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11 Ways To Get An Editors Attention


I worked as a business magazine editor for about 20 years. During that time, thousands of news stories and press releases crossed my desk.

How does an editor decide what stories to run, and which ones to throw away? If you know what an editor looks for, you've got a better chance to see your work in print.

Not all editors are like me. But the following items attracted my attention:

1. A great headline ? I always looked for (1) unique news or (2) something that solved a problem.

If you can combine the two, that's even better. Example: "Local man alleviates mosquitoes with homemade organic remedy."

2. Expert advice ? What do you know a lot about? Can you write about it from a READER'S perspective? (I discuss that in Chapter Two of my book "Words That Stick.")

If your writing can reflect your expertise about a subject, this can give your story added status.

3. A local viewpoint ? Does your story discuss local people? Or, if you're writing to an industry magazine, does your story carry the names of industry leaders?

4. A 1-2-3 approach ? Does your story offer a methodology to solve a problem? Example: "Five steps to a more beautiful yard."

5. Shortcuts ? Most readers look for faster, easier ways to accomplish various tasks. Does your story show them that shortcut?

6. History ? Have you found an ancient plate in your back yard? Is your office located in a hundred-year-old building? Stories with historical significance generally get good readership.

7. Predictions ? Many readers love features like this, and you see a bunch of them around the first of each year. However, I think they're appropriate anytime. Example: "Writing coach predicts e-mail letters will become shorter."

8. Redemption ? OK, this is one of my favorites! Examples: "The worst mistake I ever made."

These stories generally talk about how a mistake led to a great success.

9. Odd items ? Can your dog bark the alphabet? Can your cat predict the weather? Stories like this often get amazing readership.

10. Short paragraphs ? Personal opinion: I love short paragraphs of one or two sentences. Longer ones make my eyes ? and my mind ? stray.

11. Summation ? A good story generally offers a logical conclusion. It helps me if the last paragraph emphasizes the main point of what I've just read.

Rix Quinn's book "Words That Stick" offers all sorts of ideas to make your writing more effective. It's available from your local bookstore, or

For details on group discounts or speaking engagements, e-mail Rix at

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