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How to Write for the Front of the Book

5 expert tips to help you land a byline in the FOB

By Alisha Tillery - June 27, 2011

"The very best place for a new writer to break into magazine writing is in the front-of-the-book section," says Aliya S. King, an author and award-winning journalist who kicked off her career with a small piece on the death of disco legend Gwen Guthrie for Vibe in 1998. "This is where shorter, timely news stories are covered, and it's generally where an editor may take a chance on a new writer."

Hear that, freelancers? You can spend hours fighting other contributors for space in the feature well or gunning for a chance to pen that investigative cover if you'd like, but smart writers know that a 65-word blurb is likely the best shot at a byline.

With fashion spreads chocked full of photo captions, clever bulleted lists and quick news roundups, the front of the book sets a publication's editorial tone. (Think: GQ's "The Manual" or Newsweek's "NewsBeast.") And writing for this important but oft-overlooked section is an art.

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