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How to Get Your Feature Pitch Accepted

Veteran scribes share tips on how to make it into the prestigious "well"

- July 15, 2013
If you've heard it once, you've heard it time and time again: to land your first byline in a magazine, pitch the FOB, or front of the book, first.

Editors at Destination Weddings & Honeymoons say it: "For features, we typically generate the ideas in house, then assign them out to well-traveled, proven freelancers who have written extensively for our FOB departments and know our brand well." So, does Every Day With Rachael Ray ("Newbies should start by pitching…the front-of-book"), Wired ("Pitching the five-pronged front-of-book section is the best way to get your foot in the door") GQ and just about every other big glossy out there.

But, what if you really, really, really want to write a feature? Well, nailing your first spot in the coveted "well" of a magazine involves more than simply pitching the idea. Your topic -- and timing -- have to be spot on, and you need to convince an editor that you're the best writer for the assignment. But when living outside of the media hotbeds of New York and L.A. means no chance of rubbing elbows with gatekeepers at industry events, how do you know exactly what magazine editors want? Hint: You'll need more than a killer lede or a glowing portfolio.

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