My students and clients say that I’m a “literary fairy godmother” and “publishing on steroids,” because once they start working with me they get published fast and furiously in top outlets like The Washington Post, The New York Times, The LA Times, The New York Post, Teen Vogue, Brain, Child, Your Teen, Saveur, Quartz, The Guardian and more.
JANE MAI NGO (my NYU Writing Health and Beauty student)
I can’t thank you enough for being my instructor. I’ve been in formal education for most of my life, and there are few instructor’s like you. While we have never met in person, you have made a strong presence in my life. I’ve now followed you on every social media platform and I’m so grateful that there is a Facebook group to remain in touch.
I can see how much of a mentor you are to so many aspiring writers like me. I’ve had moments of contemplation on pulling out of professional writing all together. I understand that I am still very new at this and rejection comes with the territory. However, your guidance, feedback, and you just being you online fills back my cup to keep going.
I have no idea how far I will get in my career as a writer, but I wish to thank you anyway for being my first and best writing instructor that I will likely ever have. Thank you for speaking to the inner kid in me who loved to write and followed her dream of living in France all the way to Bordeaux, where I’ll keep writing in the vast array of cafes in the city. You’ve reached my heart and my mind through your wisdom and guidance.
The course “Pitch an Article: Write for Today’s Marketplace” is excellent. The instructor Estelle Erasmus is personable, professional, but most of all knowledgeable. Her course included amazing resources including videos and creative exercises to help us practice the material we were learning. What I liked most about the course was Estelle’s feedback. She provided constructive feedback that helped us improve our material.
After publishing a few pieces, I’d been in a writing slump for a few years. I knew that I had a lot of stories to tell, but I was feeling muddled about things like story scope and angle, length, and pitching. Estelle’s Writer’s Digest Personal Essay 101 class approaches the craft of the essay from many sides: studying different types of essays in reading assignments, lectures on important elements essays need to have, and weekly writing prompts that got my juices flowing. Estelle is a writing and publishing veteran with a wealth of expertise. Her instruction on the essay and pitching in general and her feedback on my writing in particular were immensely beneficial. Just a few weeks after the course ended, I sold a piece to The Independent that I had worked on in class. I recommend this class to sharpen your technique and get your writing flowing.
Working with Estelle Erasmus was great! I learned so much about many genres of writing, all in a relatively short amount of time. Course resources were well-chosen to inform but not overwhelm.
After an eye on Estelle’s online class schedule for about a year during the pandemic, I finally found one I could attend: “Writing your life: using lived experiences for article ideas and pitches.” In this short class, I learned why so many students flock to Estelle’s side. She encouraged each of us to spend a few minutes (without overthinking) making a list of 5 topics we wanted to write about and another few minutes jotting down our personal connection to those topics. Then we each read our list aloud. Estelle listened, picked her favorite, and spitballed how to make the idea more marketable: fresh angles, timely hooks, even title brainstorms. I left feeling inspired to pitch an idea I would have otherwise left to languish in my “Ideas” folder. In the near future, I hope to take Estelle’s “Writing a strong ending to an essay or article” class so I can learn how to land my unwieldy drafts that refuse to come to a close!
I really enjoyed the content of this course and feel I learned a lot. Estelle Erasmus was a great teacher as she is a world of knowledge and also very caring about her students and their progress. I will definitely take more Writer’s Digest University classes and look for classes taught be Estelle for sure. Thank you!
After years of writing classes and a handful of published pieces, I began working with Estelle and received offers on 12 pieces within months. So far, my essays have been published in The Washington Post, The Independent, Next Avenue, Motherwell, HuffPost, and AARP’s The Girlfriend. I took Estelle’s personal essay workshop at Writers’ Digest, Writing Parenthood at NYU and Writing About Midlife at NYU and hired her as a writing coach. Her guidance pushed my storytelling to a deeper level and taught me to pitch more effectively. Estelle offers insightful and encouraging feedback and shares tips and strategies on how to get stories published. She gives constructive criticism and enthusiastic support. She keeps me motivated and celebrates all victories, making her far more than a teacher and more like a writing fairy godmother.
JOCELYN JANE COX
I have learned so much from working with Estelle, both about the mechanics of writing and also the mechanics of pitching. With her help, I have been able to narrow my focus, identify essential information, “kill my darlings” and…get published. Though I have an MFA in creative writing, and 20+ years of writing experience under my belt, I’ve realized that we all can use some professional help. I presented Estelle with a specific goal and she did everything in her power to help me achieve it. She is responsive and insightful. I am grateful for her expertise and highly recommend her.
SALINA JIVANI (NYU Student)
Estelle has been a dream come true! I stumbled across her NYU course by pure luck online when I was desperate to learn how to publish with national publications. I kept up with her through her online newsletters for about a year before I decided to take the plunge and enroll in her writing class. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect or how much value the course would add to my publication goals, but from day 1, Estelle put my apprehensions to rest. Not only did she produce a curriculum fully invested in our success by providing weekly opportunities to review work and lend us direct access to editors, but she was supportive, patient and kind with her edits and insights. I’ve truly never met an instructor more dedicated and devoted to their students’ success. Estelle not only wants and pushes you to succeed, but she takes your success to mean her own, which shows the sincerity and passion with which she approaches her role as a devoted instructor.
Thanks to her guidance, I’m well on my way to achieving my dreams of publishing. I can’t recommend her or her expertise enough to someone who is serious about writing and making a name for themselves in the industry! She is known as publishing on steroids, and I couldn’t think of a more apt way to describe her or the results delivered by her courses! Thank you times a million, Estelle.
SUSAN SPARKS (Writer’s Digest and NYU Student)
This course was a great jump start for me to start procrastinating and write actual pieces that have potential. I especially appreciated Estelle’s specific feedback nohow a piece could be made stronger and clearer. An unbelievable bonus for me was her introduction to an editor who has accepted one essay and is currently considering a second.
ALYCE SHU (Writer’s Digest student)
I am very appreciative to have Estelle Erasmus as my writing coach for ‘Getting Start in Writing’. She spent time to understand what I wanted to deliver and helped me to make my content richer, clearer, more to the point. She would generously write down which parts were good, which parts needed more substantial work, which parts would contribute to the overall objective—one by one. Estelle gave me invaluable feedback on my writing based on professional writing guidelines and voices usage expectations, etc. Estelle responded to all my questions—she is happy to go above and beyond to lead you. I have learned so much from her. I am grateful.
BETTINA CISNEROS (Writer’s Digest student)
I had been struggling with how to pitch an article and this class was the ideal solution. Estelle provides the insights for understanding the process, sample pitches, and best practices that provide the idea foundation, and exercises that help you improve. The on-demand nature of the class made it easy to fit into my schedule and Estelle’s feedback on my pitches and responses to questions helped me understand the process greatly and improve my approach.
GAIL GASPAR (Writer’s Digest student)
Estelle Erasmus is an engaged instructor. She comments and adds to participants’ posts in a timely manner, and shares content I will use to get articles published.
HEIDI BORST (NYU student)
As an experienced parenting writer, I’d been trying for months to crack into Washington Post’s On Parenting vertical with no luck. I signed up for Estelle’s NYU “Writing Parenthood” course to strengthen my pitching game, and the piece I worked on in class with Estelle got picked up by WaPo right away. Her extensive experience as an editor and writer helped me craft a reported essay that was timely and relatable. Whether you’re a long time writer looking to refine your skills or a newbie trying to break in, Estelle’s instruction will inspire and inform.”
EMILY P.G. ERICKSON (NYU student)
I As an experienced was drawn to Estelle’s class Writing Midlife and Beyond in part because it promised that, at the end of it, we’d have a pitch and a draft ready for the big time. Estelle really delivered. She told me which of my story ideas was best, gave feedback on my pitch, and told me to reach for the stars. So I did, and that’s how I came to have my first byline in The New York Times for my piece What To Expect When You’re Expecting The Worst. I promise you, if Estelle had not said pitch this to The Times and if she had not advised along the way, I would not have dared to do it, and I would not have achieved this success at this time. If you have a dream publication you’re trying to break into, Estelle can help get you there.
CHELSEA WINER (Writer’s Digest student)
Estelle is knowledgeable and generous with her help. Her expert editing and advice helped me craft a better pitch letter, and gave me the skills to carry me forward with my piece for Wired, Underwater Meditation and the Therapeutic Benefits of VR. Her pitching course with Writer’s Digest is 100% worth it.
It may sound ironic, or counter-intuitive, but I don’t have the words to describe the difference Estelle has made in my writing, and my life. Although I have an MFA, I am inexperienced in journalism. Additionally, I’m a *little disorganized, and I have imposter syndrome. Estelle’s coaching style is very encouraging. She has helped me refine my ideas through conversations before I begin writing. When I am working on a draft, Estelle provides feedback and asks the kinds of questions that editors ask, which is so helpful…because I’m not an editor!
It’s really hard to walk the fine line of criticism (I’m also an English teacher.) Mentors and coaches don’t want to discourage their students; but Estelle is able to let me know what won’t work or what isn’t working. That kind of guidance is invaluable. Knowing what wouldn’t work, and knowing when to stop, gave me the energy to GO on two pieces that were published up by The Huffington Post and The New York Times.
I took classes at Writer’s Digest with Estelle, as well as her NYU Class, Writing Parenthood, Writing Midlife and 1 x 1 coaching. Estelle is the foil to all of my inadequacies and insecurities. She is professional, talented, creative, friendly and fun. I can’t believe the places my work has been accepted and I owe it all to Estelle. She has brought out the best in me. She has made a difference in my life, and I, in turn, have been able to produce writing that I hope will change the world. Thank you Estelle!!
I’m very glad I took Estelle’s Writer’s Digest pitch class. I appreciated her feedback and the edits she made on my work. I thought how great it would be to have her advice on my upcoming project and to get her edits on my current piece. Luckily, she had availability in her schedule to work with me. Since then, she brainstormed with me to get my research project into gear. And she made edits to an essay that I submitted to a literary journal. The results: That journal is now publishing my essay. And my research project now has a website. Mission accomplished with Estelle!
When I sold a highly personal, autobiographical essay to Narratively I thought it would be simple. After all, I’d lived the events. However once I dug into the story, I found myself overwhelmed by the memories and struggling to disentangle what was important to the reader and what simply felt important to me. Working with Estelle, she was able to offer perspective on the structure of the story while still maintaining the integrity of my own personal experience and voice. Her efforts were tireless, even after three rounds of edits, and she never rushed the process. I’m delighted with how the story turned out and excited to work with Estelle again in the future.
NIR EYAL (author of Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life)
I’d wanted to write for The New York Times for years but didn’t know how to pitch properly. Estelle Erasmus helped me every step of the way and I’m proud to say my article was published on our first try! I couldn’t have done it without her!
Estelle accepted my pitch, and helped me edit and publish my first story for Narratively, and it was wonderful to work whither on it! She was patient, understanding, incredibly accessible, a PLEASURE to work with, and let me keep my own voice throughout the piece—which I appreciate so much! I loved working with her and hope that I can again soon. Thank you, Estelle!
I just started working with Estelle as my writing coach and I have a publishing success to shout about. Because of Estelle’s editing and crafting help, my article “A Dead And Company Concert Helped Me Heal 30 Years After Losing My Son” was just published on Huffington Post Personals. This is something I’ve been working on for months. My ideal was HuffPost but many discouraged me because it’s such a difficult venue to break in to.
When I met Estelle through her excellent course on “How to Pitch” sponsored by Writer’s Digest, she helped me rewrite the Grateful Dead pitch and send to an editor at the magazine. When I was invited to submit the full essay (around 4000) but cut to 1800 words, I hired Estelle to make the major cuts and edits. When she was through, she had preserved the essence of this piece that is so close to my heart. She also made it appealing to HuffPost because they accepted her edited version. This is an important moment for me and I’m so grateful to Estelle for making it happen, and I look forward to continuing to work with her as my 1 x 1 writing coach.
Estelle has the ability to look at the core of your writing and notice smaller details that often go unnoticed. I had the opportunity of working with her as my editor through Narratively and came away so impressed by her insightful questions and observations throughout our collaboration. She knows intuitively when you are withholding and pushes you to dig deeper to find the bigger picture in your story. Working with Estelle has been an absolute pleasure and I’m so grateful for her thoughtful, incisive guidance!
Estelle is an award-winning journalist, editor and coach who is steeped in experience as the former editor-in-chief of five publications. You can feel every minute of it in the courses she teaches. She helps her students thread the needle from mere idea into tight, well-researched and relevant pitch. As the host and curator of the American Society for Journalists and Authors (ASJA) Direct Podcast: Inside Intel on Getting Published and Paid Well, where she has interviewed leading editors from top publications, including Wall Street Journal and Woman’s Day, she never loses sight of editor’s preferences which, she knows from watching the industry over decades, varies and shifts. Her advice and insight is indispensable—but her encouragement is key too. She helps her students remember to instill their writer’s voice and platform into all of their work. I recently had the privilege of taking her class called Writing for Today’s Marketplace from Writers Digest University—and I urge any professional writer who wants to up their game to sign up for any class she is teaching. The care and depth of her editing, the thoughtfulness of her presentations and the resources she lists, went well above and beyond my expectations.
I virtually met Estelle in a writing group. Her helpful feedback and suggestions in the group led me to sign up for her Writer’s Digest course, Writing the Personal Essay. During the class, when Estelle edited my essays, it helped me to understand how to improve sentence structure, and delete unnecessary words. As the instructor, Estelle was helpful, accessible, and a clear communicator who provided excellent feedback and answered all my questions. To help guide us further, she provided informative reading materials and essay examples. After the class, Estelle kept in touch with me, providing mentoring and advice. So I didn’t hesitate to hire Estelle when my pitch to the New York Times was accepted. She coached me through the entire process, providing invaluable guidance and encouragement and then edited my rough draft. For me, having a pitch accepted to the New York Times was the equivalent of making an Olympic team, for which of course you would hire a coach to see you through the process. I highly recommend working one on one with Estelle, and taking any of her courses.
JULIANNA MINER (The writer behind the award-winning humor blog Rants from Mommyland)
Working with Estelle has been a godsend. I’m a professional writer with a book coming out, but I still have a lot to learn. I now have a process set up to identify newsworthy topics to write about and turn them around quickly. She’s helped me hone my strengths in terms of voice and expertise. She’s also given me great advice on how to structure my articles, building on those strengths. As a result, I’m more confident about getting pieces written and pitching them.
Recently, I wrote and pitched something and found myself floundering – waiting to hear back from editors and freaking out. With Estelle’s help, I reached out again, reworked the article, and got it accepted in two places. Ultimately, it ran online in The Washington Post and the other outlet that accepted it would like to work with me again. Her help and support has truly been invaluable.
LAUREN B. STEVENS
If you’ve ever gotten so involved in a piece of writing that you couldn’t see your way out of it, you’ll understand why I contacted Estelle for editing help. I knew that my story was in there, I just needed help weeding through the words and guiding my readers through the essay. Estelle’s edits were clear, concise, and helped me refine my long-form piece. The best part of working with Estelle is that her suggestions challenged me to become a better writer.
I’m happy to say that with Estelle’s guidance, my long-form piece was chosen as the essay winner of the Missouri Humanities Council’s Proud to Be military-service literature series. My essay, “Georgia On My Mind,” will be printed in the 7th edition of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, published by Southeast Missouri State University Press.
I look forward to working with Estelle again in the future!