selling a story

Selling your story to a magazine – ten top tips!

How do you get the most money for selling a story?

selling a story

1) Don’t go directly to any publication! A magazine or newspaper might offer you money for your story but you won’t know if their offer is a good one or not … or the best. There is also no guarantee your story will appear as you want it to or that you will be paid – if anything goes wrong you are on your own against a big national publication.

2) Use a whole of market agent who can gain you multiple deals selling your story to a combination of magazines, newspapers and television. Check out the agent before approaching them. Do they have published articles in their name or with their company name on them? Is their evidence they sell stories to a wide variety of publications and TV? Can you see that clients have had their stories sold in multiple deals – this shows they must be happy to go back to the same agent and allow them to sell their story on. They are also being paid…

3) Ensure your story stands up. Have any documentation ready to prove your story is true.

4) Have you got photos to sell with your story? For example if your story is about your miracle baby, do you have photos of you pregnant, your ultrasound scans? Great photos to illustrate your story will make it much more sought after!

5) Approach one chosen agent at a time. Approaching more than one can put agents (and publications) off as they worry the story won’t be exclusive. If editors see the same story being sent round by different agents then they can decide not to buy.

6) Be realistic about money. National publications are receiving great stories all the time. Tens of thousands of pounds for your story is unlikely to happen. A good agent will be able to tell you roughly how much your story might command. However, that agent will also be able to warn you of the pitfalls that can make your story worth less money.

7) Be flexible about where your story appears. If you only stipulate certain magazines or newspapers, there is obviously going to be much less chance that your story will be sold. Take an agent’s advice and keep an open mind – they know which editors are keenest and which are paying most for stories like yours.

8) Be honest. Don’t try and hide details about your story. Don’t pretend you’ve never been in the media if you have been! If you are found out to be lying – or can’t stand your story up – you will be found out. If you change your mind about selling a story say straightaway.

9) Don’t be a time waster. Be reliable. Return calls and send over photos and documents promptly. The media moves fast – editors want things now. Dithering can cost you the opportunity to sell your story as editors soon move onto the next one. And being straightforward to deal will mean any agent is keener to find you more deals…

10) Stick to your contract. Most interviewees will be asked to sign a contract that forbids them speaking with another agent, magazine or newspaper for a certain time. Stray away from that and you will break that contract and might not be paid!

Selling a story to the press? Why not use our experienced and friendly service to get the best advice! Simply fill in the form with some details to find out how much money you could earn selling your story today…


Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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