It seems that everyone is an expert when it comes to automotive magazine matters—everyone but the editor, that is. Ever since taking the lead role for Honda Tuning after Aaron Bonk moved on to other opportunities, I was well aware that I’d be faced with an entire array of bitching, complaining, and hatred, and I was well prepared for it. Aaron and I had talked about it many times, and he offered some excellent advice over the years. Being that I listen much more than I talk, I absorbed much of the info provided. One thing that seems to stand out quite a bit from our conversations, and I’m sure you’ve read my ramblings touching on the subject: No matter what you do, you simply can’t please everyone.
Feature This Car Now!
Recently a group of “enthusiasts” banded together in order to demand HT feature their friend and fellow forum member’s car. This campaign included bashing the magazine online and ripping on another car (the exact same model) that they felt shouldn’t have been featured in one of our sister publications. The truth is, both cars were outstanding builds, and very well rounded. They featured a bevy of high-end performance goods and aesthetic upgrades, and in my opinion, both would make for great feature stories in HT. I had the chance to go through the original thread, which ignited the online push for a feature, and it was actually pretty amusing. There were comments about how you can only get in the magazine if you know someone, you need a specific number of JDM parts, only show cars get features, and it went on and on. This was all news to me, but then again, they’re the experts. The funny thing is, during the bashing parade, I provided an email address for the car owner to send over some pics and specs of his car to get the ball rolling on a story, which he failed to do.
Another unhappy camper typed out a rather lengthy comment on the HT Facebook page about his car and how it was better than any car ever featured. He went on to trash the magazine stating that it was all smoke and mirrors, none of the cars actually ran and were pulled around on a trailer. He assured me that he’d smoke every single one of them if they dared to visit his hometown’s local street races. How could I possibly argue with a real live street racer?
Emails and online comments like those above are pretty common along with fabricated misinformation, so I figured why not review proper procedure for dealing with a magazine (at least this one, anyway).
Tell Me Again Why You’re Contacting Me?
First off, bashing the magazine you’re trying to get into is probably a bad start. Whatever happened to a little professionalism and being at least somewhat respectful? I’m not referring to butt kissing, but if you’re so angry about the magazine’s content or how it’s presented, why are you bothering to attempt to work with HT?
Organization Is Key
You feel like your car is deserving of a feature but don’t know what to do next. What you don’t do is post “you need to feature my car. Go to my page to check it out” on the Facebook page. Almost 99 percent of the time the pages are private, and if not, I don’t really want to sift through seven pages of you and your girlfriends’ drunken photos from your birthday party to see one camera phone pic of your Integra. In addition, if you have a build thread on a forum that you’d like to link, choose a few of the most important photos along with a finished photo of the build, and email those over along with your specs. I spend a good amount of time combing the forums but don’t always have enough time to go through 245 pages of your build in hopes of seeing what it looks like, especially when a good portion of those pages show what you had for dinner or a photo of you high-fiving the UPS delivery guy with more parts.
You Never Feature *Insert Unpopular Chassis Here*
Civics and Integras are incredibly popular—they always have been. They’re torn down and completely rebuilt from top to bottom, and unfortunately that type of attention to detail and well-rounded nature doesn’t seem to trickle into every chassis group. That’s not to say they don’t exist, but there simply aren’t as many, and it’s a shame. I have no fix for this, and can’t force more people to build these less popular chassis. Sorry.
I’m Getting the Cover, Right?
It’s the question I get from just about every feature car shot; it’s almost automatic. There really is no magic formula for a cover car, no specific brand or number of parts. Sometimes it’s all about timing, and the selection of cars on file at that particular time. Many think the car has to be a show car, but that’s simply not the case. In fact, of nine issues this year, there were 11 cars on the cover (some were dual car covers) and six of them were track cars. Storywise, there were a large number of Race-Bred features that included cars from Tony Palo, Chris Miller, Ryan Novak, Mike Chang, the Sipes Brothers, Speedfactory, Team 4 Piston Racing, JoTech Performance, JDM Yard Australia, and a whole list of others. If those guys are “hard parkers,” then you need to reevaluate the cute little trendy labels that you’re so fond of.
Feature and cover cars are usually found at street and track events or online, but there are those individuals who are proactive, put together a few photos and spec list, and email firstname.lastname@example.org. End rant.