Model of Jerusalem at the time of the 2nd Temple now situated at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


This blog has now moved and is incorporated into my new website 

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

The website contains my new blog   and information about  workshops and email courses I offer as well as my editing services.

So please pop over and say hello and sign up to get new  information and blog posts  as they are  published.

I look forward to seeing you all over in  our new home.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I’m often asked,
”Why did they reject my  last piece?”                                                           
“Why did they take the last two stories essays I sent them but not this one?”
“ I think my stories are good and everyone says so, so why doesn’t  …..magazine publish them?”

There many possible reasons why articles /queries/ essays are rejected.

1. The magazine may  have recently published something similar.

2. It might be on a subject that just doesn’t interest their readers. Take it from me, the editors know better than you, what interests their readers.

3. It might be too long or too short for them – most publications have standard length for their articles and you need to read a few  copies to get an idea of their length and style.

4. If you’re writing for the religious Jewish market, the particular  subject that you’re writing about or the way that you have written it may not be handled by the publication, or be too questionable or with to many problematic ideas/ thoughts to pass their rabbinical editorial board.

5. It may not be written well.

Notice that reason #5  which is the reason most people think is THE  reason, comes last,so that you don’t always take rejections personally. If you have had several items published then the chances are that you are able to write well. However it is always  possible that you rushed this off too fast and didn’t take enough care with it. Read it through again and check for typos, incorrect grammar, sloppy word choice – just in case this is the reason
Only essays, humor and short stories should be sent in already written to the publication.

All non-fiction article  ideas should be sent as queries before you start writing. them.It’s a waste of time to write the article and then send it in, unless the publication asks to see only completed articles.

These are a few possibilities for rejections, please feel free to add more in the comments section below

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Do you long to give up your day job and write full-time?
Maybe you don’t  have a day job but would like to make an income writing from home?

If so, then Naomi Elbinger’s ebook  “HOW TO MAKE MONEY WRITING FOR THE WEB”   is the book for you . It gives you a complete step by step  guide showing you how make it happen.
 Naomi is the blogger behind the popular business blog, and  blogger-in-chief for a leading Web Development and Marketing Firm, so she has plenty of practical experience to offer newbies and those who are just now  getting their feet wet in the web writing world.


The book is divided into three parts taking the reader point by point through;

1. writing for the web
2.building a career as a web content writer
3.setting up your own blog.

If concepts such as keywords and  S.E.O ( search engine optimization)  make your eyes glaze over and are preventing you from considering this form of writing, don’t worry. Naomi explains them  all in simple, clear language and details  how to write your articles with all these and other web concepts in mind.

Other sections of the book include:
  • Writing exercises.
  • Discussions of the pros and cons of writing for content-mills.
  • Points to consider regarding working freelance or being employed.
  • 7 things  NOT to do if you want to succeed. 
  • How to find jobs before they are advertised
  • Links to many sites  which are hungry for articles which you could write NOW.
  • Checklist for  web writers before submitting any article..
Even if you don’t intend to write for the web, Naomi packs in  a lot of information  that will help you improve your writing for print publications as well, such as:
  • The  types of articles that editors love. 
  • The 4 step formula for writing great articles
  • How to rewrite a not-so-great opening so that it becomes irresistible.
  • How to write amazing attention catching  titles.
This book is pure ‘tachlis’;  practical, hands-on tips, exercises and information. In fact it seems to contain all you need to start a potentially well-paid career as a web-content writer.

Web-writing isn’t a get-rich-quick-while-lying-on-the-couch career.  It will probably  mean leaving your comfort zone and trying things you’ve never tried before

But if you really want to try this profession, are prepared to work hard and  follow the blueprint in this book, you have a great chance  of building a successful new career.

Click here to view more details

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Are you ignoring  a great potential market that is right on your doorstep? I’m talking about your local newspaper.
It may not be glamorous or glossy and it may not pay big bucks, but it needs to fill its pages day after day, or at least week after week, with material that you are in a wonderful position to provide.
It’s also an ideal place to start,if you haven’t yet been published and are nervous about querying the big glossy magazines.
Although it will probably provide a small amount of national or even international news, its importance lies in its local angle. The editor wants to know about people,places and events in the area the newspaper covers.
But it still needs some research before you rush off a query about your nephew’s kindergarten teacher who moonlights as an opera singer.
  • Read the publication thoroughly from front to back making notes about the types of topics that are covered.
  • Note how how much space is given to community events/ education issues / profiles of local people  etc.
  • Read several editions to check if some topics/columns are regulars and are always written by the same person. If so your chances of writing on this topic are less than on a topic which is always written by different people.
  • Look through the list and see which section you could contribute to.
  • Brainstorm some ideas making sure they have a local angle  Perhaps an interesting off-the-beaten-track  local site/ someone with an unusual hobby/ a special activity at  your children’s school
  • .Develop one or two into full-blown queries indicating why you think it would be a good story for your newspaper.
  • Check the paper’s masthead to see which editor covers your topic and send off your query.
  • If you haven’t heard anything within a week, drop another email checking on your idea.
  • If they aren’t interested in these ideas, don’t give up. Think of some others and query those.
                                                 GOOD LUCK

Monday, November 7, 2011

STOP–before you hit “send”

Sometimes it’s such a relief to finally finish an  article, especially if it’s been hanging like an albatross around your neck for weeks on end.
But no matter how relieved you are that you’ve actually got to the end  – don’t hit ‘send’ just yet.
  • Wait overnight and re read the piece the  next day.Print it out. Don’t try and edit/proof read on the computer it’s very difficult to catch all the mistakes and spelling and punctuation errors.Don’t rely on your spell-check; it doesn’t know if you want ‘there’, ‘their’ or ‘they’re’.
  • Try and think of an eye catching title. Even if the editor changes it he’ll appreciate your attempt.
  • Check the word count – make sure you are no more than  10% over your limit or 2% under it.
  • Did you go that extra mile that will  make the editor look forward to working with you again e.g. send some suitable images or an additional side-bar of information.
  • When you send the article, write a short covering introductory email and then include the article  in the body of the email and also send it as an attachment. This gives your editor the two options of reading and downloading to edit.
  • Check that you are sending it to the correct editor and that you have spelled  his/her name correctly.
Now you can hit ‘send’ and make a note in your diary  when to follow up with the editor.
Good Luck

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


It’s frequently quoted that you can’t make a living writing essays – and this may well be true. 
 But  essays are a wonderful addition to your writing arsenal, and the more mature you are, the more you have to write about..

As the years have gone by I have written more and more essays for various publications and with practice they have become easier to write and almost all have been published ,( the ones that don’t usually end up on my other blog)

I’m not going to give definitions / directions / hints and tips about writing because so many other people have written about essay writing far better than I can,  so I’m giving some links below  to a variety of articles on the subject .

Now once, you’ve picked your topic and written the essay, where are you going to send it?
Below are links to guidelines of  a number of online and print publications that publish essays .
I suggest that you take the time to read some of the essays that they have already published to get some idea of what they are interested in and the style they prefer.

Most essays are between 700 – 1000 words with the preferred number being  usually 800 – 900 but always check the guidelines.

Some of the below markets have both online and print publications and some only pay for one version. If you want to get paid check carefully what the current rates are.

Although the CS in the  title is Christian Science, this is an online newspaper with  a very tenuous connection to religion. They like essays connected to travel, nature and parenting.
Here are some essays they have recently published in the Home Forum section
Sasee – essays on topics of interest to women
Brainchild – The Magazine for thinking mothers

Chicken Soup stories – current needs for various upcoming books
Underwired – women’s stories
Skirt – essays for and about women monthly essays are according to themes
Guideposts – stories to inspire

Family Tree – Genealogy Magazine – they have one essay  column called  Everything’s Relative


Aish Hatorah  -  show Jewish wisdom in a positive manner

   Mishpacha weekly magazine with separate supplements for women and children
Ami  -  weekly Magazine with separate supplements for women and tweenagers
Here is a market analysis I wrote a few months ago.

With so much choice what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


When I first started writing non-fiction  I used to think that when I was quoted a rate for an article, it was ‘take it or leave it’.
I was so grateful for being published  that I never queried the rate nor asked for more.

But that attitude isn’t really logical. Some places are offering the same rate per word / article / story now as they were ten years ago.

Would you remain in the same place of work and not apply for a raise in ten years?

There are several way of possibly getting more money for an article and it’s certainly worth trying them.
Don’t worry that  the editor will be so angry that she’ll decide to cancel the assignment – I’ve never heard of that happening.
The worst that can happen is she’ll say NO. But at least you will have tried.

  1. If you have been writing for the publication for some time ask if you can have your rate increased as you have shown that you write consistently well / stick to deadlines / turn in good clean copy that requires minimum editing  etc.

  1. If you can’t have your word rate increased, ask if you can add words by including a useful sidebar. Obviously what you write will depend on the topic of the article.

             Travel – how to get there / fare prices / hotel and restaurant information..
             Parenting – tips on the topic according to the different  ages of  children.
             Food – conversion of cups= grams= ounces / 
                         alternatives for making the food  parev instead of milchik 
  1. Ask for pay for photographs. Sometimes the submissions editor has her hands tied regarding pay rates but is allowed some creative leeway to help her regular writers earn more. When a publication I wrote for reduced their freelance rates ( yes I know it does happen -  I  am   living in   the real word) I asked to be paid extra for the photographs  I supplied and that way  at least I got it back to my old rate.
4. If the publication has a flat rate per article suggest you spread the topic over two articles. When you submit your query you’ll have to show that you have enough material for two articles but, especially with online articles, when readers’ attention span is limited, two articles are often better than one – and you get paid twice.