Why your op-ed will never get published

Have an opinion you want a newspaper or trade magazine to run? Here are surefire ways to ensure your writing never sees the light of day.

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Do you want to write an op-ed that nobody will publish?

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and hundreds of other publications reject thousands of op-eds each year. What is the secret to successfully failing?

Get off to a good start by coming up with an anodyne headline before you begin writing your boring commentary. Here’s one that should do the trick: “How to Write an Op-Ed.” This is a winner because it’s unlikely to provoke dissent, cause offense, spur curiosity or further discussion. The reader will immediately skip to something—anything—more interesting.

Offer commentary on something that has already been covered in the op-ed pages of whatever publication you are pitching. Even better, don’t read the op-ed or news pages of your target publication for a week before you start writing.

If you insist on commenting on something in the news over the last few days, you can still turn off op-ed editors and readers alike by providing a lengthy summary of that same news that they’ve already read instead of giving the highlights in a sentence or two and getting to your point.

Lukewarm is the right temperature

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