Selling a story… newspaper, magazine or press agency?

When many people think 'how should I sell my story', they might automatically think of going to their favourite newspaper or magazine.

But is selling your story this way the best idea?

SELLING YOUR STORY DIRECTLY TO A NEWSPAPER OR MAGAZINE...

If you have a very good story that is very saleable you can choose your favourite publication.

The problem is how much money should you ask for your story? What about rights? Are you sure the newspaper won't sell your story all over the world without your permission? And who owns the photos that were taken by the publication's own photographer?

Whilst undoubtedly deals are done this way and you might well be happy with the story that is printed and your fee, it is a minefield for the inexperienced. So it pays to take independent advice from an expert.

Even if you are considering selling a story directly to a national newspaper or women's magazine, I will be able to discuss with you other ways you might sell your story. And I can save you from making expensive mistakes.

These might include:

* Talking to different newspapers or magazines and asking different ones how much money they might offer - this will give you the best price. There might even be a bidding war for your story between rival publications!

* Ensuring your story only appears in publications where you want it to be. Then, after your story has been printed in one newspaper or magazine, I can suggest other papers or mags that we might sell your story too again. You would then be paid again! And again if I continue to sell your story...

* Checking your story isn't undersold. Because I am selling stories every day to newspapers and magazines, I know how much we might expect for your story. And also making sure your story isn't overpriced. There is no point in being unrealistic. If you are expecting too much money for your story, I can tell you.

* Guaranteeing you will be paid the agreed amount you are due.

* Doing all the legal work on your behalf so you retain the rights to your story and photos. This means your story is never printed without your consent or resold without your permission.

* Ensuring your story is told how you want it to be told. Remember, I am representing you and I want you to be happy with your story.

Media agent 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.

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