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Getting on an editor's good side

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BY PJ DelHOMME
As hunting editor at Bugle magazine with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, I’ve learned a few tricks that help me out in the freelance world — namely, reading the mind of an editor. Here are 10 tips that I provide our potential writers hoping to publish a story in Bugle. Maybe they can help you.
1. READ THE MAGAZINE
This is the best thing you can do. Don’t send me a story identical to the one we published last issue. To get an idea of what kinds of stories are published, read a full year’s worth of the magazine. See how your story might fit.
2. HAVE AN ANGLE
I’m sure you had a great time on your hunt, but ask yourself, why am I writing this story? All good ones have a point. Possible angles can be used to fit departments in the magazine. Naming which department tells me you read the magazine.
3. KEEP A JOURNAL
You think you will remember all the details of a hunt, but chances are you won’t. It’s unlikely you’ll forget about the 6×6 bull you killed, but what about the branch you stepped on that almost blew it? How about that feeling in your stomach when you thought you missed? These details help give life to the story. Write them down.
4. INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT INFO
In school, leaving your name off a test got you an ‘F.’ Most times it will just get your submission deleted. Tell me who wrote the story.
5. BE PATIENT
I receive hundreds of submissions every year. We publish around 10 percent of those. I will read your story, but it may take me up to a year to make a decision.
6. CONSIDER HUMILITY
If an editor rejects your piece, asks you for an extended query or to see a piece on spec, don’t act insulted and tell them how many decades it’s been since you’ve been rejected or wrote a piece on spec.
7. ANTICIPATE OUR NEEDS
We’re creatures of habit. Every year, we have a bowhunting special section, along with numerous special sections. Keep an eye out in the Call for Stories box in our letters to the editor section. That’s where we offer writing prompts and ideas for potential special sections.
8. FORGET THE HOW-TO ARTICLE
When we run the occasional how-to piece, it’s typically very specific and done by our editors in-house. Always send us a query if you think you have a how-to story idea we will want.
9. LABEL FICTION
The vast majority of submissions I receive are considered non-fiction. If you have an amalgamation of events that occurred over a lifetime and make them into one hunt, I consider that fiction. Please label it. Be honest.
10. JUST ASK
In a timely fashion, I respond to every phone call and email that comes to me. If you have a question, just ask it.♦
PJ DelHomme is the Bugle magazine hunting editor.
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