Selling Your Story…
Ten reasons why your story might not be saleable…
• You have no evidence to back up your story. A typical example is a woman who claims her husband was having an affair – but he divorced her for unreasonable behaviour. Ask yourself before you approach a magazine, newspaper or agency – how do I prove my story is true? And be aware that when making such an allegation, you will have to produce a divorce certificate to prove it or your ex will have to admit it to us.
• You want to remain anonymous or you don’t want to be photographed. Unless you are approaching an editor with a tip, information and evidence about some wrong-doing there is virtually no market at all for anonymous stories – and you can’t give them away for free either. If anonymous stories were saleable, we would be sat at our computers avidly making them up.
• You don’t have any photos to illustrate your story. Every day someone tells us they ripped up photos of their wedding day, they burnt all pictures relating to their past – and so on –not realising that this might render their story unsaleable. Although publications can of course send out a photographer to do a picture of you, old photos will make your story much more placeable and valuable. So if you no longer have photos, it’s worth tracking down friends and family who do.
• You have sent your story round to lots of publications, agents and journalists. It is surprising how many people believe they will gain the most coverage sending their story to as many people as possible. Publications want exclusive stories and they don’t want to think they were in a round-robin email you sent to everyone. Unfortunately, this sort of approach puts many people off and it can make your story much less likely to sell. The motto here is send it to one publication or agent at a time and leave getting a multiple deal to an agent.
• Your story has been told before. Years ago when plastic surgery was new, just having a boob job was enough for your story to go into a magazine or newspaper. But now, there would need to be more to your story than simply having a boob job to get it into the national press. The only way to find out if your story is saleable is to send it to an agent who can market your story with an original line and make it more attractive to editors.
• Your story has already been printed in newspapers and magazines. In general publications do not want to run stories that have already been printed in rival magazines or newspapers. That said, an experienced agent can sometimes resell your story again so it is worth contacting us for advice.
• You are a nightmare to deal with. It might sound obvious but if you never pick up your phone or return your calls, you will render your story unsaleable. Incredibly, some people return calls weeks after you have rung them, by which time they are too late. The opportunity for them to sell their story has long gone.
• You don’t sell your story at the right time. If you have a story relating to something in the news, the time to sell it is right then. Sadly the bitter truth is unless your story is extremely sensational, news doesn’t wait until you ‘feel the time is right’. So if for example anorexia is in the news and you have an eating disorder story to sell, it will be most saleable while it is in the news. Waiting even a few days can leave you with less money or at worse, mean your story is rendered unsaleable as it’s already ‘been done’ (by someone else who got in quicker…)
• You demand an extraordinary amount of money for your story. Despite what people might think, newspapers and magazines are not awash with cash to fritter away. Yes, they will pay well for very strong stories that are in the news with no legal issues and lots of great photos – but even then there is a limit to how much they will pay. Bear in mind most interviewees in newspapers are not paid at all. Meanwhile payment to interviewees for the majority of stories in newspapers and magazines is in the hundreds and not thousands of pounds. That said, a media agent who is able to gain you multiple deals in a variety of newspapers, magazines and even on TV, will mean your earnings can add up. And using a media agent will undoubtedly ensure you earn the most money as he or she will send your story to many editors to gain the best deal.
• You don’t adhere to your contract. Signing an exclusive deal with one magazine and then chatting with another can mean your story will be printed in both – but neither will pay you. Even if you are selling your story for fun, remember that contracts you sign are legal documents and legally you are bound by agreements not to talk to other publications in them.
To find out if your story is saleable please send us a few details about your story here: Contact Us.