Selling a story – how to sell a story and get editors, magazines and newspapers interested in YOUR story …

Sell a storySelling a story to a newspaper, magazine to TV or you have a book you want to get published? There are ways to sell a story by making you and your story more appealing to editors…

Here, we give you some general tips on how to successfully sell a story!

Sell a story about yourself

Many people fail to ‘sell a story’ about them. They do not tell editors enough about themselves. But the person who is selling a story is often what makes the story saleable in the first place. For example when we sell a story to a magazine, we need to know someone’s age because some magazines are targeted at women in their twenties and some at women aged over 50. And quite often if we are asked to write a feature, we are looking for people in a variety of age ranges. Similarly, information such as if you are divorced, a single mum, and what you do for a living are also helpful. If you have written a novel and you are a single mum of five for example, that might be a story for a magazine or a story to sell to newspaper in its own right – and certainly it is a way an editor might sell a story on your behalf when it comes to marketing your book.

Sell a story by keeping your pitch short and snappy

Editors are busy people. If you want to sell a story, you don’t want to put an editor off by sending too much to read too soon. If you write too much about your story at first they might decide to read it later and then there’s the danger it might never be read. So when selling a story try not to send them too much to read in one go.  If possible, try to put the main points of a story into one or two paragraphs. If they want some more details, they can always ask you for more. If you are selling a story to a literary agent or publisher ensure you stick to the guidelines. And if you are submitting a short fiction story to a magazine, and they want no more than 5000 words, then send them that.

Sell a story using photos

Photos are often a very important part of a story. If you look in many magazines, you will usually see photos illustrating that person’s story. And in fact, a good set of photos can make your story more sellable and more valuable. This is why at Featureworld before we send a synopsis of someone’s story to a magazine or newspaper, we always ask interviewees to send photos. These photos always belong to the interviewee and cannot be sold or printed without their written consent – but we know lovely personal pictures can make a story sell. And in fact, the phrase that a photo can be worth 1000 words does hold true. Sometimes a photo can be the story. So when you are selling a story, don’t forget to look through the photo albums for some pictures to go with it.


Get any legal documents ready to sell a story

When you sell a story through Featureworld, we will always give you legal advice regarding your story. However, some stories will require legal documents to back them up. Getting together any legal evidence before trying to sell a story can make your story worth more money.  For example, if you are claiming your husband ran off with your best friend, it’s a good idea to find the divorce certificate that cites his adultery.  And if you want to sell a story about a wrong-doing, any letters or emails you have between you and any organisation are often essential. So find them out so they are ready to send if a newspaper or magazine requires them.

Sell a story by making yourself available

It might sound obvious but when you are selling a story, you must make sure you are contactable. All too often a story comes into Featureworld, which we know will be perfect for a particular editor at a magazine or newspaper – but then we find the interviewee hard to contact. Occasionally that interviewee will come back days or even a week later still – by which time the opportunity to sell a story might have gone. We will always be happy to ring you at a convenient time – for example, when you have finished work – but if you get a call from an editor about selling your story, then respond to it as soon as you can. If you can’t speak right then, try to ring back quickly, email or text a time when you will be available.

Selling a story by being honest!

If your story has already appeared in a newspaper, magazine or on TV before, then say. These days a story can often be sold again – for example, if your story has appeared in a magazine, it might well be suitable for a newspaper (or vice versa). But as agents we can’t sell a story for you unless we know everything about your story! The same goes if you are publishing a book – it’s a good idea to tell a literary agent if you’ve approached publishers yourself or a synopsis of your book has already been sent out by another literary agent. Remember – agents want to sell a story because that is how they make their money. But to do this they need to work closely with you and to be able to tailor a marketing plan that takes account of any issues.

At the same time, confide any concerns you have about selling a story so your story can be accurately sold as you want it to be.

Selling a story to the media: Find out more:

I sold a story for £4,000! – one woman’s account of her real-life selling a story experience and how you can do the same.

Sell My Novel – more tips for selling a book or publicising your book.

Are you thinking of selling a story? Contact me for some more advice using the form to the right of this page>>>