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Sell my story

Updated on December 31, 2010
Selling stories to the press for you...
Selling stories to the press for you...

How to sell your story...

Do you have a story to sell? UK newspapers, magazines and TV are constantly on the lookout for stories to publish from ordinary people.

Do you have a story?

You might know you have a story. For example, you have stumbled on some wrong doing and want to expose it. Or maybe you've been involved with a high-profile court case or celebrity? But it might be that you have had a baby against all the odds or you have forgiven a partner after he had an affair - even these stories can be saleable for magazines or the women's pages of a national newspaper. And selling a story to a magazine or newspaper can be a good way to make some extra cash.

How to I sell my story?

If you have a story to sell you might want to choose your favourite newspaper or magazine to approach. The problem is this can be a daunting process. Also many people have worries they won't be paid or their story will be written in a way they don't want it to be.

But these days you don't have to approach a newspaper or magazine by yourself. A niche group of agents has recently sprung up - and these agents can give you free advice and sell your story for you.

How much money can I sell my story for?

If you have an exclusive story suitable for the front page of many magazines and newspapers you can potentially earn thousands of pounds. But you don't have to have an amazing story to sell it for money - even small stories printed in a magaine or newspaper can earn you a few hundred pounds.

Why use a sell my story agent?

An agent will know how best to present your story, how much you should be paid and which editors and publications to approach. They represent you and your interests. So they might be able to arrange things you would not be able to do by yourself - such as a higher payment, selling your story to multiple publications or ensuring you have copy approval. They might offer your story to a number of newspapers and magazines and invite each editor to make a cash offer for your story. If several editors are interested in your story they might hold an auction and take the highest offer for you. This is why going through a media agent when you sell a story to the press is often a safer way for you to sell your story - and why you, the interviewee, should gain more money than going directly to a newspaper or magazine.

How does an agent make money?

Agents make money by either writing your story and being paid for that - or by supplying your story to a newspaper or magazine. Most work for free for an interviewee and make their money by selling the story or writing the story for the publication. But some might take a percentage of the fee paid to you for your story by the magazine or newspaper.

How do I find a good media agent?

Never apply online to an 'anonymous' website - these are sell story sites where there is no information about the people behind it. You will have no idea if these people are really even journalists and what they will do with any information you are giving them.

So firstly choose a named agent to sell your story. ThenĀ ask the agent which other stories they have worked on. Google their name - a writer should have lots of features and stories published under their own name. Ensure everything is put in writing - on the form the publication your story is being sold to should be named and the exact price paid should be specified. Bear in mind payments are made after stories are published - this is to ensure you, the interviewee, fulfils the commitments needed. For example, you will be interviewed and photographed (and this should also be in the written contract.)

Alison Smith-Squire has been a journalist for 25 years and now runs Featureworld, working as a writer and a consultant media agent.

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    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 7 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for the wisdom you've shared!

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

      Sounds like great advice, thank you and welcome to hubs! Polly

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