A good rule of thumb is the more money you spend the better your chances. Send pictures of your bike. If it doesn't make it, spend a couple thousand dollars and try again. Keep doing this until you see your bike in the magazine.
While yes....spending lots of $$ is one way but the trick I think is originality....and you don't have to spend lots of $$ to have that. Buddy of mine who I helped with the internal wiring on his wife's bike was just in Barnett's...or Barrett's...whatever is...I don't read 'em. Anywho...he took his wife's iron and made it look more like a 57' sporty. I know he spent some money...but he did a lot of work himself so I know it wasn't outrageous...nothing more than most people do on here probably.
Personally I don't care to see my bike...would rather be on it riding it.