Welcome Shalomoji friends to our third feature interview with Founder, Writer, Creator, and Jewess in chief, Kylie Ora Lobell of Jewess, an online magazine for Jewish women. Lobell dives deep into life as a freelance writer and online magazine owner. She discusses Jewess Magazine submission guidelines, offers a slew of advice for newbie writers, covers monetization tactics, and much, much more! Check out the full interview below!
Q: Jewess is described as a “site geared towards modern Jewish women of all backgrounds looking for a place of inspiration, entertainment, and community.” Tell us more about the online magazine for those who may not know.
A: I converted to Judaism two years ago after living an observant lifestyle for the last seven years. During this time, I’ve written a lot about Judaism and my conversion process for sites like Aish, Chabad, Jewcy, and The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. I thought it was time to start my own publication for Jewish women. Some sites have sections specifically for Jewish women, but none of them are only for this demographic. I wanted to change that. We are doing too much good in the world and it should be publicized.
Q: What compelled you to launch Jewess Magazine?
A: As I said above, I found a niche that I thought was lacking. I know so many awesome Jewish women in my community and there are incredible Jewish women in the world at large doing amazing things. They are devoted wives and mothers, they run non-profits, they create television shows, they do art, they write, they volunteer, and they own businesses. I wanted to start a site that would highlight these women and their accomplishments.
Q: Tell us about your role at Jewess Magazine and what a day in the life looks like for you?
A: It just launched last week, but so far, I solicit articles from writers, edit them, make suggestions, and help them create a piece that is meaningful or funny or useful or whatever! I try to get pieces that you wouldn’t see elsewhere. I also update all my social media, which is hugely important for promotional purposes. I usually work out of my house or a coffee shop. If I’m at home, I’m doing my work while hanging out with my husband Danny Lobell and my dogs and my chickens and my tortoise.
Q: What are some topics Jewess Magazine looks for in submissions? Any specific topics you’d love to see more of?
A: I love personal essays and profiles of Jewish women. Right now it’s pretty Orthodox-focused, so I’d love to branch out to other communities. This is meant to be a site for Jewish women, not Jewish women of any certain denomination. We are all one.
Q: Do you prefer pitches or a completed article? What tips can you give someone regarding what information to include or not include in a pitch?
A: Pitches. Please include your professional background and some writing samples. I like specificity, too.
Q: Walk us through the submission process and how long writers should be patient before hearing back.
A: You can email me your pitch at JewessMag@Gmail.com, and as long as it’s not Shabbat or a holiday I’ll get back that day usually. When I’m not observing Jewish holidays or Shabbat, I’m pretty much constantly online.
Q: Tell us about the benefits Jewess writers enjoy including possible payment.
A: Right now all writers are volunteer, but of course, I hope to change that very soon. I’m a full-time freelancer myself and I know how important it is to get paid. That may turn off some full-time freelancers, but I completely understand. I’m doing all this for free. It’s a labor of love. Hopefully I’ll grow it really huge and be able to pay my writers $2 a word one day.
Q: What’s your policy on submitting previously published work on another site or personal blog? Do you ever consider that or does it need to be original for consideration?
A: It must be original. A) It’s a personal preference and B) I don’t want to get penalized on Google search.
Q: You have an extensive background as a freelance writer. In particular, you’ve written for a variety of Jewish publications, such as Aish, Chabad, The Jewish Journal, The Forward and Tablet Magazine. You’ve also written articles for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Mayim Bialik’s Grok Nation. What advice would you give to a) a newbie freelancer writer? b) to someone who is thinking about starting his/her own online magazine or blog?
A: Go for it. You may need to have a normal day job for a while before you can do it full-time, but if you turn in excellent work on time and you are nice to your clients, you will get there. I started off in 2010 making $50-$150 a week writing articles for my local paper in Brooklyn. Now I make a decent salary and can survive in Los Angeles. As for your own magazine, learn the craft first and look for a niche before you jump in.
Q: What promotional tactics do you recommend newbie online writers/ bloggers to use to raise awareness about their online magazine/blog? What has worked best for you in terms of gaining a loyal audience?
A: Find a niche. Learn about social media. Read about SEO. Join relevant groups on social media. Make friends with influencers. There are lots of guides out there you can read. If you have enough money, hire social media consultants to help you.
Q: We noticed Jewess Magazine is preparing to launch a podcast by the end of September 2017. What inspired you to create the podcast and what can listeners expect from The Jewess podcast?
A: My husband has a huge podcast called Modern Day Philosophers where he talks philosophy with comedians and he told me I should start my own. That was supposed to be my new venture, and then he said to turn it into a website as well. My husband has the best ideas.
Listeners can expect a monthly interview with a Jewish woman doing amazing things. So far I have Rain Pryor, comedian Richard Pryor’s daughter and an entertainer herself as my first guest. My dream is to get on Lena Dunham and Rachel Bloom and Ilana Glazer and Jenji Kohan. Since my husband is a comedian I’m very into that world as well.
Q: Monetization is obviously an area of significance to online writers/bloggers who aspire to make either a part-time or full-time living writing. What monetization tactics do you recommend for newbie online writers/bloggers?
A: Build yourself up in a certain niche, and take all my advice from above. Always be humble and do what your clients want, as long as you’re not sacrificing your integrity.
Q: What’s next for Jewess Magazine?
A: I’m going to build it up and produce multiple pieces of content a day. And work towards paying my writers.