ASJA Direct: Inside Intel on Getting Published and Paid Well

ASJA Direct: Inside Intel on Getting Published and Paid Well, is a newly launched podcast that is curated and hosted by Estelle Erasmus, a longtime ASJA member and 2017 New York City Conference Chair. 

The focus of the podcast, a members benefit,  will be on the craft of writing and pitching and all it takes to be a successful freelance writer. Guests will include editors, writers and authors with surprising success stories from articles that went viral, and more. It will also include submission opportunities and tips for submitting to magazines and websites. Estelle will also write about her guests on her award-winning website and on twitter. Nonmembers will be able to download the podcasts after a period of time for $24.99 in the ASJA Store.


To submit a question for a speaker, please follow the link found here. Follow Estelle Erasmus on Facebook and Twitter and on her website.


ASJA Direct: Writing About Parenthood With Purpose - Books about parenting are a booming market. This podcast explored authors’ paths to publication and options for publicity during a pandemic. An agent and podcast host sat down with five authors to discuss:

  • Each author’s path to publication
  • What it’s like publishing a book on parenting during a pandemic
  • Publicity options for authors
  • An agent’s viewpoint

Click here to access the recording

Jeannie Ralston is the editor and co-founder of, a web magazine for smart, engaged women 45 plus. Jeannie has written for the New York TimesNational GeographicLife MagazineConde Nast Traveler and most women’s magazines. She’s been a contributing editor at Allure, Parenting and Ladies Home Journal. Her memoir, The Unlikely Lavender Queen, tells of her journey from Manhattan journalist to rural Texas lavender farmer. Jeannie and her husband live outside of Austin.

Click here to access the recording and shownotes

Melissa Bykofsky is the Deputy Editor of Parents Magazine, where she leads the team editing reported features, compelling essays, and daily news. Before joining the digital team at Parents, Melissa was a print editor at RedbookWoman’s DayParents, and Marie Claire. Melissa earned a Master’s degree in Journalism from CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

Click here to access the recording and shownotes


Emily McCombs is the Deputy Editor of HuffPost Personal. She previously helped launch and served as the Executive Editor of She has been writing and editing personal essays for over a decade, and has been published in Cosmopolitan,, BUST Magazine, The Washington Post, Elle,, Maxim, Elite Daily, Yahoo Beauty and of course HuffPost and You can follow her on Instagram at @emilymccombs and on Twitter at @msemilymccombs

Click here to access the recording and shownotes

Christal Yuen, the Beauty and Wellness Editor for (follow her on Twitter at spoke to podcast curator/host Estelle Erasmus for ASJA Direct, about the publication and what freelance writers need to know to pitch them.

Click here to access the recording and shownotes

Your Teen for Parents Magazine editors Susan Borison and Sharon Holbrook spoke to podcast curator/host Estelle Erasmus for ASJA Direct, about their publication and what freelance writers need to know to pitch them.

Susan Borison went to law school, passed the bar, and then chose a different path. After years of raising her five kids and marathon volunteering, Susan co-founded Your Teen Media. The goal was to create a resource for her friends, herself, and anyone with teenagers who was looking for that old-fashioned playgroup support peppered with expert advice. 

Sharon Holbrook is the managing editor of Your Teen magazine. In addition to Your Teen, her writing has also appeared in The New York TimesWashington Post, and many other publications. Find her on Twitter at @sharon_holbrook.

Click here to access the recording and shownotes

Damon Brown, and Jeanette Hurt spoke to podcast curator/host Estelle Erasmus for ASJA Direct, about their new book  The Passive Writer: 5 Steps to Earning Money in Your Sleep 

Damon Brown helps side hustlers, solopreneurs, and other non-traditional entrepreneurs bloom. He now guides others through his consulting/coaching, popular online bootcamp , regular column, and public speaking on platforms including TED.


Award-winning author Jeanette Hurt explores culture through the lens of food and drink. Whether she’s delving into the history of gin and tonics, developing healthy yet tasty burger recipes or biking through the back roads of the Loire Valley, Jeanette takes readers on a delicious journey that inspires them to create a good life.

Click here to access the recording and shownotes

Lisa Bonos is the lead writer and editor for Solo-ish, a Washington Post blog about single life. Before launching Solo-ish in 2015, she spent 10 years as an editor on The Post’s opinion and business desks.

Click here to access Lisa's recording and shownotes

Donna Talarico is an independent writer and content marketing consultant, and she also is the founder of Hippocampus and its books division and annual conference, HippoCamp.

Donna has more than two decades of experience in marketing and communications, and about half that time has been in higher education. She speaks at higher education and publishing conferences, writes an adult learner recruiting column for Wiley, and has contributed to Guardian Higher Education Network, The Writer, mental_floss, Games World of Puzzles, and others. Her creative nonfiction appears in The Los Angeles Review and The Los Angeles Times.

Click here to access Donna's recording and shownotes

Michael Zam is co-creator, writer, and producer on FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan, the smash 8-part limited series that Zam and writing partner Jaffe Cohen first wrote as a screenplay, Best Actress (Black List 2010). For Feud, they were nominated for two prime time Emmy Awards, as well Golden Globe, Producers Guild, Writers Guild, and Critics Choice Awards, and were honored with the American Film Institute Award for significant “Contribution to America’s Cultural Legacy.” Zam and Cohen have a number of film and TV projects in development, including those based on the lives of Vivien Leigh, Mama Cass, William Haines, Kate Hepburn, and Lois Weber. 

Click here to access Michael's recording and shownotes

Richard Eisenberg is the Managing Editor of, a site from PBS for people 50+, where he is also editor of its Money and Work & Purpose channels and a regular blogger. He is also a freelance book reviewer for People magazine. Previously, he was a full-time freelance writer and editor for magazines and websites includingAARP The Magazine, MoneyWatch and Ladies Home Journal; Executive Editor of Money magazine; Front Page Finance Editor at Yahoo! and Special Projects Director and Money Editor at Good Housekeeping. He is the author of two books: How to Avoid a Midlife Financial Crisis and The Money Book of Personal Finance. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. 

Click here to access Richard's recording and show notes

Anna Goldfarb is author of the humor memoir, "Clearly, I Didn't Think This Through." She writes about relationships and pop psychology for The New York Times, Vice, and The Cut. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their three-legged cat, Eleanor.

Click here to access Anna’s recording and show notes

James Taranto edits the Journal’s op-ed pages. Until January 2017 he wrote the popular Best of the Web column for In August 2007 he was named a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

From 2000 through 2008, his column appeared at, of which he was editor. He previously served as the Journal’s deputy editorial features editor. He joined the Journal in 1996 as an assistant editorial features editor after spending five years as an editor at City Journal, the Manhattan Institute’s quarterly of urban public policy. He has also worked for the Heritage Foundation, United Press International, Reason magazine and KNX News Radio in Los Angeles. He is co-editor of “Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House” (Wall Street Journal Books, 2004). He attended California State University, Northridge.

Click here to access James' recording and show notes

Judith Newman is the author of the bestseller To Siri With Love:  A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines, a collection of illuminating stories about life with fourteen-year-old boy with autism.  The New York Times called it “an uncommonly riotous and moving book…with whipsaws of brilliant zingers and heart punches.”  The Washington Post called Newman “a gifted personal essayist, her warmth and wit recalling Nora Ephron’s.”  Previous books include You Make Me Feel Like An Unnatural Woman:  Diary of a New (Old) Mother, about her adventures in the world of infertility.

In addition to books and personal essays, Judith writes for magazines about entertainment, science, business, beauty, health, and popular culture.  Her work and celebrity interviews are featured in a variety of publications from The New York Times and Vanity Fair to Prevention, AARP, and National Geographic.  She regularly reviews books for People and the Times, and writes the "Help Desk" column in The New York Times Book Review.  She is a contributing editor for Allure and Prevention, and has been widely anthologized. 

Click here to access Judith’s recording and show notes

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the co-founder of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.” Also, in collaboration with The Authors Guild, she wrote The Authors Guild Guide to E-Publishing.

Click here to access the Jane's recording and show notes.

Katharine Sands, of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency in New York City has worked with a varied list of authors who publish a diverse array of books including both fiction, memoir and non-fiction. Among the books she represents are: The Apothecary’s Curse, nominated for the Bram Stoker Award 2017 in the First Novel category by Barbara Barnett; and Girl Walks Out of a Bar, a memoir by Lisa Smith that was featured by People Magazine as Notable Nonfiction

She is the agent provocateur of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye, a collection of pitching wisdom from leading literary agents.

Click here to access Katharine’s recording and show notes

In this podcast, Katharine Sands, Senior Literary Agent at Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency in New York, talks to Estelle Erasmus about the following

* What she looks for in a writer/author
* The number one mistake people make when pitching an agent
* How to make sure you pick the right agent for you
* Resources for writers


Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
Her book: Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye
Supplemental Interview: Further Insight into Katharine Sands
Manuscript Wish List (With Katharine’s colleague, Jessica Sinsheimer)

Margaret Guroff is an executive editor at AARP The Magazine, and a former editor of Baltimore magazine. She is also the editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick, an online annotation of Herman Melville's classic novel. Her cultural history book, The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life, was published in 2016 by the University of Texas Press.

Click here to access Margaret's recording and show notes.

In this podcast, Margaret Guroff,  Executive Editor of AARP talks to Estelle Erasmus about:

* AARP and her role there
* The all- important demographic of her reader (it’s not always what you think)
* What she looks for in a submission or pitch
* Does she take pitches?
* How to contact her/AARP
* The stories she is clamoring for
* Word count, rights and payment
* Editor pet peeves
* How the editing process works
* How to contact digital
* What’s next for AARP


AARP Writer's Guidelines
AARP Editorial Calendar
Subscribe to AARP Magazine

Tyler Moss is editor-in-chief of Writer’s Digest, a national magazine for professional and aspirational writers that has celebrated the “Writing Life” since 1920. While at WD, he’s interviewed such notable authors as George Saunders, Andy Weir, Scott Turow, Rainbow Rowell and Heather Graham.

Before WD, Tyler was the online editor of Family Tree Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Conde Nast Traveler, and his articles have been published by The Atlantic, New York, Outside, DRAFT, Salon, MentalFloss, Atlas ObscuraPasteVICE, Playboy and more.

Click here to access Tyler's recording and show notes.

In this podcast, Tyler Moss, the new Editor-in-Chief of Writer’s Digest talks to Estelle Erasmus about:

* The mission of Writer’s Digest
* What he looks for in a submission or pitch
* Does he prefer a completed piece or a pitch?
* The best way to contact WD
* His favorite topics to cover?
* What he’d like to see more of in the publication?
* Opportunities for freelance writers to break in
* Payment and rights
* His pet peeves as an editor
* What makes a must-read article
* Exciting news for Writer’s Digest

Click to subscribe to Writer's Digest
@WritersDigest on Twitter and Instagram
WD New podcast
Twitter: @tjmoss11

Kyle Pope is Editor and Publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining CJR, he held top posts at The Wall Street Journal, where he spent a decade as an editor and foreign correspondent, at Cond√© Nast, and at The New York Observer. His work has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic and elsewhere. In the summer of 2017, he testified before Congress's Judiciary Committee on threats to the press.

Click here to access Kyle's recording and show notes

In this podcast, Kyle talks to  Estelle Erasmus about:

* The origin of CJR, it's reader's demographics, and it's mission.
* Opportunities for freelance writers (including payment)
* What he looks for in pitches and how writer's can contact h im.
* His main role as editor/publisher.
* The state of the industry, and whether he thinks publications will eventually all go digital
* His thoughts on the repercussions from the tariff on out-of-country newsprint
*Advice on what freelance writer organizations (such as ASJA) can do to protect free speech
*His feelings on "Fake News" and Facebook
*The future of longform journalism

Find CJR on twitter and subscribe to the CJR podcast here

Beth Dreher is the Features Director at Woman’s Day magazine, a publication that reaches millions of readers each month. As a nearly 20-year veteran of the media industry, Beth knows how to craft compelling, inspiring stories and essays that capture the attention of a diverse audience. Her writing has appeared on BuzzFeed and in Reader’s Digest, Runner’s World, and more. Beth holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. 

Click here to access Beth's recording and show notes

In this podcast, Beth Dreher talks to Estelle Erasmus about: 

**Opportunities writing for Woman's Day magazine (print)
*History of the publication
*What she looks for in article pitches
*Sections ideal for freelancers
*Payment information
*A day in her life as an editor
*The types of personal essays for the magazine that resonate for her
*What makes Woman's Day stand out from the competition
Link to subscribe

Sari Botton is: a writer living in Kingston, New York; Essays Editor for Longreads; editor of the award-winning anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving NY and its New York Times-Bestselling follow-up, Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for NY; operator of Kingston Writers' Studio; and the editorial director of the non-profit TMI Project

Click here to access Sari's recording and show notes

In this podcast, Sari Botton talks to Estelle Erasmus about: 

**Opportunities writing for Longreads
What she looks for in essays
*Submission pet peeves
*Longreads origin
*Submitting  writers for awards 
*How she edits
*Hot takes on topics and more


The Longreads Top 5 Weekly Newsletter
Longreads' Twitter
Longreads' Instagram
My Twitter

  • A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
    – Sidney Sheldon
  • A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
    – Kenneth Tynan
  • A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self–addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
    – Ring Lardner
  • A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
    – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary – it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
    – Somerset Maugham
  • Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.
    – Christopher Hampton
  • Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
    – Lawrence Kasdan
  • Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
    –Wilson Mizner
  • Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
    – Flannery O'Connor
  • I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because I don't think it's finished yet.
    – Lawrence Welk
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
    – Douglas Adams
  • I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.
    – Stephen Wright
  • It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
    – Robert Benchley
  • It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    – Andrew Jackson
  • Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.
    – Richard Curtis
  • No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self–deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
    – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
    –Somerset Maugham
  • Writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub. Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It's a wonder that most of them don't.
    – Stephen King
  • Writing a novel is like spelunking. You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here.
    – Chang–rae Lee
  • Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
    –Samuel Johnson