities if I had not come across her newsletter. I wish it was there when I had started working.
— Saad Ahmed, Multimedia Journalist, subscriber since the beginning

The newsletter has helped me broaden my perspectives about the written freelance world we all inhabit, while previously my exposure was restricted to sports, and that broadening is valuable. The newsletter has also provided valuable insights into the struggles of younger writers, particularly in the sphere of pitching, and securing assignments, which have added value to my perspective as someone who teaches young people eager to get into the field of sports journalism.
— Snehal Pradhan, Former India cricketer, sports columnist and commentator, YouTuber; free subscriber for a year


Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox. Once again, a reminder, please add joannalobo@substack.com and itsallwrite@outlook.in to your inbox so you don’t miss the newsletter and updates.

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

If you’ve stuck with me so far, here’s reward: a picture of my heart, my dog Sofie.