For the vast majority of interviewees that email Featureworld.co.uk through the sell my story form, speaking to me is often the first time they have ever spoken to a journalist - and certainly considered selling their real-life story to the press.
Most will have already thought carefully about how to sell a story to the press. And there will be numerous personal reasons why they have decided it is right for them.
Many want to know how selling their real life story to a newspaper or magazine works. A few will be worried about whether going to the press with their story is right for them to do. Top concerns over selling a story to the press are:
* They will feel out of control.
* Their story will be printed in a newspaper or magazine and dozens of press reporters and photographers will turn up at their door.
* Friends or family won't like it for some reason.
So let's take those concerns one by one and see what the reality is.
Firstly, I cannot speak for other journalists you might contact. But at Featureworld I work with my interviewees to ensure they are fully aware of exactly how their story will appear in the press. This is also put in writing to you. Secondly, if you sell your story to the press through a qualified media agent (as I am!) any other interest in your story will come via me. I will speak to other journalists and publications on your behalf, not only guiding you, but giving you free and independent advice.
It is always a good idea to discuss selling your story with friends or family before you go ahead. BUT remember, you cannot please everyone! It is unlikely friends or family have any idea of what selling your story involves so they are not usually in a position to give you expert advice. Plus, some people might even be a tiny little bit jealous that your story will be published in a glossy women's mag. Or envious that a national newspaper thinks your story is so good, it is devoting a whole double page to you.
The trick therefore to successfully selling your story to the press and gaining publicity or cash for your story is to stay focused. And to take solid independent advice from a reputable press and media agent.
One final statistic - at Featureworld I resell 80% of interviweees's stories at least once and over half more than twice again. Of course this is always done with interviewees' full permission. But it also goes to show that selling your story to the press must be a satisfying (and often very enjoyable) experience or people simply would not go ahead again...
To read how one woman sold her story several times to the press (and made a lot of money from selling her story) go to: I sold my Story to the press.Alison Smith-Squire is an ethical media agent and journalist who runs sell my story website Featureworld, specialising in selling a story safely for the ordinary person.