By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Mar 24, 2003 at 5:24 AM

In 1887, two Boston Globe reporters started a small publication to help writers with their craft and careers. Today, this magazine, called The Writer, is one of America's most popular writing magazines, and is created and published every month in suburban Waukesha.

Kalmbach Publishing Company, a local, medium-sized publisher best known for magazines like Bead & Button and Astronomy, purchased the Writer in 2000 and completely redesigned it. The content, however, changed very little.

"We redesigned the magazine, but we stayed close to the original mission," says Editor Elfrieda Abbe, who oversees a staff of three. "We've added some sections on the business of writing and using the Internet that are essential to writers today."

With Abbe at the wheel, The Writer has already doubled its circulation to more than 40,000 subscribers. The 116-year-old magazine features information about all aspects of writing, with interviews and advice from today's literary heavies such as Stephen King, John Irving, Sue Miller, Anne Lamott, Jane Hamilton, Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Higgins Clark and Maeve Binchy.

"We provide writers with the information, instruction and inspiration they need to achieve their writing goals, whether that means being published or writing a family history for their loved ones," says Abbe. "The publishing field is very competitive today and writers need to know everything they can about how the industry works."

Abbe, who lives on Milwaukee's East Side, grew up in a handful of the Great Plains states. Her parents owned a string of mildly successful businesses, and moved around a lot to explore new ventures. Interested in writing and reading since childhood, Abbe went on to graduate from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas with a BA in English.

Before joining The Writer, she was the arts and entertainment editor for The Milwaukee Sentinel, the publisher and editor of Angles: Women Working in Film and Video, publications editor at the University of Wisconsin College/Milwaukee College of Letters and Science and taught film criticism at MIAD.


Abbe has also penned quite a few freelance articles and believes freelance writing is a profession that can be lucrative despite the fierce competition and seemingly over-abundance of low-paying gigs. "You really have to approach it as a business," she says. "You have to know how to market your talents and skills. That's probably where anyone with romantic notions about freelancing falls down -- in the area of marketing."

The Writer provides load of information to help writers handle the marketing aspects of the profession, but is also committed to those who write for themselves. In either case, the passion to write comes from the same place.

"Writing touches on some basic desire to tell a story, express yourself or make sense of the world," says Abbe. "And generations later, our writing will help others understand the world as we saw it."

For more information about The Writer, go to

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.